NEW YORK — Victoria's Secret is hoping a new push-up bra intended to boost women's busts as much as two sizes also will enhance its bottom line this holiday season.
The lingerie chain, owned by Limited Brands Inc., will begin promoting its "Miraculous Bra" this week; it sells for $48 in solid colors and $52 in leopard print.
"What the customer told us is 'We love push up,'" Victoria's Secret CEO Sharen Turney said in a meeting with investors last week. "And we said, 'OK, we have the new Miraculous Bra.'"
Turney said the latest push-up's debut this fall has been positive.
"We cater to a young customer, and they would come into the store and start texting their friends, 'Oh my God, you have to come in here and try this bra on.'"
Analysts also say the bra could be a big seller.
"We believe this could be a significant launch on early testing," said BMO Capital Markets analyst John Morris.
Seeing consumers hunt for bargains during the recession, Victoria's Secret is offering more matching panty-and-bra sets and sleep sets for the holidays, as well as lower-priced gift sets, including a $15 beauty pack. And it plans to launch new items nearly every week, including new fragrances.
Retail analyst Jennifer Black applauded the approach.
"Victoria's Secret stores look the best we have seen since we began covering the company nearly 17 years ago," she wrote in a note to investors.
Victoria's Secret will broadcast its ever-popular fashion show, this year from New York, on Dec. 1 on CBS.
_ AP Retail Writer Mae Anderson
Stores aim to woo shoppers with gifts that give back
NEW YORK (AP) – High-end department stores are hoping to hitch a ride on altruism this holiday season: Buy gifts here, they offer, and we'll send some of the proceeds to the poor, sick and hungry.
At Bloomingdale's, part of the proceeds from products such as a new $35 cookbook by Florence Fabricant and an $18 Little Brown Bear go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and juvenile diabetes research, among other causes.
"We thought our customers are looking for gifts that give back this year in a bigger way," said spokeswoman Liz McGovern.
At Saks Inc., 5 percent of sales of New York Candy Co. and Saks Fifth Avenue Collection treats – which it's pushing with displays and signs by main store entrances – go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
And $2 from the sale of each of the luxury department store's limited-edition children's book, a second annual offering, is "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Flake," which retails for $17.99, will go to St. Jude's "Thanks and Giving" campaign.
Nordstrom Inc., based in Seattle, will give a flat $10,000 to Friends of Libraries USA in conjunction with selling its holiday children's book, "Once Upon a Holiday: The Moon Fell Out of the Sky," which goes for $6.90.
As customers get used to discounts, an altruistic lure helps sales, said Ted Hurlbut of Hurlbut & Associates, a retail consultancy in Foxboro, Mass. Shoppers get "a sense of goodwill because there is this program they can participate in, they're more likely to be inclined to spend some money."
_ Associated Press Writer Tali Arbel
Consumers find it's never too early to seek Black Friday deals
NEW YORK (AP) – Bargain hunters are getting antsy when it comes to researching deals online for the day after Thanksgiving, according to Experian Hitwise, a Web traffic measurement company.
Shoppers started Web searches in August speculating which products may have the biggest discounts that day, the holiday shopping season's traditional beginning.
In 2006, the searches took place over nine weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Black Friday, growing to 14 weeks in 2007 and 16 weeks in 2008 and a similar period this year.
Experian Hitwise also found that the number of variations including the term "Black Friday" have soared as well, increasing 41 percent year over year to reach 7,822 different combinations for the week ending Nov. 29, 2008.
The day after Thanksgiving – called Black Friday because it was considered the day retailers began turning a profit for the full year – has lost importance both for stores and consumers in recent years as merchants started promoting deep discounts and expanded hours earlier.
_ AP Retail Writer Anne D'Innocenzio