Retail
Remodeled, Smaller Stores Help Abercrombie Holiday Sales Top Expectations
This week, Abercrombie & Fitch beat quarterly sales and profit estimates, fueled by smaller stores that attracted more shoppers this holiday season. The focus on new store formats came as a result of retailers working to adapt to changing customer preferences, as mall traffic across the United States has taken a hit from online shopping. Abercrombie & Fitch, which draws 70 percent of revenue from its stores, has been improving as it remodels stores with brighter interiors and larger fitting rooms in a bid to distance itself from its former early 2000’s image.
 
Restaurants
A New Dynamic Duo – Red Robin and Donatos Pizza Forge a Partnership
What happens when a burger chain like Red Robin gets together with a pizza chain, like Donatos? The Columbus-based pizza chain Donatos hooked up with Greenwood, Colorado-based burger chain Red Robin in October 2019 to test out a partnership, offering pizza in 25 Red Robin locations in Cleveland, Arizona and North Carolina. The early returns were so favorable that the two chains expanded the agreement to cover 100 Red Robins, or 20 percent of the chain’s footprint. For Donatos, a chain of 161 pizza shops, the agreement has expanded its name recognition west of the Mississippi and on the West Coast.
 
Taco Bell Testing Cantina Locations in the Suburbs
Taco Bell will convert three of its traditional restaurants – traditionally located in urban settings - into Cantinas this year as part of a test to see if suburban consumers enjoy the more upscale locations. Taco Bell opened its first Cantina in 2015 as a way to appeal to customers who were spending their money on food from fast-casual chains and to build a footprint in urban areas with more expensive real estate. Now, the locations are a key building block in Taco Bell’s goal to become a $20 billion brand, and the chain is continuing to toy with the concept.
 
Innovation
Airlines Experimenting with Middle Seats You Would Actually Want to Pay For
Frontier, Spirit, Air New Zealand, Etihad, Korean Air and a dozen other airlines have been installing coach seats with a bit more width for the typically dreaded middle seat. So far, the results have been surprising - comfort scores improve across the row because the passenger in the middle isn’t infringing as much on the passengers on either side. While it may be a tough sell, airlines see an opportunity to differentiate, and even sell middle seats for higher fees.

Partnerships
Caesars Entertainment Teams Up with Alliance Data to Expand Loyalty Strategy
Caesars Entertainment is partnering with Alliance Data in a long-term agreement to expand its loyalty program with on-site credit card issuance and online gaming capabilities. The agreement builds upon last year's rebrand of the Caesars Rewards Visa co-brand credit card to align with the Caesars Rewards loyalty program, according to a press release. Card members can take advantage of rewards earned through purchases made at Caesars' Rewards Destinations — up to 5X reward credits for every $1 spent — as well as additional reward credits for airlines, gas, grocery stores and everywhere else Visa is accepted.
 

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