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TORONTO While many retailers are trying to weave digital elements into their stores to incorporate the endless aisle advantages of online shopping, Roots is sticking to its traditions of cabin chic.But that doesn mean the the latest store concept for the veteran Canadian apparel and footwear chain opening this week at Toronto Yorkdale Shopping Centre, shies away from the sorts of modern bells and whistles required to draw Roots tech savvy target audience into its space.The airy, 5,000 square foot boutique has requisite outdoorsy design touches such as exposed wooden ceiling beams, but also features a new shop, DJ stations for special events, a lounging area for customers who shop in groups or need to place an online order, and a different outdoor theme in every change room in order to make the spaces eminently said Alex Jones, Roots vice president of real estate, during a tour of the new store on Wednesday.The store customization lab, the first of its kind at Roots, allows customers to sift through leather and textile samples and use a digital design interface to put their own style spin on a classic jacket or to monogram a leather bag.customization has existed for quite some time, and we have been watching that, said chief executive Jim Gabel, who headed up the performance group of Wolverine World Wide, managing the athletic and outdoor shoe brands Saucony and Merrell, before he took up the helm at Roots last year. Brands such as Reebok, Nike, Adidas and Under Armour allow customers to customize personal shoe designs.A custom Roots jacket, which takes about three weeks to execute at the retailer nearby leather factory, costs an extra $100 for a basic monogram and customers can customize further by using different colours of leather and cloth, and additional design touches such as embroidery and emblems.talks about different generations driving retail growth, and when we look at that millennials, those aged 21 to 33, they are outpacing spending in the market, and they are also the driving force behind the customization trend, says Tamara Szames, fashion and footwear analyst at NPD Group Canada.While the overall Canadian apparel market is about $26 billion and growing at about three per cent this year, among millennials, who account for about 25 per cent of overall apparel spending, sales are up 12 per cent year over year, Szames said.Roots latest incarnation comes at a tenuous time in retail, with tepid sales at department stores, widespread store closures, and multiple restructurings and bankruptcies as companies grapple with the eroding effects of Amazon.retailers operating in bricks and mortar now realize that they have to provide an exceptional experience when customers walk into the store, said Diane Brisebois, president of the industry association Retail Council of Canada.who are more successful and (performing) above trend are those who own their own brand, she added, such as Lululemon, Aritzia, Groupe Dynamite and Lush Cosmetics. Retailers are facing more competition from online sellers, and that is probably their biggest challenge right now.

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