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Retail Roundup: Wal-Mart Revamps Look, Shareholders Try to Oust Dillard's CEO, and More

Wal-Mart revamps look --- Wal-Mart, famous for its bargain prices, has shifted its focus toward aesthetics, unveiling a new design for remodeled stores on Oct. 29. "We're trying to make it more experiential, rather than just stuff we're selling," said Joe Tapper, vice president for store presentation. "We've placed emphasis on making it more enjoyable." The revamped locations feature longer aisles that stretch from one end of the store to another as well as high-definition video screens to carry promotions and guide shoppers. [Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Shareholders look to oust Dillard's CEO -- Dillard's activist shareholders recently called for the replacement of the department-store chain's management team, calling its work "atrocious." Barington Capital and Clinton Group said in a letter that the chain's family-led management team is "overpaid and under-qualified for the positions they hold and can be readily replaced with more talented retailers." Dillard's shares increased 35 percent -- their biggest one-day gain in decades -- as investors cheered the prospect of ousting CEO Bill Dillard Jr. [Source: New York Post]

Guilty shoppers hide luxury purchases in brown-paper wrapping -- While many consumers are curtailing their shopping habits, some of those who can still afford luxury items are feeling embarrassed about their splurges -- and Net-a-Porter is taking notice. The online luxury-fashion retailer issued to its customer base an e-mail advertising a new "discreet packaging" service that delivers consumers' orders in unbranded brown paper bags. The retailer has even adopted a new slogan to comfort big spenders during the down economy: "You've been shopping -- we won't tell." [Source: The Business of Fashion]

India set to boom -- Market Watch recently tagged India as the "next big market for retail financial services," and the country is already starting to live up to its prediction. While Tommy Hilfiger and other designers are already targeting the Indian market as the ideal place for expansion, India's population continues to be lifted from poverty. In 1985, 93 percent of the nation lived on a dollar per person per day, a figure that was reduced to 54 percent by 2005. Attitudes toward charging expenditures on credit cards have shifted accordingly; the urban consumer is no longer "debt averse" but says "spend now, worry later," according to Market Watch. [Source: Market Watch]

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