Monthly Newsletter | November & December 2018
S-CUBE Fixtures What's In Store this month

Table of Contents

NRF Predicts Holiday Cheer!
Manage Crowds & Increase Sales
Discount Formats Reign
In Words & Pictures


NRF Predicts Consumers Will Spend 4.1% More Than Last Year During Winter Holidays


Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1 percent from the $967.13 they said they would spend last year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Holiday shoppers are planning to spread their shopping across multiple channels and types of stores: An equal number (55 percent) will shop online and in department stores while 51 percent will go to discount stores, 44 percent to grocery stores, 33 percent to clothing stores and 24 percent to electronics stores. The mix of channels was further evident with 50 percent of those shopping online saying they will pick up their purchases in-store. Of online shoppers who want the package to come to their home or office, 94 percent will take advantage of free shipping, 16 percent will choose expedited shipping and 11 percent will use same-day delivery.

Most holiday shoppers (60 percent) are waiting until at least November to begin browsing and buying items for the season. However, 21 percent planned to start in October and 18 percent said they began in September or earlier. Of the early shoppers, 61 percent said they were trying to spread out their budgets while 47 percent wanted to avoid the crowds and stress of last-minute shopping.

While sales and discounts remained the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer, cited by 71 percent, quality and selection of merchandise were the next-largest factor (cited by 60 percent), followed by free shipping (47 percent) and convenient location (45 percent).

“Consumers will be scouring through retailers’ ads to make sure they are getting the best deal possible,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Although sales will remain an important factor, shoppers want good quality and want to be able to find what they’re looking for.”

For the 12th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 60 percent of those surveyed, followed by clothing and accessories at 53 percent, books/movies/music (37 percent), electronics (29 percent), home décor (23 percent), jewelry (22 percent), personal care or beauty items (19 percent), sporting goods (18 percent) and home improvement items (17 percent).


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Manage Crowds and Increase Sales


S-CUBE introduces the S3 Queue Management System for checkout area organization. The S3 system is designed to effectively manage traffic flow while maximizing the visibility of seasonal and impulse products. Versatility is inherent in the design as configuration options support both straight as well as 90-degree angles to direct queue lines.

The S3 Queue Management System is constructed of:

- Durable, double-sided, aluminum, slatwall panels

- 4’ Wide and 2’ wide panel options

- 48” Panel height enables product density while maintaining open sight-lines

- Panels accept all standard slatwall hardware & accessories

- 52” tall substantially-weighted posts support fully-merchandised panels

- Swedge mounts in the top of both post and panel accommodate signage and/or bowls for impulse items

- Mounting brackets accommodate panels on all 4 sides of the post with just a single bolt

For information on the S3 Queue Management System, please contact Eric Weinstein at 847-954-5239 or



Wild Birds Unlimited

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Call Us to discuss your program needs 847.954.5200

Discount Formats Reign


Brands including TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, and Dollar General are among the retailers that have built followings on their ability to provide consumers with value and convenience. Other discounters are showing up in locations you might not expect. For example, Philadelphia-based discounter Five Below recently announced plans for a store on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Five Below stores carry a variety of merchandise, with all items costing $5 or less. The future store is a departure from the luxury brands along the iconic street – giving the discounter exposure at a high-traffic destination with the ability to potentially introduce the brand to new customers.

More typically, however, discounters are making their presence known in suburban locations, inside malls, and in other locations such as rural areas that may be underserved by other stores.

Research shows that consumers who frequent these stores transcend income levels, with studies suggesting that higher-income consumers increasingly are choosing discount destinations for their shopping trips. A survey by First Insight shows that customers making more than $100,000 annually have become more price-aware as mobile technology and other innovations give them an edge in the shopping journey. The survey of 1,000 consumers showed that 42% of these shoppers now shop frequently at discount retailers, compared to 27% who opt for full-price retailers. In addition, 36% of respondents say they do more of their shopping at discount retailers.

It may seem surprising that demand for off-price retailers is so high in a strong economy. The unemployment rate stood at 4% in June, and recent jobless claims have fallen to the lowest levels since in five decades. In the second quarter, GDP increased by 4.1%, nearly twice the growth rate from the previous quarter. In fact, growth in retail spending has surpassed GDP growth.

Retail is a dynamic industry that evolves with the trends and perceptions of its customers. Successful discounters know that success goes deeper than price. Consumers are armed with many options today, so it’s not just important that they perceive that they’re getting a deal but also that they sense they’re receiving value as they shop.




S-CUBE Takes To The Big Scren

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In Words & Pictures


The story of a vendor who wrote the book on value engineering.

Sometimes a simple solution can mean big savings—and not just in cost. Books-A-Million saved both time and money opening new locations for its 2nd & Charles brand, thanks to value engineering provided by S-CUBE, a division of Specialty Store Services. The fixture company’s problem-solving services so impressed Daniel Warren, project manager for Books-A-Million, that he nominated S-CUBE for a Merriman Above & Beyond Award.

Every Trick In The Book

Launched in 2010, 2nd & Charles sells used media. Customers trade in used books, video games, and other media for cash or store credit.

S-CUBE was asked to design and develop several new fixtures for the brand, including fixtures for comic and vinyl product. The retailer wanted to continue opening 2nd & Charles stores, but at a reduced cost, so the fixture company value-engineered the buildout. S-CUBE made value improvements on about 40 fixtures, swapping out materials for cost-effective suitable counterparts. This saved the retailer almost 50%, according to Dustin Grenier, director of business development for Specialty Store Services.

Additional simple solutions included shipping items knocked down instead of fully assembled. This helped the brand save on shipping and labor costs, and reduced the number of trucks required for transport.

Getting the items to the stores, even with the huge savings, was just the beginning. It was also important that the 10 truckloads were delivered in the correct order due to the stores’ buildout process, according to Warren. This is where S-CUBE’s value engineering really shone.

A Novel Approach

The fixture company stepped up to provide on-time delivery as well as detailed instructions, including a color-coding system. When many fixtures are being delivered, especially for stores ranging from 20,000 to 35,000 sq. ft., it can be time-consuming to go through all the boxes and skids to locate certain fixtures. S-CUBE’s color-coding system made it easy for Warren and his team to locate certain fixtures and know exactly where to put them. The system was also used for the deliveries themselves: S-CUBE organized the trucks by color, which further helped with unloading, organizing, and placement.

The simple solution was so effective, in fact, that despite the time required to assemble fixtures on-site, Books-A-Million was able to open the stores ahead of their scheduled openings. S-CUBE made the value-improved fixtures so easy to assemble that there was no increase in labor time. With installation finished about a week ahead of time on average across all stores, the retailer saved on labor costs and began serving the communities faster.

This was the second time S-CUBE used such an uncommon and simple solution for a company, but it certainly won’t be the last, according to Grenier. The solution has generated great interest among the fixture company’s customer base. "It seems to help the customers out a lot, which is what we’re here for," Grenier says.

Prologue To A Great Story

The five-year relationship between the vendor and bookstore began with a cold call. S-CUBE started off providing just one SKU that the bookstore had been seeking, and now provides more than 120, rolling out around 30 projects and stores per year. Explaining why Books-A-Million increased S-CUBE’s share of its fixture business over time, Warren cites the vendor’s "outstanding service, proactive communication, value added services, quality control, and attention to detail."

"We need suppliers who are problem solvers. We are an extremely cost-conscious brand, so we need companies who can value engineer. We need to save money, but keep quality," Warren says. "Throughout our meetings and weekly conference calls, they understood our business and what we were trying to accomplish. S-CUBE is always trying to improve the processes we have in place even when we don’t ask them to."

Pages From S-CUBE's Playbook

S-CUBE was founded in 1987, starting out in a garage in Chicago. The company has since evolved into a leader in the store fixture industry. Offering comprehensive manufacturing capabilities in the US and overseas, S-CUBE takes a solutions-driven approach to consumer relations. The company’s ability to leverage manufacturing, engineering, and logistics resources enables it to fabricate high-quality fixtures, adhere to stringent production schedules, and maintain budget goals, according to Grenier. An intensive discovery process and a customer-centric quote document help ensure that program goals and criteria are fully defined, he adds. This process offers customers structured, consistent, and replicable procedures.

"Our solutions-driven approach demands that we have a full understanding of program goals, timelines, budget parameters, branding aesthetics, and merchandising objectives at the onset of every project," Grenier says.

Navigating the company is consumerfriendly, too, he adds. A single point-of-contact facilitates communication, enabling customers to spend their time managing business instead of navigating the organization.

"As a second generation, family-run business, our commitment to our customer sets an exceptional standard for quality and customer service throughout the organization," Grenier says.




In Pictures and Words

In Pictures and Words

In Pictures and Words

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