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This Type Of Store May Actually Survive The Amazon Era

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On a recent Thursday evening, hours after closing, Francine Delarosa pulled up a moving box in the dismantled office of her 4,000-square-foot boutique. She sat down on the makeshift chair for a moment and cried. Then she got up, and continued packing.

“I had a little crying moment about the fear of change,” Delarosa told HuffPost over the phone from her store in North Miami Beach, Florida.

When Delarosa first opened her capacious children’s boutique store, Give Wink, in the early 2000s, the veteran retailer was optimistic about her success ― so much so that she signed a 15-year lease on the space. Like most other store owners at the time, she couldn’t have anticipated how the internet, and Amazon in particular, would upend the entire retail industry.

Today, Delarosa, must scrap and fight for every sale she makes. And just like other small retailers, she’s had to reinvent her brand to keep a steady stream of customers coming through her door and not just online shopping from the couch


Francine Delarosa/Give Wink
Francine Delarosa, owner of children’s store Give Wink, is evolving her business to combat new challenges in the retail space. Delarosa is downsizing her store and focusing more on her concierge efforts, which include personal shopping and nursery design.

Delarosa is in the process of downsizing to a 1,000-square-foot space and cutting her staff from 10 people to three. She’ll continue to personally curate every item in the store and on the site, and will soon design and manufacture her own private labels. She’ll also be focusing more of her attention on the concierge piece of her business – nursery design, personal shopping and baby registries, because in the end, her deep-seated knowledge of the industry and hands-on approach is what distinguishes her from other dot-coms that sell children’s products.

“In 2018, the success of the retail brand … isn’t the physical space or even the product selection,” Delarosa told HuffPost. “The reality is, all of that is replicable. What’s not replicable is the relationships and the knowledge, and the way you put all of that together.”

To survive today, retailers have to carve out a niche that makes them indispensable. But what Delarosa’s store and other children’s boutiques may have working in their favor compared to other stores is that parents, especially new ones, are so anxious about getting the big-ticket items right.

Whether shopping for a stroller, car seat, crib or mattress, they’ll make more of an effort to walk into a physical store and talk to a retailer who can field multiple questions and direct them to the products that best suit their needs.


kzenon via Getty Images
Because new parents are eager to get the best and safest products for their kids, they may be more likely to visit an actual store to get advice from retailers.

“For a new baby, safety is a big concern,” said Peter Roberge, store manager of Albee Baby, a New York City-based children’s boutique that’s been around since 1933. “They want to make sure they touch and feel something; they want to make sure they know how to operate the products they’re purchasing and get the product that operates best for them.”

Boutiques, in general, are having something of a moment right now, particularly among young people. According to Forrester, a research and advisory firm, 43 percent of millennials, those who are 25 to 34, say they would rather shop at small local stores, as opposed to big national chains.

Overall, the stores that have the best chance of surviving today are either big, maximum tax-paying and low-leverage retailers ― like Macy’s, Marshalls and Target ― or specialized, experiential and small-scale stores, said Jan Kniffen, a former retail executive who now consults for investors in retail properties.

“People like shopping in these sweet little stores because they like the feeling and the experience,” Kniffen said. “Retail is becoming extraordinarily experiential. Even the big stores are trying to be much more experience-oriented. They’re trying to feel like the little stores.”

It’s one potential bright spot in a very grim period for brick-and-mortar stores.

Retail is becoming extraordinarily experiential. Even the big stores are trying to be much more experience-oriented. They’re trying to feel like the little stores.
Jan Kniffen, former retail executive

More retailers closed last year than during the height of the Great Recession. That was due to a number of factors, including growing online sales and consumers’ preference for inexpensive, fast fashion. E-commerce sales accounted for 13 percent of all retail sales last year. A decade ago, that figure was just 5.1 percent.

Parents, however, may be defying some of those trends, which could be good news for owners of children’s stores. According to Cassandra, a trend forecasting, research and brand strategy firm, 78 percent of parents in the United States would rather shop in stores than online.

But they’re not going to shop just anywhere.

Millennials are parents to half of today’s children and make a “significant” contribution to the $1 trillion parents spend yearly on stuff for their kids, according to the National Retail Federation. This demographic also prioritizes good service over convenience, according to NRF. And 44 percent of millennials say they only support brands that align with their political and social views.

For many mom and pop children’s stores, it’s about getting that customer in the door once and showing them what they can gain from shopping in person.

Jessica Rone, 35, a resident of Manhattan and mom to a 1-year-old, told HuffPost that she does most of her research for products and shopping online. At any given time, she’ll have “1,000 tabs open” on her computer, investigating the best items to buy for her son.

On a Friday afternoon earlier this month, Rone ventured into Albee Baby on the Upper West Side for the first time because she had a gift certificate that was expiring. She said she was surprised by what she was able to learn there.

“I’m shocked by how much stuff they have,” she said. “There are so many things here I didn’t know existed.”

For others, there are elements of nostalgia and doing the right thing. On that same day, Bart and Joan Auerbach were also shopping in Albee Baby for bath toys and other knickknacks for their granddaughter. The last time they were in the store was 40 years earlier when they were shopping for their own son.

“It’s a famous store,” Joan Auerbach said. “A lot of stores are closing in our neighborhood. It’s really a loss for the neighborhood.”

But while many parents and grandparents may appreciate picking the brains of veteran retailers, that doesn’t necessarily translate into sales, which is one of the most frustrating challenges retailers face.


Francine Delarosa/Give Wink
Francine Delarosa, owner of children’s boutique Give Wink, said at the root of her business, are the close relationships she developments with customers. According to Cassandra, a trend forecasting, research and brand strategy firm, 78 percent of parents in the United States would rather shop in stores than online.

“We get customers who use our knowledge, allow us the opportunity to show them aspects of various different products,” Roberge said. “But when they’re ready to pull the trigger, that may happen while they’re sitting at their desk at work or at 3 a.m. while they’re on their laptop.”

Some customers may have no intention of ever buying from the store and just lap up all the information they can get. Then, once they decide on a product, they’ll hunt down the best price on the internet.

We get customers who use our knowledge … but when they’re ready to pull the trigger, that may happen while they’re sitting at their desk at work or at 3 a.m. while they’re on their laptop.
Peter Roberge, store manager of Albee Baby in New York City

One way Albee Baby has tried to solve this problem is by building up its web presence, considered a venerable force in the industry. The company offers competitive pricing and has enough inventory in its warehouse to “fill a stadium,” Roberge said.

The store itself also offers a warm, welcoming feel that a website can’t. Staff members dole out treats to pets who come through. Breastfeeding moms stretch out on the comfortable gliders in the back of the store and feed their babies.

Delarosa faces the very same problem and said she’s moving toward only housing products in her store that “support” her business ― those that strictly enforce “map pricing,” for example. (That’s a minimum price resellers agree they won’t sell below.)

While children’s stores may have a slight advantage over other retailers, they’re not necessarily safer. Gymboree, a major children’s clothing brand, filed for bankruptcy in 2017 due to growing competition, mounting debt and the demand for cheaper prices, CNBC reported. The company underwent a rebranding and relaunched in July. Children’s Place, another mainstream retailer, will close 300 stores by 2020 and will also expand its presence on Amazon.


Spencer Platt via Getty Images
In 2017, Gymboree, a major children’s retailer, filed for bankruptcy. The company rebranded and relaunched in July.

Smaller-scale children’s stores are not immune to the risks, either. Giggle, a specialty children’s boutique that had stores in San Francisco, New York City and Denver, was considered a leader in the industry and one that Delarosa looked up to, she said. Without much warning, the stores suddenly closed in 2017.

“If Giggle, who was the most solid specialty store name in our industry, went under, any of us can go under,” Delarosa said. “If we don’t change, none of us will survive.”

The children’s stores that will make it, according to Kniffen, are those that assiduously listen to customers and cater to and respond to their needs.

“The children’s stores that have survived a long time, they have treated every customer like their kid is the most important person in the world,” Kniffen said. “As the times changed, they walked right alongside that customer, they figured out what was important to that customer, and they altered their store to reflect that. The ones that don’t, they go broke.”

This is part of our six-story series spotlighting the current state of retail in America.

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NY Online Sports Betting Bill Calls For Up To 14 Sportsbook Apps

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s proposed New York sports betting model lacks support from two lawmakers who have pushed for online gambling in the state.

Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow released their 2021 NY online sports betting bill Thursday evening, though it looks a lot like their previous attempt.

The biggest difference is the bill calls for two skins per licensee instead of one each. There are four commercial casinos and three tribes that run casinos in New York that could offer online sports betting.

That would likely create a much more robust market in terms of handle but tax revenue could fall well short of what Cuomo expects from a lottery-style monopoly.

New York sports betting bill details

Many of the details in the jointly-filed S 1183 and A 1257 are similar to the 2019-20 version of Addabbo and Pretlow’s bill:

  • A one-time, $12 million fee is required for anyone operating a mobile sportsbook in the state.
  • Mobile sports betting revenue will be taxed at 12%. The state will set aside 5% of that tax revenue for problem gambling.
  • Official league data is still required for all in-play bets. The bill also calls for a royalty fee of 0.2% of handle to be paid to sports leagues. Assuming sportsbooks hold about 5% of bets, that means about 4% of sports betting revenue to the leagues.
  • Professional sports stadiums and arenas as well as off-track betting facilities can partner with a casino to have betting kiosks on-site.

The bill summary suggests $79 million in annual revenue to the state based on “conservative market estimates.” That might not be good enough for Cuomo, though.

Cuomo expects how much?

Gov. Cuomo has much higher expectations for what the state should make from sports betting.

The US sports betting industry was surprised to wake up Wednesday to find Cuomo had changed his stance on mobile sports betting. The excitement felt throughout the industry quickly turned to jokes, though, when the governor described his plan during the Q&A portion of his coronavirus press conference:

“We want to do sports betting the way the state runs the lottery where the state gets the revenues. Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos but it makes minimal money for the state, and I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state.”

Budget Director Robert Mujica explained that the standard sports betting model would net New York about $50 million a year in tax revenue. But a single-operator monopoly could bring in $500 million annually, Mujica said. We won’t know any other details of the proposal until Cuomo releases his budget.

Assuming a 50-50 revenue split and a 5% hold, New York’s sports betting market would have to take $20 billion in bets annually to make the state $500 million. That’s not impossible for any of the “crown jewel” states like California, Florida, New York and Texas.

It won’t happen in year one, though, and could take significantly longer to reach those heights under a monopoly.

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Global Online Gambling Market (2020 to 2027) – Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

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Dublin, April 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “Online Gambling Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report by Type (Sports Betting, Casinos, Poker, Bingo), by Device (Desktop, Mobile), by Region (North America, Europe, APAC, Latin America, MEA), and Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

The global online gambling market size is expected to reach USD 127.3 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027. The market is expected to gain traction over the forecast period. The growing popularity of betting across the globe and freemium model in online gambling are among the potential opportunities likely to unfold in the next few years.

Increasing adoption of smartphones and easy access to casino gaming platforms is currently driving the market. Factors such as increasing internet penetration and the availability of cost-effective mobile applications for betting are also expected to contribute to market growth over the forecast period. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), as of 2018, approximately 2,800 sites are active online and offer activities including bingo, poker, and lottery.

Electronic Gambling Devices (EGDs) are inexpensive to run and easily available. These devices have an in-built software that mimics the experience of a local casino. For instance, a Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) uses advancing technology and can also be customized to electronic slot machines, spinning reel slot machines, video slot machines, and electronic poker games.

The spread of COVID19 has accelerated the demand for online gambling. Moreover, increasing digitalization coupled with secure digital payment options are also some factors contributing to online gambling market growth. The market is further expected to gain momentum over the forecast period attributed to the rising use of digital currency and websites provided by companies for betting and gambling.

Further key findings from the report suggest:

  • Ease of sports betting using a computer or smartphone coupled with the proliferation of sports betting ads across the globe is expected to propel segment growth over the forecast period
  • Online gambling service providers/operators are allowed to enter into agreements with individual players or customers to provide betting services for real money, in turn attracting more gamers
  • A large number of customers are using desktops for betting as downloading and installing casino software proves to be easier on desktops. This, in turn, is expected to propel the growth of the desktop segment
  • Online agencies, networks and exchanges, and third-party ad servers are used for advertising gambling websites of various companies
  • Europe is expected to continue its dominance over the forecast period. In the U.K., online gambling is legalized owing to safe practices and stringent regulations laid down by the government
  • Asia Pacific is anticipated to register the highest growth rate owing to the increased adoption of smartphones, a larger proportion of younger population, and legalization of online gambling in the region. The market size is largely influenced by the size of betting and pertinent outcome
  • Key companies in the online gambling market include William Hill PLC and Paddy Power Betfair PLC.

Key Topics Covered:

1. Methodology and Scope

2. Executive Summary
2.1 Online Gambling Market – Industry Snapshot & Key Buying Criteria, 2016 – 2027
2.2 Global Online Gambling Market, 2016 – 2027
2.2.1 Global online gambling market, by region, 2016 – 2027
2.2.2 Global online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
2.2.3 Global online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027

3. Online Gambling Industry Outlook
3.1 Market Segmentation & Scope
3.2 Market Size and Growth Prospects
3.3 Online Gambling – Value Chain Analysis
3.3.1 Vendor landscape
3.4 Online Gambling Market Dynamics
3.4.1 Market driver analysis
3.4.1.1 Increasing investment in online gambling
3.4.1.2 Growing number of live casinos across the globe
3.4.2 Market restraint analysis
3.4.2.1 Increasing rate of cybercrimes
3.5 Penetration and Growth Prospect Mapping
3.6 Online Gambling Market – Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
3.7 Online Gambling Market – Key Company Market Share Analysis, 2019
3.8 Online Gambling Market – PESTEL Analysis
3.9 Impact of COVID 19 on the Online Gambling Market

4. Online Gambling Type Outlook
4.1 Online Gambling Market Share By Type, 2019
4.2 Sports Betting
4.2.1 Sports betting online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.3 Casinos
4.3.1 Casinos online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.4 Poker
4.4.1 Poker online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.5 Bingo
4.5.1 Bingo online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
4.6 Others
4.6.1 Other online gambling market, 2016 – 2027

5. Online Gambling Device Outlook
5.1 Online Gambling Market Share By Device, 2019
5.2 Desktop
5.2.1 Desktop online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
5.3 Mobile
5.3.1 Online mobile gambling market, 2016 – 2027
5.4 Others
5.4.1 Other device for online gambling market, 2016 – 2027

6. Online Gambling Regional Outlook
6.1 Online Gambling Market Share by Region, 2019
6.2 North America
6.2.1 North America online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.2 North America online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.3 North America online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4 U.S.
6.2.4.1 U.S. online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4.2 U.S. online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.4.3 U.S. online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5 Canada
6.2.5.1 Canada online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5.2 Canada online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.2.5.3 Canada online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3 Europe
6.3.1 Europe online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.2 Europe online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.3 Europe online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4 U.K.
6.3.4.1 U.K. online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4.2 U.K. online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.4.3 U.K. online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5 Germany
6.3.5.1 Germany online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5.2 Germany online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.3.5.3 Germany online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4 Asia Pacific
6.4.1 Asia Pacific online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.2 Asia Pacific online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.3 Asia Pacific online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4 China
6.4.4.1 China online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4.2 China online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.4.3 China online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5 India
6.4.5.1 India online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5.2 India online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.5.3 India online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6 Japan
6.4.6.1 Japan online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6.2 Japan online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.4.6.3 Japan online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.5 Latin America
6.5.1 Latin America online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.5.2 Latin America online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.5.3 Latin America online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4 Brazil
6.5.4.1 Brazil online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4.2 Brazil online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.5.4.3 Brazil online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027
6.6 MEA
6.6.1 MEA online gambling market, 2016 – 2027
6.6.2 MEA online gambling market, by type, 2016 – 2027
6.6.3 MEA online gambling market, by device, 2016 – 2027

7. Competitive Landscape

7.1 William Hill PLC
7.1.1 Company overview
7.1.2 Financial performance
7.1.3 Product benchmarking
7.1.4 Strategic initiatives
7.2 Bet365 Group Ltd.
7.3 Paddy Power Betfair PLC
7.4 Betsson AB
7.5 Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC
7.6 The Stars Group Inc.
7.7 888 Holdings PLC
7.8 Sky Betting & Gaming
7.9 Kindred Group PLC
7.10 GVC Holdings PLC

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CT Governor throws support behind legal betting and igaming

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Giving his State of the State address yesterday (6 January), Lamont said 2020 had been one of the “most challenging and humbling” years of his life, due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. 

This, he said, had prompted the state to work closely with neighbours such as Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York to coordinate their response to the crisis. 

Lamont pledged to continue to leverage these relationships as part of Connecticut’s recovery from the pandemic.

He said Connecticut would work with its neighboring states and tribal partners on a path forward to “modernize gaming”, as well as working in the legislature to legalize marijuana. 

“Sports betting, internet gaming, and legalized marijuana are happening all around us,” Lamont added. “Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or even worse, underground markets.”

His pledge to expand the state’s gambling market comes amid reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing to relax his stance against mobile wagering in neighbouring New York. 

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