Recently the Washington Post published a story asking the question: Why are sales suffering at so many women’s stores? Sales figures are down across the board in retail, and stores are looking for ways to reach customers. As a consumer who visited many of the stores mentioned in the Washington Post article during the back to school shopping season, I saw precisely what the article talked about: high prices, limited size & fit of items and lastly, where is the quality! Are the these pieces going to last? Are they made with durable fabrics? Is the stitching of high quality? Here are my thoughts on shopping at some of the women’s retailers mentioned in the article.
Anthropologie. I visit the Northpark location of Anthro all the time. Recently they moved to a larger location in the mall that is well lit, and has an expanded offering of housewares and furniture. However, I’ve never made a purchase at the store! Everything is too expensive! As the Post article mentions , there are pieces at Antrho that can be deemed as ethic or tribal. For example, dresses made with what looks to be wax print fabric, which is widely worn in West Africa. But for the price, I can call my aunt in Accra and have a dress made with a similar pattern but at a much lower price! As for fit, I’ve never tried anything on there either! The sizes of available items at Anthro look to be too small.
Loft & Ann Taylor. I do shop at Loft and Ann Taylor often, they are owned by the same company, Ann Inc. As a card holder I receive notice of sales, along with coupons in the mail and via email quite often. It seems like there is always a sale at these stores! 40% off regular price items or 40% off select styles. I usually wait until they offer 50% off sale and regular priced item sales. Apart from what seems to be constant sales another concern is quality. I’ve purchased about two cardigans at Loft in the past year or so and and both have a rip near the collar. Very disappointed in the quality of the cardigans especially when I follow the care instructions on the label! A couple of weeks ago I received an email asking me to join the Ann Taylor Influencer. I gladly joined because I would love to give my input on price, quality, and fit! As for the promised giveaways and other items for participating, we shall see.
Banana Republic. Since the Banana Republic store closed down at The Parks Mall in Arlington a few years ago due to the fact that a BR outlet store opened at the near by Grand Prairie Premium Outlets, I visit the Northpark store often. I always head straight to the clearance section to find blouses, dresses and blazers to wear at work and church. Why? The regular priced items are just too high! An aquatance works at the store and always sends me the friends and family email where you can buy 5 items at 50% off which I actually used this summer. I saved a little bit more when I put the purchase on my new Banana Republic card. The last time I purchased pants at Banana Republic was about two years ago at a friends and family event. I don’t wear them as they are too big for me now. But proper fit has been an issue when buying pants at BR. The retailer definitely needs to work on sizing, especially for those of us who have curvy figures.
I think consumers want high quality at reasonable prices. I want to be able to walk out of a store where I’ve spent $150 or $200 with more than four or five items! I’m also looking for excellent fit for my figure! This back to school season I shopped at Ross and Marshall’s. For about $150 at Ross I purchased two pairs of jeans, two wraps, and three blouses. I’ll be on the look out for sales and bargains at the women’s stores. However, I will definitely visit stores like Ross and Marshall’s for my fall and winter clothing needs.
Ever wondered what is going on in your city on the weekend? Want to plan an activity to do with friends, family or for a date? Well, here is a great way to find out, and save money all at the same time: Groupon Things to do! Simply visit the website or the app, and click on Things To Do. If you are using the website just enter your location box on the top right of the page, and voila! a list of events to attend in your city! Concerts, wine tours, plays, conferences and much more are all available for purchase on Groupon Things to Do! When you see an event that peaks your interest, click on it to review the details.
Take note that as with all other things Groupon, a good deal sells out quickly! For example, two deals for a brewery tour in Austin, TX are sold out! However, an option for a tour for six was still available. When you are ready to make your purchase it is easy! Just select buy, follow the on screen steps, and you are done! Today, there is an offer for those using Groupon for the first time. Use the code First at check out and you can save 25% on your first Groupon Thing to Do!
As an educator, I’m always looking for ways to save on the items I need for work and home. Many shoppers believe that Target is an expensive retailer. I was one of them. However, with a little work, there are ways to save at Target! Here are a few tips for shopping at the store:
The Target Debit Card. The Target Debit Card is a great way to save 5% on groceries and other necessities without worrying about a monthly bill or interest rates as it is linked to your checking account. Just download the application for the Target Debit card and mail in a voided check. Soon you too will be well on your way to seeing a lower total at checkout!
Cartwheel App. Search the Cartwheel app for offers and add them to your list before you visit the store. To save time the app even tells you where in the store the items are located. At check out hit the checkout icon in the app, and have the cashier scan it. Its that simple!
Target Mobile Coupons. Coupons sent straight to your phone! Got an iPhone? You can add mobile coupons to Apple Wallet in the Target App. Some mobile coupon codes are available in the weekly ad. From time to time Target offers a $10 off a $40 purchase on groceries that is listed in the weekly add.
Printable Coupons. Just log onto Target.com, and select printable coupons from the drop down on the deals link at the top of the page. You can search for products at the top of the page. Select the coupons you would like to print, and bingo instant savings!
I highly recommend clipping coupons from the Sunday newspaper, and checking the Wednesday paper for any coupons! This in addition to the four tips above will also help you to save on the necessities at Target!
If you are looking for a place to stay in the Austin area that is away from downtown, the Omni at Barton Creek is it! I stayed there for a conference from July 31st to August 4th. The staff is friendly, and we received great service during our stay.
Our rooms were ready upon late afternoon arrival. The decor is very much suited to Texas, leather and calf hair chairs, wood frames on the head boards and the art consisted of old black and white photos of the Austin area.
The hotel is a bit of a maze but with the resort guide given at check in, and consulting the staff, I was able to make my way around and get to meetings on time. There are several meeting rooms on site, and sound/tech support was always on hand to ensure that things ran smoothly. The food provided by the hotel was great from continental breakfasts, lunch buffets, movie night, and sit down dinners. There is also a wine bar called 8212 Wine Bar, and a full service bar, Barton’s Lounge on site. Although the wine bar did not have sweet red wines the Chandon Rose was a great alternative. Barton’s Lounge has a great Moscow Mule that is worth a try.
If you are not a member of Omni Select Guest program, join now! Select guests receive a complementary morning beverage at the coffee bar and bottled water .
The resort has a lot to offer guests. We saw several families during our stay. The hotel has a kids club and family activities. There is a golf course, pool, and a trail to walk, and enjoy the views of the Texas Hill Country. On the 9th floor of the tower, there is an overlook terrace where you can also view the countryside of this beautiful resort.
The tranquility room at the Three Springs Spa got rave reviews from the conference attendees. It is a calm cool place to relax and destress. If your company or organization is planning a small conference in the Austin area, consider the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa.