Starcraft II Phishing Scam Begins

It seems scammers are keeping tabs on the latest game releases, this time jumping on the hot seller Starcraft II. E-mails have gone out promising a free copy of Starcraft II via a CD-key, and in the process providing phony links to confirm your order. The goal? To snag your personal info.

The e-mails, at least to a person excited enough, look legitimate, although the links should be a giveaway along with the e-mail address. Also, Blizzard is NOT giving away free copies of the game. Let’s face it: they don’t need any additional promotional help.

Siliconera has a full page of the e-mails and what they look like so you can stay informed. Then again, a little common sense goes a long way; if you haven’t signed up to win a free copy from Blizzard, why would they be giving you one in the first place?

Kohl’s Stores in El Paso, Texas, Help Prepare Chain for Los Angeles Market.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News June 24, 2002 By Doris Hajewski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Jun. 24–CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico–On the bridge over the Rio Grande to El Paso, Texas, four lanes of cars bake in the sweltering, 102-degree afternoon heat.

It is a 40-minute wait to get across, plenty of time for the international commuters to flip through the Kohl’s department store flier they’ve just been handed. More than 17 million cars cross the four bridges every year, and many of the people in them are coming to shop.

The Menomonee Falls retailer has been doing business for nearly a year now in the border city of El Paso, a world apart from the store’s Wisconsin roots.

The two stores at the southwest Texas border are just a small part of the Kohl’s chain, but they are hugely important to the company’s future.

Not only will they act as proving grounds for the chain’s move into the Los Angeles market with its announced 30 new stores, but they also are prime examples of how Kohl’s intends to tailor its retail strategy to fit individual markets as it becomes a nationwide chain. Kohl’s has 420 stores now from coast to coast, with 32 expected to open yet this year.

With a population that is 95 percent of Mexican origin, El Paso provides a crash course in selling to a customer profile that is different from the typical Kohl’s demographic.

“Gracias por comprar en Kohl’s,” say the signs on the doors of the El Paso stores: “Thank you for shopping at Kohl’s.” But aside from the bilingual signs — a first for Kohl’s — and the palm trees in the parking lot, the El Paso stores don’t look much different to the casual observer from the ones in Milwaukee.

The biggest lesson Kohl’s has learned from the El Paso stores is the extent of the sizing differences in clothing for a primarily Mexican-American customer base.

“Where we didn’t have enough small sizes, we heard about that,” said Kohl’s President Kevin Mansell.

Kohl’s southwest expansion follows the company’s promise to investors to boost sales and earnings by 20 percent a year. As the chain expands, the number of store openings each year has increased proportionately, but Kohl’s executives decline to say how big the company may get. Some analysts believe Kohl’s could reach 1,500 stores by 2010.

The Los Angeles stores will be the first of a new, larger prototype that will add 2,400 square feet to the standard 86,000 square feet, Chief Executive Officer Larry Montgomery said in a meeting with analysts last month.

Kohl’s so far has succeeded in grabbing customers from the competition in its existing markets. The middle-market chain posted a 9 percent increase in year-to-date comparable sales at stores open at least a year, compared with a 3.8 percent decline for Sears, Roebuck & Co., a 3.1 percent decline for Macy’s parent company Federated Department Stores, and a 0.3 percent decline for Saks Inc., which owns Boston Store and Younkers, in the same 17-week period. in our site kohls coupon codes

The Los Angeles blitz will coincide with the launch of Kohl’s first network television ad campaign. As opposed to local broadcast and cable television, the more efficient national network advertising is a major benefit of Kohl’s’ southwest expansion, says UBS Warburg analyst Linda Kristiansen.

In the El Paso stores, Kohl’s is experimenting with size charts in the shoe and children’s apparel departments to help Mexican customers make the connection between the international sizing system they are familiar with and the U.S. system.

It’s a help to the customer, but it also helps the staff keep the store neat because shoppers don’t need to open as many shoe boxes to find their size, said Mark Bauer, who manages the Kohl’s store on the east end of El Paso. see here kohls coupon codes

Other merchandising twists address cultural differences.

The El Paso stores sell religious jewelry, especially in the spring, when Catholic children make their first communion, Bauer said. The stores also carry a larger assortment of children’s clothing, including dressier styles for church and family celebrations.

Photos in the store use models that match the area demographics, and some mannequins are dark-skinned. Store employees reflect the neighborhood, as they do wherever Kohl’s operates, and all managers were hired locally.

“I like it,” said El Paso native Kathleen Cline about the new Kohl’s store on the east side of El Paso. “I love getting a bargain. This is much less expensive than Dillard’s (a regional department store chain), and they have many of the same brands. I don’t go to the mall anymore.” Cline’s reaction is just what Kohl’s was hoping for. The company’s real estate strategy places new stores in outer ring suburbs, where young families are moving into new homes.

“The stores are between centers of population and local and regional malls,” Montgomery explained at the analyst conference.

When Kohl’s made its first serious moves outside the Midwest about five years ago, some analysts questioned whether the concept would work. Now the company competes with every major chain in the country and has proved its ability to handle the challenge.

“El Paso opened a year ahead, to get ready,” said Omar Segura, a Kohl’s district manager who worked on the opening.

Kohl’s will face similar size issues when the company enters southern California, where some areas have large Asian-American and Hispanic populations.

The company already is working on marketing and merchandising plans for the southwest expansion next spring, which will take Kohl’s to Phoenix and Las Vegas, as well as to the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The company has announced a total of 40 stores for those three areas. In the fall of 2003, Kohl’s will open another 40 stores at locations yet to be announced.

Kohl’s uses a marketing solutions team that spends time in a new market well in advance of the opening, Chief Financial Officer Patti Johnson said in a recent meeting with analysts.

By the time Kohl’s opens in Los Angeles, residents there will have had plenty of time to get familiar with the company, thanks to national cable television ads the company launched last year. In addition, consumers who speak other languages likely will see print ads in some of their community publications and TV spots on foreign language cable stations.

Kohl’s, like other retailers, is already advertising in Spanish on Univision and Telemundo, the Spanish-language cable networks, as well as on local Spanish-language stations in Texas.

Some marketing experts, such as Bill Imada, chairman of the IW Group, a Los Angeles marketing communications firm, believe it’s important to speak to prospective customers in their own language.

“We have communities where you can do everything in (your native) language, from the supermarket to the bank,” Imada said.

When Kohl’s opened in El Paso last summer, the company reached out to Mexican residents of Juarez with billboards at the bridges. Kohl’s also uses a distribution company, TMC Inc., that hands out fliers for major U.S. retailers — the same ones that run in newspapers in Milwaukee on Sunday — at the bridges over the Rio Grande. Wal-Mart offers a Spanish-language version of its flier on the bridges.

The effort is a competitive necessity, because northbound border crossings from Mexico represent 40 percent of El Paso’s total retail trade, according to Neilsen 2000. On weekends, traffic backups on the bridge run about two hours.

Kohl’s associates who speak Spanish wear name tags noting that they are bilingual, and the stores offer help with paperwork that allows Mexican nationals to get refunds on their sales tax when they cross the border back to Mexico.

Kohl’s also provides bilingual materials for its employees in El Paso — everything from memos to benefits information to signs on shelves in the stockroom.

The aim is to use the bilingual approach in stores in other cities where there is a large Spanish-speaking population, Kohl’s executives say.

A front-page story in the El Paso Times last month reported that 32.7 percent of the city’s residents lack a fluent understanding of the English language. The same issue of the newspaper reported on the efforts of the Wells Fargo bank in a Los Angeles suburb to appeal to Mexican-Americans with pueblo-style decorating and Spanish-language songs on its lobby speaker.

Kohl’s executives, while proud of their multicultural efforts, say they aren’t relying on bilingual marketing to conquer their new markets.

“We realize that the one-size strategy doesn’t fit all,” said Segura, the district manager. But the basic Kohl’s concept does, he said.

“They still want brands, convenience and price.” LOS ANGELES DEMOGRAPHICS A look at the five-county Los Angeles area:

Los Angeles County: 38 percent white; 40 percent Hispanic Orange County: 62 percent white; 26 percent Hispanic; 11 percent Asian San Bernardino County: 58 percent white; 31 percent Hispanic Riverside County: 63 percent white; 28 percent Hispanic;

Ventura County: 64 percent white; 30 percent Hispanic According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 1.7 million Asians live in the Los Angeles area, and 1.9 million live in southern California, up 29 percent from 1990.