TIME Retail

Meet the Adorable 5-Year-Old J.Crew Just Hired as Its New Designer

J.Crew / Bryan Derballa

The blog she runs with her mom has been a huge hit

Five-year-old Mayhem (yes, it’s a nickname) is in Kindergarten and also happens to be J.Crew’s newest and youngest fashion designer, according to PSFK. The line, called Little Mayhem, was spawned from the blog she runs with the help of her mother, Angie Keiser. Mayhem’s work—a series of colored, paper dresses—been so popular that it has over 480,000 Instagram followers and viral posts that’d make any major media outlet jealous. (She makes them with her mother’s help.)

The creations are now available in J. Crew stores, according to the article. Prices range from about $50 to $80 for dresses, rompers and tops. In a blog post, Keiser wrote about her daughter’s process for the creations:

Mayhem and her new crew all sat down on the floor and played. And made stuff. Out of paper and tape and beads and glue and crayons. And they laughed and hugged and had more fun than I would have imagined. And then they sprinkled their magic J. Crew fairydust on it and turned paper into fabric. And when it was time to go, Mayhem cried. Because she didn’t want to leave.

In December, J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons asked to collaborate with Mayhem and Keiser. Next up: Fashion week for her sixth birthday?

TIME Candy

These Candy Companies have a Surprising New Strategy

Mars

The candy companies are making a push into healthier snack bars

Candy companies are jumping on the health food bandwagon. Yes, really.

Mars Chocolate North America and Hershey both plan to introduce snack bars for health-conscious consumers, according to Ad Age.

The two companies unveiled their new bars at the Sweets and Snacks Expo this week in Chicago. Mars and Hershey are the biggest players in the US confectionary market with 25% market share each, Ad Age said. The new snack bars will feature fruit, nuts, dark chocolate and, allegedly, lower calories.

With the new bars, the two companies will compete against each another as well as against Kind, a successful snack bar start-up.

Mars will reportedly debut its Goodnessknows bars in stores in August. Hershey’s Brookside bars are just now starting to reach store shelves.

The push into snack bars comes amid a broader shift by the food industry to make their products healthier, or at least appear healthier. Fast-food chains are increasingly selling lower calorie menu items and meat produced without hormones.

For more on how large food companies have been singing a healthier tune recently, check out Beth Kowitt’s Fortune feature “The war on big food.”

TIME Retail

This Is What a 130-Year-Old Pair of Jeans Looks Like

Levi Strauss

Not in bad shape considering

How old is your oldest pair of jeans? (And, while we’re on the topic, when was the last time you washed them?) No matter your answer, Levi Strauss & Co. almost certainly has one on you.

To mark the 142-year anniversary of Levi’s 501 jeans, the apparel maker announced on Wednesday that its archives department had acquired a pair that dates back to the 1880s. And, despite the fact that they are one of the oldest pairs of jeans in existence, they look pretty good. “Except for wear marks and a few minor holes and tears, the pants, which date to around the 1880s, are pristine,” according to a Levi’s blog post on the acquisition.

Levi’s has named the duds the “New Nevada Jeans,” as they were discovered in the Silver State. They sport a few minor differences from the ubiquitous 501 model. “The yoke is narrower, and the leather patch is in the middle of the waistband, rather than on the right side,” according to the company.

Originally called “overalls,” blue jeans date back to the American Gold Rush era of the late 19th century. In 1873, the U.S. government granted a patent to Levi Strauss for what would become the company’s 501 jeans, based on its rivet-reinforced fastenings. Jeans were practical, tough work pants, the kind that could take a beating when you were out in the field. By the early 20th century, though, they had become a fashion statement, fit for the kind of people who had never even set foot on a working ranch.

A Fortune story late last year chronicled the company’s ups-and-downs:

With $7.1 billion in 1996 sales, the company used to be bigger than Nike. By 2003, Levi’s revenues had bell-bottomed out to $4.2 billion. Over the next decade, sales rose only barely as the company failed to translate affection for the brand into actual purchases. Levi’s design team was late to key trends, like colored denim for women and more tailored jeans for men. Once in the top quintile of the Fortune 500, Levi dropped off the list in 2012.

Things have begun to turnaround since then. By the end of 2014, the company had hit its financial goals for the second year in a row. Full-year revenues increased 2% to $4.8 billion. Net income was down year, but adjusted EBIT—the company’s preferred measure to track profitability—was $504 million last year compared to $467 million in 2013. The company also grew revenue in both Europe and Asia for the first time in three years.

TIME Apple

The Worst Thing About the iPhone Is About to Be Fixed

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California.

It's huge for public transportation users

Your iPhone is about to get way more useful for navigating around big cities.

Apple’s upcoming iOS 9 update will add public transportation data to the default Maps app, according to 9to5Mac. The company will reportedly unveil bus, subway and train directions within the app at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

This is the first time Apple’s Maps app will include public transit data since the company stopped using Google’s mapping data in 2012. Apple was reportedly planning on including the new features in iOS 8, but pulled them at the last minute because of personnel and data issues.

Sources also told 9to5Mac that Apple is making progress with an indoor mapping project to help users find their way inside large buildings and landmarks. However, it’s unclear when that will be released.

TIME Earnings

How Apple Just Saved Best Buy

A Best Buy store in Las Vagas.
Britta Pedersen—picture-alliance/dpa/AP A Best Buy store in Las Vagas.

The retailer has been struggling for a while

Best Buy pulled another rabbit out of its hat, this time in large part courtesy of Apple’s iPhone 6.

The retailer, which many analysts have written off as a relic destined to disappear, keeps coming back with strong results, somehow maintaining its appeal with shoppers who could easily buy its electronics on line.

Best Buy on Thursday reported U.S. comparable sales unexpectedly rose 0.6% in the quarter ended May 3, easily beating Wall Street forecasts for a 0.4% decline, according to Consensus Metrix, and helping it post a stronger than expected profit.

It’s not the first time that electronics retailer benefit from a runaway hit, of course, but Best Buy has in the last few years positioned itself to benefit better than most from such blockbuster products.

“We continued to take advantage of strong product cycles in large screen televisions and iconic mobile phones,” said CEO Hubert Joly said. Those iconic mobile phones would of course largely be the iPhone 6, launched last winter, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy 6.

Best Buy also got some help from large TVs and its growing big appliance business (that it appears to be taking in part from Sears).

The retailer has been fighting back using the very thing people thought condemned it to obsolescence: its stores. The chain’s growth plan is anchored on focusing on top brands in electronics and giving them a lot more prominence in stores. In 2014, it opened showrooms within its stores to showcase case products by Sony and Samsung. It has also previously had shop-in-shops for products by Microsoft and Beats headphones. And it has done a stellar job of integrating its e-commerce and stores for services like in-store pickup for online orders. These are some of reasons hit products like the iPhone have helped Best Buy but not RadioShack or hhgregg.

This “is what has allowed us to consistently outperform the market,” Joly said.

The strong quarter follows a big rise in U.S. sales over the holiday season, belying the long held notion that Best Buy can’t keep up with the aggressive pricing of Amazon.com, Walmart and Target.

There was more good news from Best Buy: total company sales for the current quarter are set to decline less than Wall Street analysts expected (Best Buy is in the process of exiting China, and closing dozens of Canadian stores) because of what Chief Financial Officer Sharon McCollam called “a strengthening domestic consumer-electronics market.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Advertising

This Beer Ad Only Works When Women Pass By

It uses state-of-the-art "gender detection" software

 

German beer maker Astra wants women to know their purchasing power is important.

The beer brand has made an automated billboard that speaks only to women when they pass by, Engadget reports. The billboard comes equipped with a camera and “gender detection” software. It also responds to women according to their age from one of 70 different recorded responses. The billboard was developed by the ad agency Philipp und Keuntje and features German comic Uke Bosse.

Read next: What your beer says about you

TIME Apple

Here’s What Apple’s Next Big App Will Do

Craig Federighi
Jeff Chiu—Associated Press Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks about the Apple HomeKit app at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 2, 2014.

The new app may be released with iOS 9

Apple is reportedly developing a “Home” app which would help users control products that work with its connected home service, HomeKit.

HomeKit’s uses include controlling garage doors, smart thermostats and wireless door locks, among other home accessories. The Home app may be included with an upcoming iOS 9 update, 9to5Mac reported citing sources familiar with the project.

9to5Mac says the Home app will boast the following features:

  • Wirelessly discovering and setting up compatible HomeKit devices
  • Creating a virtual representation of rooms in the home to easily organize and connect HomeKit devices
  • Utilizing the Apple TV as a hub connecting all of the HomeKit devices
  • Offering a series of screens to help users find new HomeKit devices and apps

Apple is widely expected to unveil more details about HomeKit at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference early next month.

TIME Apple

Apple Is About to Change Something Very Basic About its Devices

New Product Announcements At The Apple Inc. Spring Forward Event
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during the Apple Inc. Spring Forward event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, March 9, 2015.

The writing's on the wall

Apple is expected to refresh the font used across its devices, 9to5Mac reported Wednesday.

Apple currently uses the new font, called San Francisco, in the Apple Watch. Now, it could make its way to iPhones, iPads, and Macs, replacing Helvetica Neue. San Francisco was developed for the Apple Watch to improve readability on the device’s small screen.

It’s unclear exactly when the font switchover might happen. However, it could be announced during Apple’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference, set for early next month. While Apple’s annual WWDC events are geared towards software developers, the company often uses the occasion to announce new products, as well as new features for its existing offers.

Still, nothing’s a sure bet. As 9to5Mac notes, “Apple could ultimately choose to retain Helvetica Neue this year and push back or cancel its plans for San Francisco.”

TIME Gadgets

You’ll Never Guess Who Just Perfected the Keyboard

KFC

Consider eating and typing solved

KFC is furnishing some German diners with Bluetooth-enabled paper keyboards so they can type into their phones and tablets with greasy fingers, obviating the need to hose down their devices with liquid detergent after lunch. It’s a brilliant, weird, slightly disturbing development.

The rechargeable “Tray Typer” replaces the usual piece of paper that comes atop food trays agh the fast-food chain. The product was developed by a company called Serviceplan and used by KFC as part of an ad campaign. Maybe the best thing about Tray Typer is that it’s reusable — after being wiped down, of course. Serviceplan claims that during the campaign in Germany, every single Tray Typer was taken home by consumers.

It seems unlikely that KFC will make Tray Typer a mainstay in its restaurants. It’s basically a constant reminder of how greasy its food is. Not that people don’t realize this, of course, but it’s usually not anything a food company, even one that’s essentially in the grease business, wants to continually highlight.

The Verge called the Tray Typer a “first world solution to a first world problem.”

This isn’t KFC’s first foray into the peripherals business, or even the strangest. In Japan last year, it offered keyboards, mice, and thumb drives in fried-chicken.

TIME Retail

Target’s turnaround is off to a faster start than Walmart’s

The carts are filling up again.

The cheap-chic discount retailer reported strong quarterly results, showing its turnaround efforts are paying off more quickly than those of larger rival Walmart.

Target’s plan to recapture the discount retailer’s old ‘Tar-zhay’ magic with millions of middle-class customers seems to be taking hold, showing results more quickly than Walmart’s parallel efforts to re-invent itself.

Target, the No. 3 U.S. retailer, on Wednesday reported comparable sales rose 2.3% in the three months ended May 2, helped by notable gains in some of the areas that CEO Brian Cornell has said were priorities for the retailer: apparel, children’s products and healthcare products. In contrast, its larger rival Wal-Mart Stores said earlier this week that U.S. comparable sales (which include e-commerce but exclude newly-opened stores) rose 1.1% in the first quarter.

Since taking the helm last August, Cornell has sought to shake up Target’s bureaucratic culture to make it quicker to adapt to change and add more stylishness to its apparel. It’s also in the process of improving the retailer’s food assortment with more focus on natural and organic foods (food underperformed Target’s overall sales numbers, CFO John Mulligan told reporters on a media call). It has added mannequins to 1,000 of its 1,800 stores to better showcase its fashion, and has created dedicated beauty sections at many stores. The efforts resulted in Target getting more shoppers into its stores, a critical win in the age of e-commerce.

Cornell has also pushed Target, a long time laggard in e-commerce, to pick up its digital game. Those efforts paid off, with a 38% jump in e-commerce sales last quarter (compared to 17% growth at Walmart–although, to be fair, it’s easier to grow quickly from a smaller starting base). Target raised its profit outlook for the year as a result of its first-quarter results.

“We’re encouraged to see early progress on our strategic priorities, including strong sales growth in Apparel, Home and Beauty, nearly 40% growth in digital sales, and positive traffic in both our stores and digital channels,” Cornell said in a statement.

During the first quarter, Target reminded everyone how no one can create buzz with designer collaborations like it can: the trendy Lily Pulitzer summer wear line nearly crashed Target’s web site in April. While such collaborations don’t move the needle much in terms of sales, they do help burnish Target’s “cheap chic” image with affluent consumers, and makes it less reliant on less affluent customers.

In contrast, Walmart spoke of consumers pocketing their tax refunds and savings from lower gas prices, rather than spending more. The average Walmart customer has a much lower income than the Target customer, with about 20% of Walmart shoppers reliant on food stamps to buy groceries by some estimates.

Walmart is also looking to re-invent itself, improving the fresh food selection, customer service and rolling out smaller format stores to compete with dollar stores. The world’s largest retailer managed to get more shoppers into its stores for the second quarter in a row, but Walmart’s quarter shows it faces a tougher slog than its smaller rival.

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