Another European brand has crossed the Atlantic to help satiate the American appetite for cheap clothes

Singer Tinashe attends the Primark U.S. Grand Opening Store Celebration at Primark Downtown Crossing on September 9, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.

#AceSalesNews – Sept.10: Primark, the Irish fast-fashion retailer known for mind-bogglingly cheap clothes—cheaper than even H&M—has come to the United States. Its 77,000-square-foot shop in Boston’s Downtown Crossing is the first of eight locations planned for the country this year, including one in New York.

Its arrival seems long overdue for a brand that outranks Gap (paywall) in global market share and trails just behind Uniqlo, which has been spreading across the US steadily for some years now.

Primark has at least one major hurdle to clear: it’s entering a crowded market in which it has virtually no brand recognition. But it also has some factors working in its favor—namely America’s seemingly insatiable desire for cheap clothing from stores abundant with it. In 2013, the average American spent $1,141 to buy 64 garments and more than seven pairs of shoes, more than any other country in the world.

Primark, if anything, is definitely cheap. A comparison of prices at Primark and its fast-fashion rivals last year by the Wall Street Journal pegged Primark as the least expensive of the bunch. A pair of jeans at Zara cost $42. A similar pair at H&M was just $13. The price tag at Primark: $10.

Clothes by PrimarkOn the Primark site, these cost £20, £19, and just £2, respectively.

While Primark has been around since 1969, it’s only in the last decade or so that it’s become a major force in fast-fashion. Its parent company is the unlikely Associated British Foods, which describes itself as “a diversified international food, ingredients and retail group.” Much of its revenue comes wholesale businesses, like the yeast and dough conditioners it sells to bakeries and the cane sugar mills it runs in China.

But the company has proven a skilled retailer, as well. Primark now has more than 270 stores across Europe. Much like H&M and Zara, which have done well in the US, it’s adept at identifying commercial hits from the runways and getting them on racks before even the originator can, earning it the nickname Primarni. (Supposedly it’s a mash-up of “Primark” and “Armani,” but if it’s supposed to indicate that Primark is on-trend, it probably makes more sense as a mix of Primark and “Marni,” the playful Italian luxury label.)

Of course, being cheap and trendy isn’t always enough. Even the well-established American retailer Forever 21 may have to scale back its giant stores, and take out a loan, as its growth stalls.

In Britain, Primark is something of a cultural touchstone, and not necessarily in a good way. It’s basically shorthand for cheap clothes of exceedingly low quality.

But Primark doesn’t have that baggage across the Atlantic. There, it’s relatively unknown—though that’s about to change.

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iPad Pro and Apple Pencil hands-on: Microsoft Surface fans will be choking on their cornflakes

iPad Pro hands-on

#AceSalesNews – Sept.10: The iPad has got bigger. Apple boasted about how the new iPad Pro (12.9in diagonally) has 5.6 million pixels and more graphics processing power than 80% of the laptops shipped in the past year.

It has also added two accessories that will have Microsoft Surface fans choking on their cornflakes: a one-piece cover-keyboard that attaches magnetically and a pressure-sensitive stylus. Both are optional and each will appeal to particular segments. Although there are already plenty of third-party keyboards for existing iPads, Apple will have the Pro keyboard segment to itself for a while.

The iPad Pro, besides being big, is heavy. The 9.7in iPad Air 2 from 2014 weighs 0.96lb (437g); the Pro’s weight is not even mentioned on the “tech specs” page, as it’s virtually the same as the 1.5lb (680g) of the original iPad of 2010, even though that had a smaller screen. Still, it’s less than the 2.4lb (1.08kg) of a new 12in Macbook, though adding the keyboard/case might make it a close-run thing.

iPad Air 2 vs iPad Pro: Key differences

iPad Pro software keyboard shortcuts

The screen size difference does not leap out at you when you see it in the flesh; it looks more like a very lovely screen somehow detached from a notebook. Add the keyboard and it looks very much like a Surface, though the 4:3 screen ratio means it works better in both portrait and landscape than the latest Surface’s 3:2 ratio (which becomes too narrow in portrait mode). Rather than a kickstand, the Pro’s case folds underneath it to hold the device.

Apple is not making a PC-alike, though. The Pro is still an iPad – all the same apps, the same interface –though iOS 9 brings the ability (as on the Surface) to run two apps side-by-side on a split screen. The two products still start from philosophically different places: the Surface is a PC made more mobile, while the iPad Pro is a tablet given more desktop-like capability.

The keyboard is comfortable; it is very like the new MacBook, which has very short travel on the keys. I could type very accurately at once but others might find it uncomfortable compared to the keys of a normal notebook.

iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil: Pencilled in

The Apple Pencil is a stylus – which, while Steve Jobs might have dismissed them for a 3.5in screen back in 2007, becomes useful on a 12.9in one. You can rest your palm on the screen and draw, and the stylus is receptive to motion; it can detect both pressure and motion (though the iPad Pro does not have the new iPhone’s 3D Touch, and thus nor do its apps). There’s even a virtual ruler but unlike a real one, you cannot press against it to draw a straight line, which turns out to be surprisingly difficult.

iPad Pro with Apple Pencil

Illustrators are most likely to find the Pencil useful, though the keynote also included a demonstration by a doctor of a 3D body imaging system. In general, it is a niche, though you can also imagine business uses requiring signatures and marks where a stylus would be useful.

However, the iPad Pro is not a cheap option (prices start at $799 (£520) in the US and we are still waiting for UK news), especially allied to those accessories. It does have a wonderful screen and iOS 9’s split screen capability – which it has in common only with the iPad Air 2 and the new iPad mini 4 – is very useful; on such a big screen, it is almost essential.

iPad Pro

In the end, the iPad Pro is unlikely to drive an abrupt resurgence in tablet sales, which are wilting because the devices just do not wear out, and do not need replacement. The Pro could well fill some niches and attract some large business users who need touch-sensitive apps. But most consumers will find the smaller iPads fit the bill just fine.

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PAKISTAN: ‘ Google-supported Tech Mela to kick off in Pakistan tomorrow ‘


#AceSalesNews – Sept.10: Google has announced its support for the largest online shopping festival in Pakistan, dubbed ‘Tech Mela’, the online shopping event will be the first of its kind in the country’s emerging e-commerce market.

Tech Mela is slated to run for a duration of 10 days, starting on September 11 and will end on September 20.

“Pakistan’s mobile industry is really taking off with more and more people coming online and using their smartphones as their primary Internet device,” said Tania Aidrus, Country Manager South Asia Frontier at Google.

“It is absolutely the right time to hold this virtual shopping festival just before the traditional holiday and festive period of Eidul Azha and what better way than to hold it completely online where the next wave of buyers will be congregating,” added Tania.

With Internet penetration growing rapidly and the desire to purchase on the Internet increasing, we hope this initiative will bring more awareness and adoption of e-commerce in Pakistan, stated Google’s country manager.

According to TNS Research, there are 30 million online users in Pakistan, half of whom are using mobile phones for the purpose. Google is teaming up with e-commerce partner and development partner Activ8 to hold the online shopping festival.

“The majority of digital consumers in Pakistan are already researching online to decide which device to purchase, and for the most part they find online resources more relevant and credible to their purchase journey,” stated Tania.

According to Google’s top executive in the country, the Tech Mela is an initiative to complete the research and purchase loop, and to spur greater acceptance of e-commerce among even more Pakistanis.

Tech Mela will focus on exclusives, special deals and attractive discounts on smartphones, gadgets, data and voice plans that will only be available online during the duration of this event.

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Here’s how much the new iPhones cost and when you can get them

apple iphone pricingApple/Screenshot

#AceSalesNews – Sept.09: Apple just unveiled two new iPhones, the 6S and the 6S Plus.

Preorders start September 12 and the phones launch on September 25.

The iPhone 6S on contract will cost $199 for 16GB, $299 for 64GB, and $399 for 128GB. The iPhone 6S Plus will be $100 more expensive for each configuration.

Apple’s also introducing something called the “iPhone upgrade program” that will make it cheaper for people to get new iPhones every year. You’ll pay $32 a month for two years, but be able to get new iPhones every year.

Apple’s also adding a new “rose gold” color to the line-up.

Here’s how that looks:

Apple event iPhone 6S rose goldApple/Screenshot

Here’s a quick-and-dirty look at all the new features:


NOW WATCH: Here’s the biggest change coming to the iPhone

See Also:

IT’S OFFICIAL: Apple introduces the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

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Here’s How to Sell Your Old iPhone


#AceSalesNews – Sept.08: Apple is widely expected to announce its latest and greatest iPhone on Wednesday, Sept. 9. That might sound like exciting news now, but just wait until you see the price tag.

Last month, Verizon announced it’s doing away with annual contracts and subsidies on phones. Reminiscent of T-Mobile (and AT&T, who has sort of flown under the radar on this front), Verizon’s move is a huge game-changer in how people will have to pay for new phones moving forward. But here’s the short version: The next iPhone might cost you a lot more than your previous ones.

But there’s a great way to fund your next iPhone: Selling your old one. According to research by electronics reseller Gazelle, the best time to sell an iPhone 5s 16GB Verizon model is in the eight days prior to the launch of the next one.

Here’s how to unload your current sidekick to get yourself a spiffy new model.

1. Back it up.

Before you move on to your next iPhone, you need to preserve the content and settings of your current one. The only way to do that is by backing up your handset, but there are multiple ways to get this done.

The first, and easiest, is by using iCloud Backup. Accessible through the Settings app on your iPhone, this method is as easy as flipping a switch, and if you’re on Wi-Fi, it begins instantly—no computer necessary. The downside, however, is that it can take hours to upload a copy of your iPhone to the cloud, and you’re going to have to pay a monthly fee to have Apple host all that data. If you have a 16GB iPhone, you can back up to the cloud for just $.99 per month. If your phone has more storage than that, it will cost $3.99 per month.

The next way to back up your iPhone is by syncing it with iTunes. There are two different ways to do this, either by plugging your iPhone into your computer or by syncing over Wi-Fi. If you haven’t synced your iPhone over Wi-Fi previously, now is not the time to start, as this process takes almost as long as iCloud Backup. But if you’re committed to over-the-air backups (or if you can’t find your iPhone’s cable) here are the directions for setting up Wi-Fi Syncing.

Plugging your iPhone into your computer is another way to back up your iPhone. Using this tried-and-true method, you can simply copy over your apps and settings, or select “Encrypt iPhone backup” for a more in-depth archive that saves your passwords and other sensitive data. I recommend using this setting, because (in theory, but sometimes it doesn’t work as it should) you won’t have to peck all your passwords into your apps once you move to a new iPhone.

2. Unlock it

After backing up your phone, I recommend you “unlock” it, if possible. “Locked” phones can only operate on the mobile phone carrier that you’re currently subscribed to. Most phones bought with a subsidy from a carrier will come locked, and cannot be unlocked until the terms of the contract are fulfilled.

Only your carrier can unlock your phone, but the process—which varies from provider to provider—is usually simple and takes less than 5 minutes. Typically contract terms last for two years, so if you’ve had your handset for longer than that, be sure to get your phone unlocked. Other than your own personal information, the only info you’ll need from your phone is your IMEI number, which can be found on your iPhone under Settings -> General -> About. Take a screenshot of this page (done by holding down the Home and Power buttons simultaneously) so you can hold onto this information in case you need it later.

3. Wipe it clean

Once you have your phone backed up, unlocked, and the IMEI number saved, it’s time to disown your phone. Well, not literally, but figuratively, by removing every trace of your digital life from it. This can be done by going into your iPhone under Settings -> General ->Reset and selecting “Erase All Content and Settings.” Before this irreversible action is thrown into motion, you’ll be asked for confirmation, and you’ll also need to enter the password associated with your Apple ID (it’s the same password you use to buy apps). This is in place to make sure no one but you can erase your phone. Keep in mind that you’ll need the actual password—Touch ID is not an option in this instance.

Also, if you have “Find My iPhone” enabled on your handset, you’ll need to be sure this feature has been disabled before you erase the handset. To do that, you’ll also need to insert your password. That feature can be toggled by going to Settings -> iCloud -> Find My iPhone on your device.

In addition, you might want to give your iPhone a physical wipe-down. If you’re planning on selling it on eBay (more on that below), using a dry, static-free cloth is a great way to make sure the screen has no streaks. Also, spraying a light mist of Windex onto a cloth towel can refresh the rest of the handset, power cable, and headphones, if you’re also including those as part of your sale.

And finally, insert a paperclip into the hole on the side of your iPhone. This will eject the SIM card tray. Remove your SIM card and re-insert the empty tray. Your SIM card is still active—think of it as your key to unlocking your carrier’s network—and you do not want to give it away with your phone. You will need to insert it into your next phone to reconnect to your mobile network.

4. Find your best resale option

There are many ways to sell your phone. Finding the best one for you depends on your needs and the condition of your phone. Here are some of the most popular options:

Apple: If you’re just unloading your iPhone to upgrade to another one, Apple’s Reuse and Recycle Program might be the right option for you. The company accepts all sorts of Apple devices in a range of physical conditions via mail, and pays in Apple gift cards. For comparison’s sake, a 16GB iPhone 5s in good condition fetched $165, while one in less-than-good condition was only accepted for recycling (meaning that Apple wasn’t willing to pay anything for it).

Craigslist: The site most people turn to when they need cash fast, Craigslist has unfortunately developed a reputation as a place where scammers and fencers turn to rip people off, or even rob them. That’s a bum rap—you can get great deals on the local bulletin board website—but it’s also a harsh truth. As a result, police departments across the country have started developing safe places to consummate online deals. A quick scan of good condition iPhone asking prices on Craigslist sites across the nation averaged $285, but keep in mind that the actual sale price is probably much lower after negotiating.

eBay: If you’re willing to put the work in, you can get the most money for your gadgets through eBay. Currently, good condition iPhone 5 16GB phones are selling between $275 and $350. There are so many ins-and-outs about the site, so it’s difficult to say how to maximize your returns, but one expert tip that has proven to be very effective is using eBay’s mobile app.

Gazelle: Balancing the least amount of work with the best guaranteed cash payout, Gazelle makes selling your iPhone very easy. Just go to the website, pick out your handset, say what condition it is in, and agree to the price, ship the device to the company for free, and you get paid. Currently, the website is offering $171 for an unlocked iPhone 5s, and is guaranteeing that it will beat the trade-in credit offered by Apple or other wireless carriers (which, by the way, will also gladly buy your old handset off you, in exchange for a credit). The offer is only good until Sept. 9, when the new iPhone is expected to be announced. But if you’re late to the resale game, or just plain lazy, this may be your best option to get a good value for your digital sidearm.

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