News Briefs

Staying on top of breaking news in the retail industry is a commitment Retail TouchPoints editors take seriously. Each day, we publish the latest information in this News Briefs section. Up-to-the-minute stories cover retail implementations, new product announcements, financial updates, executive appointments and overall global updates affecting every aspect of the retail industry.

Google Set To Launch ‘Buy’ Button For Mobile Search

googlemobileGoogle will launch a ‘buy’ button next to products listed on its search result pages, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The buttons will accompany sponsored search results, which Google displays under a “Shop on Google” heading at the top of a search results page.Buttons will not appear with the nonsponsored results driven by Google’s basic search algorithm.

Google spokespersons have not commented on the matter.


Rite Aid Introduces Wellness+ With Plenti Marketing Campaign

plenti-cardRite Aid has launched an integrated marketing campaign designed to promote its wellness+ with Plenti loyalty program. The new loyalty offering combines the Rite Aid wellness+ program with Plenti, a coalition loyalty program.

Advertising agency MARC USA created the campaign, which is designed to show how Rite Aid consumers can benefit from the collaboration. The Plenti rewards program, which is spearheaded by American Express, launched May 4 and allows consumers to earn and redeem points from AT&T, Direct Energy, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, ExxonMobil, Hulu, Macy's, Nationwide and Rite Aid.


Urban Outfitters Post Record Sales But Lags Behind Expectations

urbanoutfittersUrban Outfitters, posted record sales during Q1 2015, but it still fell short of Wall Street expectations for net income, sales and earnings per share. The retailer posted $0.25 in earnings per diluted share for the three months ended April 30, 2015, missing the $0.30 projection on sales of $757.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Same store sales for the retailer’s Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters brands increased 4%, missing analysts’ expectations of 5.3%.


Target To Roll Out RFID In All Stores

TargetstoreTarget will roll out RFID-enabled “smart labels” on price tags in an effort to improve inventory accuracy and visibility, as well as optimize in-store stock. Keri Jones, EVP of Global Supply Chain and Operations of Target, made the announcement in a company blog post.

The RFID rollout will start in a small number of stores towards the end of in 2015 and will then expand to all Target stores in 2016. The technology will be implemented across categories, including women’s, baby and kids’ apparel and home décor, according to the blog.


IKEA Opens Two ‘Pick-Up Points’ In Canada

IKEA-storeIKEA Canada will open its first two “Pick-Up-Points” in London, Ontario, and Quebec City in late 2015 as part of a global test pilot. With these new locations, consumers who have either shopped online or at a further IKEA store will be able to pick up products closer to where they live.

IKEA currently has 12 stores open across Canada, and is opening the Pick-Up-Points in markets where there are currently no locations.


Century 21 Replaces Legacy Systems With Mi9 Merchant

Century 21Century 21 Department Store has selected Mi9 Retail, a provider of enterprise retail merchandising, business intelligence and store operations software, to replace its legacy systems.

The retailer selected Mi9 Merchant as its merchandising and analytics platform in an effort to streamline business operations. As an integrated merchandising and business intelligence system, Mi9 Merchant is designed to address the high transaction processing needs of retailing and provide quality decision-making tools.


Delhaize Group And Ahold Enter Merger Discussions

ahold-delhazie-webEuropean grocery chain operators Delhaize Group and Royal Ahold NV have both confirmed that they have entered preliminary discussions to combine the two companies. No details of the potential merger, or any related discussions, have been disclosed.

“These discussions may or may not result in a future transaction,” said the companies in two identical statements. “The company will communicate material updates, if any, in accordance with regulatory requirements.”


The Children’s Place Adopts Quantum Analytics For Size And Pack

ChildrensPlaceThe Children’s Place, a specialty retailer of children’s apparel and accessories, has selected Q Analytics for Size and Pack Optimization from Quantum Retail Technology. This is the third Quantum solution the Children’s Place has scheduled to implement, including Q for Allocation and Replenishment and Q for Order Planning.

Q Analytics for Size and Pack is designed to calculate size profiles by item based on customer demand. The system then computes the optimal store pack configuration of merchandise to help align the buying quantity and pack distribution with projected store need.


Import Cargo Levels Returning To Normal After Labor Dispute

Cargo PortImport cargo at U.S. major retail container ports is returning to normal levels, and officials are preparing to count votes for the ratification of a new West Coast labor agreement, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.

The ports examined in the report handled 1.73 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in March, representing a record high and up 44.9% over the previous month and 33.1% year-over-year. One TEU equals a 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent. According to the report, recent labor disputes led to a large backlog of cargo ships waiting for unloading and discharge.


Alibaba Group Promotes Zhang To CEO, Adds Board Member

DZhangAlibaba Group has promoted COO Daniel Zhang to CEO, effective May 10, 2015. Current CEO Jonathan Lu will assist Zhang through the transition process, and will remain on Alibaba Group’s Board of Directors as Vice Chairman.

Zhang, who has served as COO since September 2013, oversaw the operations of all global Alibaba Group businesses. He has been with the company since August 2007 when he joined as the CFO of Taobao Marketplace. He also is one of the Alibaba Partnership’s founding members.


Former Coach Exec Takes The Helm At Bonobos

DellabadiaBonobos has named former Coach executive Francine Della Badia as its next CEO, effective June 1, 2015. With this move, Founder and current CEO Andy Dunn will transition to Executive Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. Dunn will remain a brand ambassador and spokesman for the company as Della Badia handles day-to-day business and manages the company’s Bonobos, AYR and Maide lines.

“After two years of thinking about this transition and five years of getting to know Fran, I am thrilled to introduce her as our next CEO,” Dunn said in a statement. “Her proven leadership capabilities and incredibly strong retail experience make her uniquely qualified for this position. For the past eight years I’ve been serving dual roles as CEO and Chairman. As the company scales rapidly, it became increasingly clear that these jobs need dedicated attention.”


Epicor Spins Off Retail Solutions Business

epicor retailEpicor Software Corporation has spun off its Retail Solutions Business into a separate privately held company under common ownership by funds advised by private equity firm Apax Partners.

The company will be referred to as “SpinCo” until the transaction is finalized, and will continue under of the leadership of Noel Goggin, EVP and General Manager of Epicor. In his position, Goggin reports directly to Epicor President and CEO Joe Cowan.

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