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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.

Barneys Brings iBeacons And 'Endless Aisles' To New York Flagship

Barneys New York is enhancing the in-store experience at its flagship Manhattan location with iBeacon technology and an updated personalization platform.

The luxury retailer has enlisted the RichRelevance Relevance Cloud platform to:

  • Drive the store’s editorial personalization campaigns within the store;

  • Connect consumers’ online and offline behaviors and preferences; and

  • Help sales associates better serve clients via a customer clienteling app with “endless aisle” capabilities.

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Target, Walmart And Whole Foods Honored For Energy Efficiency Efforts

Retailers including Target, Walmart, Giant Tiger Stores and Whole Foods Market were presented with the Advanced Roof Top Unit (RTU) Awards during the PRSM2016 National Conference in Long Beach, Calif.

The Department of Energy (DOE) recognized six award winners, including Arby’s Restaurant Group and electricity supplier Southern California Edison, for innovative and efficient RTU management approaches that led to “significant energy savings in commercial buildings.”

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As Sports Authority Liquidates, What’s Next For Its Stores?

After a tumultuous few months that involved a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, preparations to close approximately 140 stores, then a push-back of the auction to May, Sports Authority has opted to liquidate all assets, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Robert Klyman, an attorney representing Sports Authority, first informed a U.S. bankruptcy judge of the retailer’s decision at a court hearing.

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Target Takes The Lead In Testing Food Transparency Pricing

Target has begun testing an experimental concept in a SuperTarget store in Edina, Minn., aimed at pricing food based on the date it arrives in the store. The test is one of several the big box retailer has implemented in select stores to give consumers more transparency about the food it sells.

Researchers put up handwritten signs above strawberries and raspberries indicating when each batch arrived in the store. Customers can then decide whether they want the regular price for berries delivered that day, or buy week-old berries for $.50 less.

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Starmount Partnership Powers Omnichannel Payments

Starmount logoA new partnership between Starmount and Aurus offers retailers the ability to implement payment solutions that are capable of processing both in-store and e-Commerce transactions.

Retailers will be able to incorporate payment-as-a-service with their Starmount POS solutions, including Starmount Engage mobile POS, managing consumers' payment processes separately from their POS transaction data.

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Struggles At Sears And Kmart Signal Need For Department Stores To Downsize

Sears Holdings is closing up shop on 68 Kmart and 10 Sears stores this summer, further revealing the company’s struggles to keep its physical stores profitable.

While these expected closures don’t come as much of a surprise, they unfortunately reflect the inability of many major retailers to maintain a stable brick-and-mortar presence over the last decade. Within that time frame, traditional department store sales have been on a steady decline, dipping nearly 20% on a per-square-foot basis since 2006, according to a study from real estate research firm Green Street Advisors.

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As Aéropostale Nears Bankruptcy, Can It Learn From Competitors?

The tumultuous financial journey of Aéropostale has almost hit its breaking point, with the retailer set to file for bankruptcy as soon as this month, according to a report from Bloomberg.

With the teen retailer still exploring strategic alternatives after a rough 2015, it appears Aéropostale will seek reorganization under a Chapter 11 filing. The company is trying to work out a loan to finance its operations during the bankruptcy process. It's also possible that the retailer will either find a buyer or strike a deal to avert the filing, according to the report.

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Office Depot Taps Virtual Reality To Streamline Store Experience Testing

While it may not have been known as being particularly cutting-edge in the past, Office Depot is most certainly bringing its physical stores into the future. The retailer has adopted the ShopperMX online 3D virtual reality platform from InContext Solutions.1 office depot

In addition to the inherent cool factor, virtual simulations can reduce the time and expense involved in developing and testing new concepts and shopper experiences, such as eye-catching signage and displays. Office Depot will also be able to track the behavior of customers interacting with its VR features, providing a new stream of consumer data for analysis.

“Virtual reality will allow us the convenience and simplify the process of creating and testing concepts that resonate with shoppers,” said Stephanie Gutierrez, VP of Marketing for Office Depot, Inc. in a statement. “With ShopperMX, Office Depot is investing in virtual reality technology as a priority to continue to innovate while better anticipating customer needs.”

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Analytics Solutions Help Retailers Tame IoT Data Torrent

With retailers expected to spend an estimated $2.5 billion on IoT hardware and installation costs by 2020, there will be no shortage of demand for software that makes use of data collected through in-store devices, sensors and beacons.

SAS Analytics for IoT is designed to enable organizations to accumulate, interpret and make decisions based on collected data. The solution suite is built to help businesses improve safety, reduce injuries and/or enhance product quality, all of which can potentially translate into healthier profits. Retailers in particular have opportunities to predict maintenance needs, personalize offers on the spot and trigger actions that deliver bottom-line business value.

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Nordstrom Job Cuts Reaffirm Need To Go Digital, But Keep Focus On Brand Experience

While Nordstrom appeared to elude the department store blues prior to 2016, the luxury fashion retailer isn't out of the woods yet. As part of an initiative to cut $60 million from its 2016 budget, Nordstrom expects to eliminate between 350 and 400 jobs in Q2.

Job cuts at retail headquarters this year have become more of the norm in recent months, with Sears, Walmart, Hudson’s Bay and Macy’s all canning corporate employees.

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Flipp Raises $61 Million For Mobile-Accessible Circulars

Furthering the idea that print marketing is on the decline, Flipp, which enables consumers to use their smartphones to access digital circulars, has raised $61 million from General Atlantic.1 flippCollage

The company serves more than 800 retailers, including Walmart, Kroger, Macy’s, Lowe’s and Dollar General, with a reach of 50 million shoppers every week.

“In North America alone, $15 billion worth of flyers are being produced,” says Wehuns Tan, CEO and Co-Founder of Flipp. The company aims to replace expensive physical flyers with cheaper and more trackable digital versions that include more features for shoppers. Flipp cited a Nielsen study, which reports that as many as 84% of shoppers said they still checked a print circular each week.

Tan says the cash injection will help Flipp pull in more users as the company focuses on international expansion, joining what he estimates to be a $40 billion worldwide circular market.

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