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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.

Whole Foods May Triple Current Store Count To 1,200

WholeFoodsNo one could accuse Whole Foods of being timid about its growth prospects. The supermarket chain foresees operating 1,200 stores in the U.S. by 2021, which would be nearly three times its current store count of 436. Projected growth of the retailer's 365 by Whole Foods Market concept stores could push the total even higher than the 1,200 mark.

Whole Foods' optimistic projections come at a time when traditional supermarkets are consolidating and non-grocery retailers are making a strong bid for the consumer's food dollar. In Supermarket News'2016 Top 75 listing of grocery's biggest players, four of the top 10 were non-traditional formats: two big-box discounters, Walmart and Target, and two drugstores, CVS Health and Walgreens.

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When Gearing Up For Valentine’s Day, Don’t Fall In Love With Stereotypes

As retailers prepare for Valentine’s Day this week, they should be sure to monitor purchasing trends before basing potential sales off of stereotypes.

For instance, 88% of male gift givers think it’s important for a Valentine’s Day present to be sentimental, which is actually a higher rate than female givers (75%), according to customer analysis platform provider Vennli. Further debunking the day’s stereotypes, male gift givers are 22% more likely to prioritize romantic gifts, whereas female gift givers are 17% more likely to emphasize practicality.

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3.1% Retail Growth Projections For 2016 Align With 2015 Results: NRF

Coming off a disappointing 2015 holiday season, the retail industry could benefit from a pick-me-up for the coming year ahead. However, for the time being, it appears retailers can expect more of the same.

Annual retail sales are expected to rise 3.1% in 2016, according to forecasts from the National Retail Federation (NRF). The sales growth projection would match NRF's preliminary reports of 3.1% industry growth in 2015.

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Sears Stores Closings Shed Further Light On Physical Stores' Struggles

Sears is the next in a line of big name brand retailers shuttering brick-and-mortar stores in 2016, after what the retailer described as a “challenging” holiday season. The department store, which is desperately attempting to turn around its business, will accelerate the closing of approximately 50 unprofitable Sears and Kmart stores within the next few months, according to a company statement.

The anticipated store closures represent yet another step Sears has taken to downsize its physical presence. The amount of operating Sears department stores has dipped from 868 in 2011 to 708 as of now, while Kmart is down to 950 locations from 1,309 just five years ago.

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Murdoch’s Taps Kibo To Optimize Omnichannel Fulfillment

1murdochsMurdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply is implementing the Kibo order management platform, with an eye on improving its inventory fulfillment capabilities across stores and its new e-Commerce site. Murdoch’s is a Western supply retailer operating 27 stores in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska.

“As we considered the best platform to power our omnichannel initiatives, we found Kibo’s Cloud-based solution would provide us with the most flexibility to grow with the changing demands of consumers,” said Troy Barker, Director of e-Commerce, Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply, in a statement. “The results since the launch have exceeded our expectations.  By partnering with Kibo, we are able to offer more purchasing options, which will be a great experience for our customers.”

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Outmoded Scheduling Tools Result In Short-Staffed Retailers

1RR WorkJam ImageAlmost half (46%) of retailers say they are frequently or sometimes understaffed, according to research from WorkJam. Of the merchants who are understaffed, 53% say the situation compromised their customer experience.

Other top consequences of being understaffed include:

  • Increased overtime (45%);

  • Decreased staff morale (30%);

  • Inability to meet sales targets (27%); and

  • Inability to meet store compliance goals (25%).

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Shop Direct Uses Social Proof To Increase Conversions 2.7%

Data-driven ad and marketing platform Jivox has partnered with Taggstar to provide its e-Commerce customers with more personalized ad campaigns. The partnership will allow Jivox e-Commerce customers to use the Taggstar Social Proof Engine to pull real-time data on popular products and trends, based on shoppers’ online browsing history.

Social proof is defined as outside reinforcement for one’s actions.  In the e-Commerce world, social proof may include product reviews, customer ratings, top-trending items and product scarcity.

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Party City And Staples Celebrate E-Commerce Fulfillment Deal

1PartyCityParty City Holdco Inc., the 900-store vertical operator of the Party City and Halloween City integrated party goods chains, will expand its e-Commerce presence through a fulfillment partnership with office supplier Staples Inc. Products manufactured and sourced by Party City will be merchandised and sold on staples.com.

Party City will utilize its partycity.com facility in Naperville, IL to provide “white label”fulfillment for items from its product portfolio that are displayed on e-Commerce web sites operated by Staples.

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Retail’s Hail Mary: Last Minute Super Bowl Scores!

As companies gear up for Super Bowl 50, some wise retailers are teaming up with delivery services to get their products into customers’ hands before, during and after the big game.

1dickssportsDICK’s Sporting Goods has joined with Uber’s UberRUSH to provide displaced fans with the chance to be part of their team’s championship celebration following Sunday’s game. Fans won't have to wait to wear apparel that proclaims their team this year's winner.

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Target And CVS Vs. Walgreens And Rite Aid: Drugstore Wars Heat Up

Target has begun converting its in-store pharmacies and health clinics to CVS/pharmacy centers and MinuteClinics, furthering the pharmacy’s footprint expansion, which will total approximately 20% more store locations.

The first pharmacy-within-a-store conversion took place in a Target store in Charlotte, N.C. The companywide process is expected to take place over the next six to eight months, all stemming from CVS Health’s acquisition of all of Target’s 1,672 pharmacies and 70 clinics for approximately $1.9 billion in December 2015.

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Digital Receipt Solution Expands Communications ‘Real Estate’

1starcloudStar Cloud Services, a subsidiary of receipt printer manufacturer Star Micronics, has launched Receipt Flip, a two-sided, color digital option for SMBs. This new capability, which is free to Star Cloud Services’ customers, is designed to give retailers the ability to display content such as terms and conditions, store policies and promotions on the back of the receipt.

Other digital receipt solutions require customers to take a photo of only the front of the receipt, resulting in missed opportunities for marketing and loss prevention departments. Email receipts require the customer to give up their email address, which is something they are not always eager to do.

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Amazon To Open Hundreds Of Bookstores?

amazon-logo

Just when we thought bookstores were passé, Amazon is planning to open hundreds, according to reports from the CEO of General Growth Properties, Inc., one of America’s largest shopping mall operators. The retail giant could be planning to open between 300 and 400 locations across the U.S.

These would not be Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar bookstores. The company opened one in Seattle in November 2015, but with a non-traditional setup. Books were not priced; instead customers scanned them with an Amazon app on their phone, though prices in the store were the same as online. Each title also featured an average star-based rating system and was displayed with covers facing customers instead of spines out. 

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Will The Third Time Be The Charm For Circuit City?

After four years in limbo, Circuit City is making a comeback. In June 2016, the electronics brand is expected to open its first store in the Dallas metropolitan area, as well as relaunch CircuitCity.com, according to Twice.

Circuit City initially filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and closed its last store in 2009, but tried to resurrect the brand by operating exclusively online. That endeavor didn’t pan out, and the brand officially folded in 2012.

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