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.

TXT Hires New SVP To Lead U.S. Expansion

TXT-GroupTXT e-solutions, a provider of retail planning solutions for luxury, fashion and consumer sectors, has appointed Jean-Philippe Vorsanger as the company’s new SVP and COO of North American operations. In his new role, Vorsanger will help TXT e-solutions expand the business nationwide.

With more than 20 years of experience in the retail, technology and supply chain industries, Vorsanger will be responsible for growing market presence in the U.S., generating opportunities within the existing customer base and continuing to secure successful relationships with clients. He also will manage operations, including management of the consulting, professional services and customer support teams.


UNIQLO “Selfless Selfie Project” Inspires Holiday Giving

Apparel retailer UNIQLO is focused on creating cheer this holiday season. To celebrate its ongoing expansion across the U.S., the retailer has launched the UNIQLO Selfless Selfie Project, an interactive global campaign created to inspire good deeds during the holidays. 

Consumers are encouraged to take a selfie that promotes giving back. For example, they can publish images of themselves working with their local community or sharing a pledge about a friend or family member. Participants can upload their images to social media using the #3DSelfie hash tag. A full-body 3D replica of their image in UNIQLO holiday clothing will then be created.


Johnny Rockets Unveils New Restaurant Design Concepts

JohnnyRocketsInternational restaurant chain Johnny Rockets has unveiled four new restaurant prototypes to boost brand awareness and overall sales. The drive-thru, drive-in, food truck and pop-up concepts are expected to debut as early as Q4 2014 as part of the company’s Route 66 concept.

The Route 66 concept was established to allow guests to order from Johnny Rockets while they are in their car or watching a drive-in movie. The drive-thru prototype, which will be the primary focus for Johnny Rockets, will be placed in high-volume, regional plazas located off major freeways and highways.


Amazon Introduces #AmazonWishList For Twitter

amazon-wish-listWith the holiday season kicking off soon, Amazon has developed a new way for customers to add items to their Amazon wish lists.  

Consumers can now update their wish lists on Twitter using the hash tag #AmazonWishList. When shoppers find tweets from brands and friends that include a product links, they can reply with the hashtag and immediately have the product added to their wish list.


Simon Introduces Investment Competition For Retail Startups

Retail real estate company Simon has unveiled Simon Launch — a new competition to discover, invest in and accelerate startups within the retail industry. Simon will invest in competition winners through its new venture capital arm, called Simon Venture Group. The contest was established in partnership with Plug and Play, a global investor firm specializing in tech startups. 

“New technologies and the growth of omnichannel retailing are creating exciting opportunities for innovation,” said J. Skyler Fernandes, Managing Director of Simon Venture Group. “It is important for us to identify and work with companies that will help drive the evolution of the retail industry.”


The Old Spaghetti Factory Boosts Transactions With Localized Marketing

The Old Spaghetti FactoryLooking to capitalize on localized marketing, The Old Spaghetti Factory conducted a campaign with MomentFeed, a digital marketing platform designed to connect brands and consumers at a local level. The campaign targeted Facebook fans and friends of fans at 19 restaurant locations and used MomentFeed’s newly launched Campaigns solution.

“It's easy to assume that localized marketing would be impactful, but until now it's been hard to execute at scale, let alone prove,” said Ryan Durrett, Director of Marketing at Old Spaghetti Factory. “The campaign provided us with a clear picture of the return on our Facebook ad spend — including a significant increase in real customer transactions in our restaurants. It demonstrated the impact a Facebook ad campaign can have when you provide a relevant, local call to action to the communities you serve.”


PAR Technology Corporation Acquires Brink Software

PARTech BrinkPAR Technology Corporation, a technology solutions provider for the hospitality industry, has acquired POS software provider Brink Software for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is designed to build a business that has the ability to develop, deploy and service cloud technology solutions for restaurants, according to a company press release. The two companies have been strategic partners since 2011.

This expansion will allow PAR to “leverage [its] existing infrastructure and enhance [its] recurring revenue streams,” according to Ronald J. Casciano, the company’s CEO and President.


Alibaba Set To Become Third Most Valuable Internet Company

Chinese e-Commerce giant Alibaba began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BABA,” opening at $92.70 per share at 11:53 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. 

Alibaba carried the largest initial public offering (IPO) to date, pricing shares at $68 each on Thursday. The company can potentially raise as much as $24.3 billion if the company’s underwriters exercise an option to sell additional shares.


56 Million Payment Cards Compromised In Home Depot Breach

UPDATE: The Home Depot has reported that 56 million credit and debit cards may have been compromised in a data breach that extended over a period of five months. The attack has been spotlighted as the largest data breach to hit a retailer. In fact, the breach is significantly larger and more severe than the one Target experienced, which impacted 40 million credit and debit cards during the 2013 holiday season. 

The cybercriminals used custom-build malware to evade detection, the Home Deport reported in an announcement. Prior to eliminating the malware, the retailer put all impacted terminals out of service. The malware has since been eliminated from U.S. and Canadian networks. 

As a result of the breach, the Home Depot is in the midst of rolling out a major payment security project that will provide enhanced encryption of payment data by scrambling card information to make it unreadable. The implementation will be completed by early 2015. 

Retail TouchPoints' original coverage of the news is below. 


Butcher And The Burger Implements Mobile POS To Improve Customer Service

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 2.12.14 PMButcher and the Burger, a Chicago-based “build your own burger” restaurant, has seen success since rolling out a mobile POS solution that includes Infinite Peripherals, Inc. (IPC) hardware and Digital Dining software.

Upon implementing the IPC Infinea Tab 2 device for iPad 2 and DD Mobile Digital Dining software, Butcher and the Burger has cut line times in half, improved customer service and established more efficient and organized reporting processes.


Sears Expands Curbside Returns

Sears Curbside ReturnsSears expanded the Shop Your Way mobile app to allow curbside returns and exchanges via its In-Vehicle Pickup service. Launched earlier this year, the Shop Your Way mobile app provides access to reviews, product comparisons and pricing information. The app also offers coupons and personalized offers to shoppers located in or near a Sears or Kmart store.

To use the new service, members must first visit, click on the customer service link and choose “Returns & Exchanges.” Customers are asked to identify the item they wish to return and, if desired, select a replacement. They are notified via email once the replacement is ready for pickup. To finalize the transaction, shoppers park in designated In-Vehicle spots, notify the store of their arrival via the Shop'In feature in the Shop Your Way app and wait approximtely five minutes for a Sears employee to complete the return or exchange.


Build-A-Bear Appoints Todorovic As CFO

Todorovic2Build-A-Bear Workshop has appointed Voin Todorovic as the company’s new CFO, effective Sept. 15, 2014. In this role, Todorovic will be responsible for global finance, accounting, tax, capital management and investor relations.

Todorovic succeeds Tina Klocke as CFO of Build-A-Bear, and will report to Sharon John, the company’s CEO. Klocke will remain the COO of Build-A-Bear until Q1 2015.


Macy’s Invests In New Omnichannel Strategies

Macy’s, Inc. has unveiled new developments in its omnichannel strategies and technology investments as the retailer focuses on innovatively engaging and serving customers. Implementations at both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores include Apple Pay, shopBeacon, same-day delivery and smart fitting rooms.

Among the series of initiatives is Apple Pay, which will be implemented in all Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores. The new payment offering, which will be available via iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus mobile devices, is expected to help simplify the payment process for shoppers. In addition, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s both have introduced new mobile wallets, which are designed to allow shoppers to easily store and access coupons and offers for the Macy’s Star Rewards and Bloomingale’s Loyallist programs. The wallets will be included in both mobile apps beginning November 2014.


RadioShack Reports Soft Q2 Amidst Bankruptcy Fears

RadioShackRadioShack reported declining sales in Q2 2014 and an operating loss of $119.4 million — more than double the prior year. The electronics chain reported total net sales and operating revenues of $673.8 million, compared to$861.4 million last year. The company also reported a 20% decline in comparable store sales, driven, by traffic declines and soft performance in its mobility business.

The results prompted industry analysts to predict the retailer could be close to bankruptcy, prompting some to offer predictions even before the retailer released its Q2 results. Wedbush Securities, for example, lowered its target stock price for RadioShack to $0 on Sept. 9.

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