Inventory / Merchandising / Supply Chain

Supply chain challenges are mounting for many retailers, especially those operating in multiple regions of the country and abroad. Consumers expect to be able to order and purchase products via any channel, then have them delivered to their channel of choice – and quickly! New technologies are providing the ways and means for merchants to deliver on the promise of omnichannel excellence. Now retailers must find the best ways to implement new solutions to stay competitive.

6 Tips For Tackling Inventory Distortion

After any major holiday or sale, retailers start to gain a real sense for their overstock issues as returns start pouring in. Retailers also have to take a good look at inventory distortion, a problem that has cost retailers $1.1 trillion (that’s twelve zeros) globally, and it’s expected to increase tens of billions of dollars each year. Many retail strategists will tell you the issue is not “how to sell more?” Instead, it’s “how do we sell the inventory that we already have?”

SupplyAI Releases ReturnSense To Detect And Prevent Returns

SupplyAI has released ReturnSense, an Artificial Intelligence-powered application designed to detect and prevent retail returns. Using a proprietary algorithm, ReturnSense is designed to recognize patterns in purchase behavior and predict the likelihood of return on every purchase made, sending a preventative alert to retailers and validating the purchase before the products are shipped. The platform draws insights from 1,000 data variables to make predictions.

Albertsons Promotes Denningham To President And COO

Albertsons Companies has promoted long-time executive Wayne Denningham to President and COO. Bob Miller remains chairman and CEO, titles he has held since April 2015. In this new combined role, Denningham will continue to lead store operations for the supermarket chain, with added oversight of marketing and merchandising, supply chain, manufacturing and integration. “I asked Wayne to join Albertsons LLC in 2006 to lead our Rocky Mountain Division,” said Miller in a statement. “Since that time, he’s led three different divisions, helped to negotiate and manage some of our most significant acquisitions, and successfully turned around some of our toughest assets.”

Spencer’s Gifts Upgrades Merchandising Platform

  • Published in News Briefs
Spencer’s Gifts has selected the Mi9 Merchant retail flagship merchandising platform to replace its legacy merchandising system as its “core provider of merchandising,” according to CIO Carey Lowrey. The retailer chose Mi9 Merchant for its breadth and depth of functionality in a single solution, including advanced allocation.

Lord & Taylor Launches Bobbi Brown Stores-Within-The-Store

  • Published in News Briefs
Five Lord & Taylor stores, including its New York City flagship, will house “justBOBBI” stores-within-the-store, featuring merchandise reflecting the aesthetic of cosmetics and lifestyle expert Bobbi Brown. The justBOBBI shops will include wellness and beauty products, apparel, accessories and books Brown has authored, including her latest, Beauty From The Inside…

Macy’s RFID Rollout Improves Inventory Accuracy, Display Compliance

Although RFID tagging isn’t exactly a new concept, Macy’s was one of the first retailers to make a significant commitment to the technology when it decided to tag 100% of its merchandise with RFID by the end of 2017. To prepare, the retailer asked all of its product vendors to supply merchandise already fitted with passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags. The results of the rollout have produced strong results for the department store so far, according to a survey from the Platt Retail Institute:

Outward Releases Visual Merchandising Platform

Outward has released a 3D-based visual merchandising platform designed to enable its customers to rapidly create and manage photorealistic, interactive digital experiences, covering a wide range of product categories and across all digital channels.   The platform replaces traditional photography with rapidly produced product imagery that can be highlighted from any angle, in any color or texture, in multiple environments. The Outward team can capture products on the factory floor, at a distribution center or even overseas.

McLendon Hardware Reduces Warehouse Staff 30%, Consolidates Store Deliveries

In order to compete with big box retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, McLendon Hardware needed to streamline its warehouse operations to better serve customers. The company sought to overhaul internal processes, especially during peak seasons, when McLendon is managing 30,000 or more SKUs and bin locations in its warehouse. Prior to modernizing its operations, the company relied on managing inventory via clipboards and paper-based notes to handle stock replenishment. McLendon turned to PathGuide’s Latitude Warehouse Management System (WMS) to modernize its warehouse workflow. Through the partnership, McLendon was able to: Reduce warehouse headcount by almost 30%; Improve inventory and pick accuracy; Eliminate annual inventory counts and move to 100% cycle counting; and Consolidate shipments, moving from daily store deliveries to replenishing two to three times per week. “When I compare our warehouse operations now with those of just 10 years ago, the difference is startling,” said Vice President Mike McLendon. “Our aisles were dark and narrow, and so much of our business relied on tribal knowledge. Post launch, new team member training was much easier and allowed us to have a more professional warehouse.” Modernizing Operations One Step At A Time As the first step in its quest…

7-Eleven Mexico, Miroglio And Konzum Deploy Oracle Solutions

  • Published in News Briefs
Three major international retailers, 7-Eleven Mexico, Miroglio Fashion and Croatian grocery retailer Konzum, recently selected solutions from Oracle Retail to help them better manage their brick-and-mortar stores and improve omnichannel integration. 7-Eleven Mexico, which operates 1,950 convenience stores across 15 Mexican states, has deployed Oracle Retail Merchandise Operations Management solutions…

Supervalu Acquires Unified Grocers For $375 Million

Supervalu has acquired wholesale grocery and specialty distributor Unified Grocers in a transaction valued at approximately $375 million, consisting of approximately $114 million in cash for 100% of outstanding Unified stock. As part of the deal, Supervalu will assume approximately $261 million in debt. The acquisition expands Supervalu’s wholesale distribution business to the West Coast, where the company currently operates only a single distribution center in Tacoma, Wash. Most of Supervalu’s operations are in the Midwest, East and Southeast U.S.

Are Same-Store Sales Still A Meaningful Metric?

With brick-and-mortar retailers declaring bankruptcy at an alarming pace in 2017, some industry observers have been questioning one of retail’s most commonly used measuring sticks: same-store sales. This metric, comparing sales at stores open for a given period of time (generally a year), is frequently used — some would say over-used — by Wall Street as a handy indicator of a retailer’s performance, direction and future prospects. But with shopper journeys now encompassing mobile, online, store visits and social networks, it’s not clear whether same-store sales still serve as an accurate barometer. In a Forbes article, Steve Dennis wrote that the metric’s “usefulness is rapidly fading, if not bordering on irrelevance.” He noted that while traditional retailers have been struggling to grow physical store sales in the face of “the significant and inexorable shift to online shopping,” stores themselves are still an integral part of the omnichannel experience.

Payless Catches Bankruptcy Bug: Is Retail Doomed?

It’s become a depressingly familiar headline in 2017: [RETAILER NAME HERE] Declares Bankruptcy, Closes [XX] Stores. The Payless Chapter 11 filing on April 4 makes it the 10th retailer to declare bankruptcy in 2017. That’s more than all retail bankruptcies in 2016, according to CNBC. The rash of retail peril in Q1 puts the industry on pace to match, or even exceed, the 18 retailers that went bust during the Great Recession year of 2009. Other retailers recently declaring bankruptcy include: Limited Stores, American Apparel, bcbg Max Azria, hhgregg, Gordmans, Gander Mountain and Wet Seal. Additionally, Sears Holdings executives have admitted the depth of the company’s financial problems, and many analysts are already preparing the venerable retailer’s obituary.

The Dreaded Return: Are Retailers Missing A Big Opportunity?

Haley Sayres, a San Francisco-based technology analyst, is the prototypical modern-day shopper. She researches purchases online, visits stores to check quality, and uses her mobile phone to compare prices and try to convince sales associates to price match. If an associate won’t negotiate, she’ll go elsewhere or buy online. One thing that isn’t negotiable for Sayres is the returns process. “I’ll actually buy more if I know there’s an easy and painless returns process,” she says. “Knowing that I can return something easily, whether online or in the store, gives me the confidence to make that initial big purchase.” Sayres points to her experience with online retailers Shopbop, Revolve, and Zappos: “They make it easy — and free — to make returns, so I shop with them frequently, even though they don’t have a physical store.”
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