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.

Goldman Sachs Leads Latest Hubba Funding Round

Hubba, an online destination for brands to showcase their wares to retailers, has secured a significant minority investment from a group led by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners. While Hubba has not released the amount of the investment, sources told the Wall Street Journal the figure is close to the $45 million Hubba was on track to raise earlier in 2016. This Series B funding follows an $11 million Series A round that closed in 2015. With a network of more than 40,000 companies, Hubba helps retail buyers discover the growing number of niche products in the marketplace. In addition, it features highly engaged influencers who partner with brands and retailers to promote products to their follower base.

Peter Sheppard Footwear Deploys End-To-End Omnichannel Suite

  • Published in News Briefs
Australian retailer Peter Sheppard Footwear is gearing up its omnichannel capabilities by deploying the Mi9 Retail suite. The retailer seeks to gain a single view of its customers across channels with the solution, using Mi9 Retail for merchandise management, store operations, customer engagement, e-Commerce and enterprise analytics.

Lingerie Retailer Brings Voice Of Customer Into Product Decisions

  • Published in News Briefs
Etam, a leading French lingerie retailer, is seeking to improve its decision-making around merchandise by bringing in the voix of the customer. The brand is partnering with First Insight, which provides Voice of Customer (VOC) data by gathering real-time consumer data and applying predictive analytic models. "First Insight should help…

Election Depresses Online Spending By $800 Million

  • Published in News Briefs
In the two weeks surrounding the U.S. presidential election, retailers lost out on more than $800 million in revenue from online sales — with the sharpest spending drop occurring in the days after November 8, 2016. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 14, total sales growth slowed to only 1.35% on…

After Lackluster Q3, Department Stores Tighten Inventory And Rethink Real Estate

As consumers continue to prefer Amazon and off-price brands, traditional department stores and big box players have struggled to keep pace in 2016. Of the four major U.S. department stores, three (Macy’s, Kohl’s and JCPenney) saw Q3 declines in both sales and comparable store sales: Macy’s sales declined 4.2%, with comparable sales dipping 2.7% and net income plummeting from $118 million to $17 million; Kohl’s saw its net sales drop 2.3%, with comparable sales declining 1.7%; and JCPenney experienced a net sales fall of 1.4%, with a 0.8% decrease in same store sales, far off expectations of a 2.7% increase. But although same store sales continue to slip for most department stores, with apparel a continuing weak point, these brands are recognizing their problem areas — including inventory management and poor sales-per-square-foot — and they are actively taking steps to fix them.

What Story Does Your Packaging Tell?

In today’s retail environment, in which consumer demands and e-Commerce volumes continue to grow, the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” just doesn’t apply. That’s because consumers care way more than you might think about packaging. In fact, nearly seven in 10 (68%) of Americans say they are more conscious of packaging design today than they were five years ago.1

American Apparel Finds Buyer, Files For Second Bankruptcy In 13 Months

American Apparel has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time in 13 months, the latest step in the retailer’s downward spiral after a failed turnaround attempt that led to the resignation of CEO Paula Schneider. The filing comes less than a week after the beleaguered brand put all 13 of its UK stores in the administration of a third-party official. American Apparel filed its first bankruptcy in October 2015 following years of revenue losses and a drawn-out legal battle with its ousted CEO Dov Charney. American Apparel then emerged from bankruptcy in February under the ownership of a group of former bondholders led by hedge fund Monarch Alternative Capital LP, with the company’s Board of Directors rejecting a $300 million buyout proposal from an investment firm backing Charney.

Kohl’s CEO Credits Slimmer Inventories For 22% Net Income Increase

While department stores continue to fight through financial struggles as fewer people walk into their stores, Kohl’s is tightening up its merchandising processes to stay in the black. During Q3, the retailer boosted net income by 21.7% to $146 million, even though quarterly sales dipped 2.3% and comparable sales declined 1.7%, a third straight drop in revenue.

Target Hauls In Walmart Exec To Enhance Supply Chain Network

Target has hired Walmart supply chain veteran Shekar Natarajan to fill the newly created role of Senior VP of Network Planning and Operational Design, effective Nov. 30. Natarajan, who most recently served as Walmart’s VP of Last Mile Operations, Emerging Sciences and Operational Excellence, will oversee the design of the company’s direct-to-store and direct-to-guest supply chain network, as well as the use of new automation and other technologies to enhance the network’s speed, accuracy and efficiency.

You'd Better Watch Out: How To Avoid Holiday Retail Risks

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time. Kids get presents; families come together; and retailers enjoy their most significant sales of the year. It seems almost criminal to dwell on everything that can go wrong this season, but unfortunately there are plenty of holiday-related risks that require special attention, including: • The influx of minimally vetted seasonal workers who could potentially steal confidential data, loosely guarded products or cash; • Higher shrink levels arising from increased shoplifting opportunities due to heavier crowds; and • Workplace injuries and/or damage to products or facilities from a combination of additional store decorations and minimally trained temporary employees.

Walmart Centralizes Data For Millions Of SKUs Into Online Catalog

Recognizing the importance of having complete, accurate, up-to-date digital content for all the products it sells, Walmart is seeking to "build a global product catalog of all the products that can be potentially transacted within the Walmart ecosystem," according to Ram Rampalli, the retailer's Global Head of Content Acquisition. "Whatever we sell, we want to make sure that all the products are represented online." Gathering product information for millions of SKUs and hosting it on represents a gigantic undertaking. For Rampalli, who in 2011 joined @WalmartLabs, the retailer's technology support and innovation lab, the challenges boiled down to: • Sourcing quality product content for so many products across thousands of suppliers; and • Organizing, standardizing, and optimizing all that data to rapidly go live on the Walmart site.

Accenture To Acquire Kurt Salmon

Update: Accenture has completed its acquisition of Kurt Salmon's retail strategy consulting business in the U.S., UK, Germany, Japan and China as of Sept. 22, 2016.    Accenture has agreed to acquire global strategy consulting firm Kurt Salmon. Through the acquisition, Accenture will be able to expand its strategic capabilities in order to deliver end-to-end consulting services to top retailers and private equity firms.

5miles Mobile Marketplace Adds In-App Payment

  • Published in News Briefs
5miles has incorporated in-app payment and shipping options into the latest version of the Marketplace platform. The 5miles Wallet allows users to save credit or debit card information to pay for items, or to be paid directly to their 5miles account. After confirming they have received an item in good…

Boosting Back-End Visibility To Improve Front-End Sales

In this exclusive Q&A with Retail TouchPoints, Zebra CMO Jeff Schmitz shares insights into how retailers are finding success by focusing on both the beginning and the end of the shopper journey. Throughout the entire shopping experience, digital and mobile advancements are playing a key role in improving long-term customer engagement, revenue and loyalty. Retail TouchPoints (RTP): We’ve been talking a lot about the First Mile and the Last Mile of retail and the importance of optimizing both in order to improve the customer experience. What do you see as some of the key strategies and technologies that need to be in place in order to optimize the end-to-end customer journey?

Macy's Commits To 100% RFID Tagging: Will Others Follow Suit?

The application of radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging within retail has been a major discussion point for industry analysts for seemingly years now. But while you could argue its role has been  overshadowed by the recent excitement around beacon technology, RFID has been making a major impact for big brands behind the scenes. In fact, Macy’s brought attention back to the technology in a big way with its decision to tag 100% of its merchandise with RFID by the end of 2017. The retailer’s decision will have an impact well beyond its own four walls: Macy’s is asking all of its product vendors to supply merchandise already fitted with passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags, based on the EPC Gen 2 standard.
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