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Store Operations

Store Operations examines the issues and challenges facing today’s store operators. From workforce management to merchandising and new store openings, this section is designed to help retailers improve the bottom line while holding the line on costs. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Pier 1 Imports Loses CFO, Gains New CIO

EVP and CFO Jeffrey N. Boyer will leave Pier 1 Imports effective Oct. 2, 2017. Boyer will transition to a new CFO role at Fossil Group, where he has been a board member since 2007. Pier 1 will use an executive search firm to help find a new CFO.

GameStop Merch VP: New Store Concept Highlights Gaming Collectibles

GameStop is testing out a new store concept with sister collectibles retailer ThinkGeek, converting approximately 200 GameStop stores into ‘50/50’ store concepts as part of its ongoing transformation efforts to expand beyond video game sales. The co-branded GameStop/ThinkGeek stores will dedicate 50% of retail space to video game merchandise and the remaining 50% to pop culture and gaming-related collectible items, such as posters, figurines, statues, toys and gadgets. As part of the remodeled experience, GameStop also is doubling the amount of wall space dedicated to its current collectibles section within an additional 1,200 store locations.

Vyze Raises $13.1 Million In VC Funding

Vyze has raised $13.1 million in venture capital financing in order to accelerate growth and fuel product innovation and expansion. The Series C round is led by Austin Ventures, with additional investment from Fathom Capital and Starvest Partners. Ken DeAngelis, General Partner at Austin Ventures, has joined the Vyze board of directors. Vyze’s cloud-based, multi-lender platform connects consumers with additional credit options at checkout. During the past year, the company has more than doubled its retail client base and forged new partnerships with lenders. The program is live in more than 2,000 stores throughout the U.S. in addition to e-Commerce sites and call centers.

Amazon Go’s Frictionless Approach Could Be Its Greatest Obstacle

Amazon projected its first Amazon Go store would open to the public some time in early 2017. But more than six months later, the pilot store remains in beta testing, with many skeptics doubting whether the technology could ever work. I’m a bit more optimistic on Amazon’s chances. In fact, I believe it will work — assuming the company addresses the major obstacles facing this revolutionary approach to retail.

Warby Parker, Net-a-Porter Founders To Judge Retail Concept Competition

Appear Here, a marketplace for pop-up shops, has announced its second Space for Ideas competition to discover the next three big retail concepts. The competition aims to provide a platform for talented entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality and will be judged by: Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder of Warby Parker; Natalie Massenet, Founder of Net-a-Porter; Nick Jones, Founder of Soho House; and Ajax Ahmed, Founder of AKQA.

Belk Invests $40M To Upgrade Store Footprint

  • Published in News Briefs
Bucking the trend among department stores to shrink their brick-and-mortar footprints, Belk will open three new stores and remodel 12 more as part of a nearly $40 million capital improvement plan. The first two new stores, in Evans, Ga. and Bowling Green, Ky., are scheduled to open in October 2017; the…
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B&M Purchases Heron Food Group To Expand Into Convenience Groceries

Discount retailer B&M has acquired convenience store chain Heron Food Group for £152 million ($201 million). As part of the purchase, B&M acquired Heron’s 251 convenience stores located in the north of England, which generate £274.4 million ($362.8 million) in annual sales, enabling B&M to roll out a large-scale convenience offering.

Branch Messenger Raises $10 Million+ To Drive Partnerships

Branch Messenger, Inc., an employee self-service platform, has raised more than $10 million in funding, including a $6.8 million Series A funding round led by March Capital Partners. Branch will use the funds to drive enterprise partnerships and expand the base of shift workers worldwide who are using its platform.

Traffic Sensors Give Habitat For Humanity Data To Maximize Stores’ Efficiency

The nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity ReStore serves as a donation center that takes in used furniture, appliances, home accessories and building materials and then sells them at a fraction of the retail price, donating all the proceeds to local Habitat for Humanity organizations. The retailer wanted to know exactly how effective its locations were in attracting customer traffic. In 2015, the company installed a beta version of the Dor traffic sensor and analytics platform in two stores before rolling the platform out to the rest of its 850 locations over the next year. The platform uses proprietary thermal sensing technology combined with machine learning algorithms to provide insights about customer foot traffic. The data gave the retailer insights into which stores needed to expand their hours and how to maximize the efficiency of volunteer staff.

AI Sharpens Promotion Planning For Earth Fare Grocery Chain

  • Published in News Briefs
At the 41-store Earth Fare chain, the food is organic and natural but the intelligence is artificial — at least when it comes to promotion planning. For the past year, the retailer has used an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solution to help its category managers determine which items to feature in weekly…
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ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Upgrades Store Solution

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has upgraded to a more recent release of the Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service with help from SkillNet Solutions. In addition to bringing the retailer in line with EMV and PCI compliance, the deployment has reduced the number of customizations required by more than 80%.
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Can Discounted Cosmetics Drive Department Store Traffic?

The cosmetics counter has been a rare bright spot in these dark days for department stores — for example, the JCPenney-Sephora partnership has been a win-win for both parties. So it makes sense that other department stores would seek ways to leverage the category’s drawing power as a way to bring foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores. But the tactic chosen by Macy’s and Bloomingdales — offering discounts on products that are rarely involved in promotional sales — is raising eyebrows. Many industry experts note that once a retailer lowers prices, even for a limited time or to a select audience, it’s difficult to push them back up to a “normal” level. Meanwhile, Sephora is not putting all its eggs in one basket. The brand is testing Sephora Studio, a small (2,000 square feet) store concept that will be located outside of mall locations. The first Studio debuted on Boston’s Newbury Street on July 21. The Studios will offer skin consultations and the Sephora Digital Makeover Guide, which captures clients’ product, application and look preferences. Product selection will be limited due to the stores’ small size, but associates will be able to use an “order in store” feature via Sephora.com.

Would A Sale Revitalize Barnes & Noble?

Activist investor Thomas Sandell, CEO of Sandell Asset Management Corp., recently urged the board of directors of Barnes & Noble to sell the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite the recent struggles of brick-and-mortar bookstores in the U.S., Sandell acknowledged the potential of Barnes & Noble as the last remaining national chain of bookstores.
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