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.

Lidl To Open 20 U.S. Stores In Summer 2017

  • Published in News Briefs
One week after its CEO resigned due to strategic differences, Lidl announced it will be opening its first 20 U.S. supermarkets in Summer 2017 — putting American grocers on notice. The German no-frills grocery chain is ahead of schedule, originally planning to open its first batch of U.S. stores no…

Can Gap's Virtual Dressing Room App Reduce Returns?

Return rates as high as 30% to 40% have been a long-standing challenge for online apparel retailers. Gap's new DressingRoom app, which uses augmented reality (AR) to help shoppers see how its clothes will fit before they place an order, takes aim at the problem. Shoppers enter their height and weight into the app and select one of five body types, which displays a virtual 3D model to show how different items will fit. If shoppers see something they like, they can buy it from within the app.

Sunglass Hut Localizes In-Store Experience

  • Published in News Briefs
Sunglass Hut has enabled stores across Australia and New Zealand to localize and personalize merchandising, with the goal of creating shopping experiences that feel custom-tailored for each location. The retailer, which operates more than 2,700 locations worldwide, has implemented the One Door Merchandising Cloud application. The solution combines product and…

With $187 Billion At Stake, Don’t Neglect Employee Productivity Investments

If retailers aren’t already investing in employee productivity, they should start now. They could collectively be missing out on as much as $187 billion, according to research from Cisco. Just 6% of retailers’ investment priorities are focused on employee productivity use cases, such as checkout optimization, remote mobile experts, smart lockers, interactive kiosks and next-generation workers — despite the fact that Cisco estimates that these use cases deliver the greatest ROI for retailers.

Lidl CEO Steps Down

In the midst of an aggressive expansion in the U.S., Lidl has announced the sudden departure of CEO Sven Seidel due to differences over strategy, according to multiple reports. The German grocery retailer has promoted Dane Jesper Hojer to the role, making him the second CEO in just three years.

Retail 2025: AI And Digital Natives Will Rule

As futuristic as the year 2025 sounds, it is now less than eight years away. Will time travel, flying cars and summer vacations to Mars be in the cards? Probably not, but drone delivery, chatbots and an AI-driven retail industry are near certainties. And the people driving these changes, the "digital native" generations, are quite open to disrupting, if not destroying, old retail practices. Sure, McKinsey predicts brick-and-mortar stores will still account for approximately 85% of U.S. retail sales in 2025, but will the shopper journey be the same as it is today? Not a chance. Two sessions at the 2017 NRF Big Show explored the exciting, and at times worrisome, not-too-distant future of retail. For those who are ready to greet the future’s potential triumphs and challenges, read on. For those who still believe the old school model of retail might be coming back, this is your chance to grab an old catalog and dream of days gone by.  The Upside To Being A Disruptor Let’s start off with some good news: by 2020, 30% of web browsing won't require a screen interface, (thanks to AI/natural language recognition-driven personal assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Siri), and cars will be…

12 Restaurant Brands Choose Cloud-Based Loyalty Platform

  • Published in News Briefs
What do restaurants including Smashburger, El Pollo Loco, Pieology and Veggie Grill all have in common? They are part of the dozen brands that selected Punchh, a cloud-based technology platform that builds engagement, loyalty and customized experiences in the restaurant industry, during Q4 2016. “Basic loyalty programs no longer work,”…

The Four C’s Of Avoiding The Holiday Hangover

Dependable, competent seasonal employees are essential to business success. Any retail human resources department will tell you that qualified, reliable temporary workers who can reinforce peak seasonal needs lead to consistent bottom line growth. And being able to pull from a dedicated stable of personnel year in and year out makes for smooth transitions and fewer problems associated with hiring and training issues. So how does retention work for seasonal positions that are, by definition, temporary? The solution lies in thinking year-round in your treatment of these positions. A long-term strategy of commitment with specific retention goals in mind is a must-have, so that temporary staff are kept in focus not just when they’re employed, but also during the off season. Your retention plan should focus on employee relations, competitive compensation and an open door for issues that arise. You should also focus on the end of their term of employment as well, with a positive exit experience and a plan to keep in communication with valued staff you’d like to see return in the future.

Ralph Lauren CEO Larsson Steps Down

2017 may be barely a month old, but retail CEO departures already have been shaking up the industry. Now, Ralph Lauren CEO Stefan Larsson has announced he will be stepping down from his position in May 2017. His departure was a mutual decision between Larsson and Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Ralph Lauren, attributed to conflicting views. Larsson was appointed CEO in October 2015 after Lauren stepped down. He joined the company after serving as Global President of Old Navy. 

The Millennial Worker: Strategies To Train And Retain

Millennials passed Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1980) to become the largest share of the American labor force in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. Now that this group makes up more than 34% of the workforce, Millennials are influencing many retail business strategies, including employee and shopper engagement. One of the key differentiators between Millennials and previous generations is their job tenure. As many as 60% of Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) leave a current job in less than three years, according to a survey from Grovo. Given that retail chronically suffers from higher turnover rates compared to other industries, this number is likely to be even higher for retailers.

Why Did Lose Its Footing?

  • Published in News Briefs
Canadian e-Commerce retailer abruptly shut down all three of its online brands —, and — as well as its Toronto-based brick-and-mortar store on Jan. 27. The company has been vague about the circumstances of the closings, providing no prior warning. A limited group of employees will…

Office Depot Taps Former Lenovo EVP Gerry P. Smith As CEO

Office Depot has appointed Gerry P. Smith as CEO. Smith will succeed current CEO Roland Smith (no relation), who announced his retirement in August 2016. In his new role, Smith will focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences and driving innovation and growth in products and services. It’s been a bumpy ride for the office supply retailer, as Office Depot has been struggling to stay afloat amidst lackluster sales, store closing plans and a failed merger with rival Staples. The retailer plans to conduct a large executive reorganization to align with its three-year strategic plan in an effort to cut annual costs. Recently, Office Depot announced that it will sell its European business to The Aurelius Group.
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