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.

Holiday Sales Struggles Again Plague Department Stores

Although the NRF reported that overall holiday retail sales increased 4% in 2016, traditional retailers, predictably, did not share equally in the bounty. While Amazon posted a 55% profit increase earlier this month, department stores such as Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom and JCPenney are still struggling to boost quarterly results. In Q4: Macy’s posted its eighth straight quarterly comparable sales drop at 2.1%, with total net sales slipping 4% to $8.5 billion. Additionally, the brand saw year-over-year income decrease from $544 million to $475 million; Kohl’s saw comparable sales dip 2.2%, along with a sales decline of 3% to $6.2 billion. Net income slid 15%, to $252 million; Nordstrom had a better half than Macy’s and Kohl’s, increasing net sales 2.4% to $4.2 billion and showing a less impactful comparable sales dip at 0.9%.Net income for the quarter came in at $201 million, up 11.7% year-over-year; and JCPenney saw 0.7% decline in comparable stores and a 0.9% decrease in net sales to $3.96 billion, but generated a $192 million profit, its first since 2010. The retailer also is closing up to 140 stores in the next few months.

Tapping Community To Connect Digital Strategies

Kelly Stickel launched Remodista to focus on retail disruption. By using Community as a business model, Remodista is working to “build, foster and create a trusted environment where we attract like-minded individuals thinking through disruption and innovation. Through collaborative research and analysis, we think through the business challenges looking at the future of retail.” Stickel and a panel of retail leaders will share their insights on Community and Commerce during the Retail Innovation Conference, May 9-10 in New York City. This Q&A provides a preview of this compelling session:

Sycamore Partners Snaps Up Limited Stores' Assets For $26.75 Million

  • Published in News Briefs
Retail-focused private equity firm Sycamore Partners has made the winning bid for The Limited Stores' brand name and e-Commerce business. Both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal quote sources familiar with the matter, although neither the retailer nor Sycamore Partners has confirmed the sale or the reported $26.75 million purchase…

Moosejaw, Home Depot Among Top Customer Service Leaders

They sell different products but they have one thing in common: excellent customer service. Based on the 20th annual Mystery Shopping Study conducted during Q4 2016, Astound Commerce identified these retailers, listed in alphabetical order, as customer service leaders: • B&H • Gap • L.L. Bean • Lancôme • Moosejaw • The Home Depot • Zappos B&H, Home Depot and Zappos were repeat winners from the 2015 survey. Moosejaw was acquired by Walmart earlier this month.

Inkling Releases Mobile Store Ops App

Inkling has launched a store operations app to enable retail managers to digitize paper-based procedures and processes. The app is designed to modernize store operations processes for mobile-ready use, uphold brand standards and provide operational consistency.

Winning The Last Mile: Controlling Costs While Satisfying Consumers

The "last mile" of retail — fulfillment, delivery, returns and post-purchase services — has become the latest competitive arena for winning sales and customer loyalty. If retailers fail to meet customer expectations with a delivery or product installation, it's highly unlikely that shoppers will give them a second chance. But while retailers are competing for customer loyalty, they are faced with rising costs around deliveries as well as returns, another critical element of the last mile. And passing these costs along to customers is not an option. Today’s consumers expect free or low-cost shipping.

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…
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