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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.

Beauty Retailer Boots UK Deploys IBM Analytics-Powered Mobile Sales App

  • Published in News Briefs
Boots UK, a pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer that is part of the Walgreens-Boots Alliance, has partnered with IBM to deploy a new app for sales associates. The company is the first retailer to offer IBM’s analytics-powered Sales Assist app, which is designed to help turn every salesperson into a personal shopper for in-store customers. The service is available in more than 2,300 stores. The app uses beacon technology to locate and identify shoppers on the store floor, look up online inventory and suggest products based on previous purchases. Using deep analytics combined with customer data, it can provide real-time product and location information straight to the associate’s mobile device.

Macy's CEO Resignation: Planned Succession Or Response To Recent Results? Featured

  • Published in News Briefs
After 13 years at the helm of Macy's Inc., CEO Terry Lundgren will hand the reins over to Jeff Gennette in the first quarter of 2017. Lundgren will continue as Executive Chairman and will work side-by-side with Gennette, who will take the titles of President and CEO of the iconic department store retailer. While Lundgren's resignation is being framed as part of a long-term succession plan, Macy's (along with other department stores) has had its share of struggles recently as it faces fierce competition from Amazon and a long-term shift in consumer buying behaviors. In Q1, Macy's same-store sales dipped 6.1%, the fifth quarter in a row this figure has declined.

Who Will Buy Neiman Marcus? Featured

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire's recent online discussions. Each business morning on RetailWire, retail industry executives get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a panel of retail industry experts. Neiman Marcus, known for selling the most luxurious and memorable of luxury goods, is putting something else up for sale: itself. The retailer is reportedly seeking a buyer or an investor, since soft sales have made it tough for the department store to pay down debt totaling $5 billion. Neiman Marcus' most recent quarterly results, for the period ending April 30, 2016, revealed a 5% decline in comp store sales compared to the same quarter the previous year. The decline in net revenues was even sharper, dropping from $19.8 million in Q3 2015 to $3.8 million this year. The chain, which was acquired in a leveraged buyout by Ares Management LP…

Online Activewear Retailer Selects RetailNext For Planned Stores

RBX Active, currently an online-only activewear brand, has plans to stretch into brick-and-mortar retailing by opening stores across the U.S. As its first step, RBX has signed a multi-year contract with RetailNext for in-store analytics services. "Integrating RetailNext into our new store locations allows us to test concepts and layouts, similar to what can be done with our online store, in the interest of delivering true inspiration to our community of passionate, active customers," said Adam Hanan, Director of Retail at RBX Active in a statement.

Potential Modell’s, Sports Direct Bid For 200 Sports Authority Stores: Home Run Or Error?

Modell’s Sporting Goods and UK-based Sports Direct are in talks for a potential joint deal to buy as many as 200 Sports Authority stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, liquidating all of its 450 stores. Since the bankruptcy filing, there has been speculation around what would happen to Sports Authority’s remaining locations before they officially close, with sporting goods players Dick’s, Academy Sports + Goods and Modell’s all being identified as potential buyers.

Labor Issues At Walmart And Macy’s Reveal Need To Value Employees

Much of the commentary about retail’s Q1 financial results focused on the underperformance of brick-and-mortar stores, particularly department stores, and their struggle to match consumer demands. But recent events at two leading retailers spotlight the vital roles played by store employees in affecting a brand's performance. With Walmart shifting back-office employees into store positions and Macy’s narrowly avoiding an employee strike in New York, industry players must recognize their employees’ value to the organization and identify ways that they can improve the retailer’s experiences, and vice versa.

Three Reasons The Video Camera Is The Most Important Tool For Small Businesses

Did you know that businesses are four times more likely to be burglarized than homes? Often, would-be burglars believe businesses are easier targets. Beyond potential intrusions, small businesses face other day-to-day challenges such as liability and managing an efficient and trustworthy workforce. One of a business owner’s most critical tools against these issues is a video system. And while small business security is one of video’s primary functions, businesses can also use their camera systems to maximize other critical areas — from cost savings to employee management.

Fully Committed: A One-Man Customer Service Nightmare

The hip-hop musical Hamilton, with its enormous and diverse cast, nabbed all the top prizes at the Tony Awards Sunday night. But a play featuring just one extremely talented actor, Fully Committed, is actually more relevant to retailers. And tickets cost a lot less than the hundreds (or thousands) they are charging for Hamilton seats. Fully Committed is an object lesson in how lack of respect for those on the front lines of a customer-facing organization can easily cascade into wretched customer service. It’s a reminder that first impressions are as important in retailing as they are everywhere else.

Aéropostale Catches Second Wind With Lender Financing Approval

Aéropostale has received final approval from a U.S. bankruptcy court to procure $160 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from Crystal Financial LLC. With the financing, the retailer expects to begin a restructuring process and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy during Q3 2016. Aéropostale filed for bankruptcy in May 2016, becoming the latest teen retailer to experience the pitfalls that come with decreasing sales and store traffic. While the retailer will close 113 U.S. stores and all of its 41 Canada locations as part of its reorganization, the liquidation does bring a new opportunity for the brand to cater to Gen Z consumers.

MCX Pulls The Plug On CurrentC Payments App

Despite its initial backing by retail powerhouses including Walmart, Target and Best Buy, the CurrentC mobile payments platform has run out of juice. A beta test in Columbus, Ohio will end on June 28. Launched by the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) in 2014 amid high hopes of providing an alternative to the major credit card companies, the CurrentC app never gained traction with consumers. In fact, the app hardly had a chance to test the market. One problem was that the various MCX members slowed development by seeking to load the app with multiple features, such as retailer-specific loyalty programs, according to Fortune.

Dillard's, Levi Strauss Honored For Inventory And E-Commerce Innovations

The information standards organization GS1 US honored four retailers for innovations that promoted greater inventory accuracy, supply chain visibility and sustainability. The winners of the 2016 GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Retail Industry Achievement Awards were recognized during the GS1 Connect Event on May 31 in Washington, D.C. They include:

Staples CEO Exit Highlights M&A Risks Featured

Staples Chairman and CEO Ron Sargent has agreed to step down from his position on June 14, just weeks after a federal court judge shot down the retailer’s planned bid to acquire rival Office Depot for $6.3 billion. The failed merger further highlights the risks major retail players take when looking to bolster their brand through acquisitions. The financial cost was steep: Staples now must pay Office Depot a $250 million termination fee.

Consumer Spending Reaches Seven-Year High, But Where’s The Money Going?

National consumer spending posted its largest one-month jump since 2009, with personal spending totals increasing 1.0% in April, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The jump aligns with the Department’s earlier disclosure, that the retail sector also increased sales by 1.3% during this period. However, these positive results clash with the disappointing Q1 filings of many of retail’s household names, suggesting that while shoppers are spending, they’re just not doing so in traditional outlets.

How To Choose A Training Solution For Your Retail Organization

You know that much of your retail success lies in the hands of your associates. You also know effective education is the key to providing a superior customer experience. Many retailers have implemented Learning Management System (LMS) solutions to deliver online training courses, believing they would improve the ease and effectiveness of their associate education. Unfortunately, these systems haven’t helped. Associates aren’t learning more, let alone retaining the information they need to know to do their jobs well. And because that knowledge isn’t ingrained, they can’t apply it in their roles. The result is often inadequate customer service, which not only hurts the retail brand, but the company’s bottom line.

73% Of North American Retailers Worry About New Product Forecast Accuracy Featured

The constant shifting of both old and new products throughout the supply chain can make planning and execution quite unpredictable for retailers. Case in point: as many as 73% of North American retailers are concerned about forecasting for new products, well above the average rate of concern among global retailers (58%), according to research from Martec International and RELEX. Since most new products are developed and launched in the U.S., this merchandise overload and uncertainty may cause greater problems for North American retailers than those in other markets where there is typically a lower proportion of new products in an assortment.
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