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.

Q3 Financial Report: Weak Performance By Macy's, Nordstrom, JCPenney Spotlights Sector's Challenges

Although the recent Thanksgiving weekend festivities have certainly given a boost in both revenue and traffic to major department stores, it probably won't be sufficient to reverse shrinking sales and Wall Street's bearishness. Q3 earnings reports and stock prices from Macy’s, Nordstrom and JCPenney all indicate that these retailers are not hitting the expectations set for them at the beginning of the year. In fact, these three retailers are expected to only grow revenue 1.2% in Q4, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital.

With these leading department store retailers all showing disappointing results, there are now questions as to whether the sector as a whole is faltering. In comparison to department store earnings, discount stores in the S&P 1500 are expected to grow 10%, while apparel retailers and computer/electronics retailers are expected to grow 3.8% and 2.3% on average, respectively.


Will Small Business Saturday 2015 Surpass Last Year's Bonanza?

With all the hype for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already kicking off the holiday season, it’s easy for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) to get lost in the shuffle of the promotional chaos. However, the recent advent of Small Business Saturday has given these retailers a promotional platform of their own.

Consumers spent a reported $14.3 billion purchasing gifts at independent retail stores on Small Business Saturday in 2014, according to American Express. The credit card provider initially launched the concept of Small Business Saturday in 2010 to encourage consumers to spend money at their local businesses, instead of doing their typical shopping at major retailers.


Hardware Chain Streamlines Task Management To Eliminate Tedious Processes

RocklerWoodworkingStoreThe 31-store Rockler Woodworking and Hardware chain faced similar communication, task execution tracking and reporting challenges as many larger retailers. Rockler's headquarters used multiple emails, often with multi-page pdf documents attached, to communicate with stores about everything from promotions and product launches to seasonal campaigns.

This blizzard of messages caused a number of issues, including:


Brick-And-Mortar Retailers Should Add Unique Experiences To Shopping Trips

Glenn head shotWhile “omnichannel” has continued be a major buzzword permeating retailers' strategies as they strive to reach the consumer through every channel, there appears to be a new focus for forward-thinking merchants: the experience.

This “experiential” form of commerce focuses less on the actual products sold; instead it is designed to bring consumers into the retail store while also letting them know that they’re not just entering a "store". While these new store environments are positioned to help retailers stand out from their competition, they also differentiate the store from the online site.


Black Friday To Regain Top Spot As Busiest In-Store Day Of 2015 Holiday Season

Knowing which days during the holiday season will attract the biggest crowds helps retailers allocate labor and other store resources more effectively. This year, Black Friday, Nov. 27, is anticipated to be the top sales day and the busiest traffic day for brick-and-mortar stores during the 2015 holiday season, according to research from ShopperTrak.

This prediction is attributed to the rise of the price-conscious shopper who is motivated by sales and exhibits a growing tendency toward shopping earlier. In addition, Hanukkah begins 10 days earlier in 2015 than it did in 2014, and so is expected to generate November sales at the expense of December.


JCPenney And Kohl’s Offer Top Black Friday Deals

Consumers looking for a deal this upcoming Black Friday should head over to JCPenney, according to research from WalletHub. 2015’s Best & Worst Retailers for Black Friday Deals reveals that JCPenney has the highest overall discount rate, at 68%. Kohl’s (67%), Stage (64%), Groupon (64%) and Belk (60%) rounded out the top five retail discount rates.

The overall average discount retailers are offering on Black Friday is 40%. Consumers should aim for this level, or an even greater discount, in order to avoid Black Friday traps. Retailers to avoid for Black Friday deals include Costco (20%), Sam’s Club (25%), Amazon (26%), Big Lots (27%) and Walgreens (29%).


UK Home Improvement Retailer Upgrades Omnichannel Customer Experience

Wickes StoreWickes, a 256-store UK home improvement retailer, will upgrade both in-store and omnichannel customer interactions with a chainwide implementation of the OneView Commerce platform to take place during the first half of 2016.

The retailer, part of the Travis Perkins Group, is the first of its 19 brands to deploy the OneView Digital Store Platform, and is doing so with a full in-store POS and cross-channel implementation.


Urban Outfitters Acquires Vetri Pizza Chain

Urban Outfitters has acquired the Vetri Family group of restaurants, including Pizzeria Vetri, in an effort to expand both the retailer’s and eatery’s brands. Financial terms for the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Chef Marc Vetri, who co-founded and co-headed the Vetri Family group of restaurants with business partner Jeff Benjamin, referred to the partnership as “a perfect match.”


Apple To Build Fully Solar-Powered Store In Singapore

Apple will open its first retail store in Singapore — a store that will be powered solely by solar energy, according to Reuters. To power this store, Apple has partnered with solar energy developer Sunseap Group, which will supply the tech giant with energy generated by solar panels on the rooftops of more than 800 buildings in Singapore.

Under the partnership, Apple can power all of its Singapore operations with renewable energy, making it the first company in Singapore to do so.


Target To Open Smaller Format Store In Manhattan

In an extension of its continued focus on smaller format stores, Target is taking its new format to Manhattan. Located on 255 Greenwich Street in Tribeca, the 45,000-square-foot, two-level store is expected to open in October 2016.

Target already operates one store in Manhattan, a traditional format store in Harlem. The company is opening a smaller format store in Brooklyn in July 2016.


57% Of Holiday Shoppers Are Already Buying In Early November

1holidaynrfMore than half (56.6%) of consumers celebrating the holidays already have started shopping by early November, up from 54.4% last year, according to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The NRF Consumer Holiday Spending Survey indicated that this year's total represents a 16% increase over 2008, when less than half (49%) had begun shopping this early in the season. This year's percentage is the highest recorded since NRF began tracking this data.


Macy’s Stock Falls 15% Amid Poor Q3 Showing

Macy’s stock fell as much as 15% on Nov. 11 after reporting a 5.2% sales decline to $5.87 billion in Q3. The sales total trailed the $6.1 billion projections from Wall Street analysts, and marked the biggest decline since Q2 2010. To date, Macy’s stock has lost 43.54% of its value since its 2015 peak on July 17.

As a result of the sales decline, the retailer changed its outlook for the 2015 fiscal year. Macy’s now expects 2015 comparable stores sales to dip approximately 1.8% to 2.2%, a drastic change from the initial guidance that indicated that comparable sales would remain flat.


Select Best Buy Locations Unveil ROBO 3D Printing Kiosks

Best Buy has introduced the ROBO 3D printing endcap display in select locations. ROBO 3D partnered with kiosk manufacturer Frank Mayer and Associates to design the endcap display.

The display showcases the personal 3D printer as well as several examples of 3D printed objects, and provides education about the 3D printing process via interactive video. The printer and related filament products are included below the display, available for purchase.


Gracious Home Adds Two New Creative Team Members

Gracious Home, a New York-based luxury home décor retailer, has expanded its creative team with the appointments of China Young as Creative Director and Carianne Hynes as Divisional Merchandise Manager. Both executives will report directly to company CEO Dottie Mattison.

As Creative Director, Young will be responsible for overseeing Gracious Home’s creative vision. He most recently served as Creative Director of the company he founded, Dubbel Design Studio, where he acquired, rebranded and reestablished 1970s accessories label Dubbel Duffel.


Six Tips For Omnichannel Success

Carol Leaman AxonifyWhether you call it omnichannel or multi-channel retailing, today’s retailers recognize the need to offer a fully integrated customer experience that is consistent across all touch points. In fact, 95% of retailers have either defined their retail strategy as omnichannel or are working towards an omnichannel approach.

But, while retailers provide a variety of touch points — such as bricks and mortar, mobile, kiosks, call centers and web sites — many consumers still prefer to shop at physical stores and are more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate. In fact, retailers have identified that knowledgeable associates are one of the most important factors in a great overall shopping experience.

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