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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.

European On-Demand Grocery Platform Expands to U.S.

Online grocery shoppingFinland-based Digital Foodie, an on-demand grocery platform encompassing the user experience as well as digital commerce, order management and fulfillment, has received a strategic investment from Enterworks that will fuel its expansion into the U.S. The combined company is focused on all aspects of the grocery supply chain, including serving CPG and manufacturing companies with a food-focused Product Information Management (PIM) solution.

The Digital Foodie solution, which has been deployed in more than 1,100 stores in Europe, will allow U.S. grocery retailers to more easily move into e-Commerce while still maintaining their brand and loyalty relationships with shoppers.

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Target, Walmart And Whole Foods Honored For Energy Efficiency Efforts

Retailers including Target, Walmart, Giant Tiger Stores and Whole Foods Market were presented with the Advanced Roof Top Unit (RTU) Awards during the PRSM2016 National Conference in Long Beach, Calif.

The Department of Energy (DOE) recognized six award winners, including Arby’s Restaurant Group and electricity supplier Southern California Edison, for innovative and efficient RTU management approaches that led to “significant energy savings in commercial buildings.”

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As Sports Authority Liquidates, What’s Next For Its Stores?

After a tumultuous few months that involved a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, preparations to close approximately 140 stores, then a push-back of the auction to May, Sports Authority has opted to liquidate all assets, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Robert Klyman, an attorney representing Sports Authority, first informed a U.S. bankruptcy judge of the retailer’s decision at a court hearing.

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Struggles At Sears And Kmart Signal Need For Department Stores To Downsize

Sears Holdings is closing up shop on 68 Kmart and 10 Sears stores this summer, further revealing the company’s struggles to keep its physical stores profitable.

While these expected closures don’t come as much of a surprise, they unfortunately reflect the inability of many major retailers to maintain a stable brick-and-mortar presence over the last decade. Within that time frame, traditional department store sales have been on a steady decline, dipping nearly 20% on a per-square-foot basis since 2006, according to a study from real estate research firm Green Street Advisors.

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As Aéropostale Nears Bankruptcy, Can It Learn From Competitors?

The tumultuous financial journey of Aéropostale has almost hit its breaking point, with the retailer set to file for bankruptcy as soon as this month, according to a report from Bloomberg.

With the teen retailer still exploring strategic alternatives after a rough 2015, it appears Aéropostale will seek reorganization under a Chapter 11 filing. The company is trying to work out a loan to finance its operations during the bankruptcy process. It's also possible that the retailer will either find a buyer or strike a deal to avert the filing, according to the report.

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Office Depot Taps Virtual Reality To Streamline Store Experience Testing

While it may not have been known as being particularly cutting-edge in the past, Office Depot is most certainly bringing its physical stores into the future. The retailer has adopted the ShopperMX online 3D virtual reality platform from InContext Solutions.1 office depot

In addition to the inherent cool factor, virtual simulations can reduce the time and expense involved in developing and testing new concepts and shopper experiences, such as eye-catching signage and displays. Office Depot will also be able to track the behavior of customers interacting with its VR features, providing a new stream of consumer data for analysis.

“Virtual reality will allow us the convenience and simplify the process of creating and testing concepts that resonate with shoppers,” said Stephanie Gutierrez, VP of Marketing for Office Depot, Inc. in a statement. “With ShopperMX, Office Depot is investing in virtual reality technology as a priority to continue to innovate while better anticipating customer needs.”

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Nordstrom Job Cuts Reaffirm Need To Go Digital, But Keep Focus On Brand Experience

While Nordstrom appeared to elude the department store blues prior to 2016, the luxury fashion retailer isn't out of the woods yet. As part of an initiative to cut $60 million from its 2016 budget, Nordstrom expects to eliminate between 350 and 400 jobs in Q2.

Job cuts at retail headquarters this year have become more of the norm in recent months, with Sears, Walmart, Hudson’s Bay and Macy’s all canning corporate employees.

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Sporting Goods Sector's Woes Continue As Sport Chalet Shutters All Stores

There's more bad news in the sporting goods vertical, even as Sports Authority has managed to push back the date for a planned bankruptcy auction to May. The delay request comes as rival sporting goods players Academy Sports + Outdoors, Dick’s and Modell’s have all expressed interest in purchasing the retailer’s assets.

The auction, which was initially scheduled for this month, will decide whether the retailer is sold off in pieces or as a whole to a new bidder. Sports Authority has already committed to closing approximately 140 of its 450 stores in the wake of its Chapter 11 filing.

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Loblaw Invests More Than $1 Billion As Canadian Retail Shows Strength

Loblaw Companies Limited, already a major Canadian supermarket and pharmacy operator, is setting its sights on getting even bigger. The retailer is planning on investing $1.3 billion (Canadian) into various aspects of its business in 2016, including:

  • Building approximately 50 new stores;

  • Renovating 150 existing stores;

  • Expanding e-Commerce; and

  • Increasing IT infrastructure and supply chain projects.

The investment is expected to create nearly 20,000 jobs: 5,000 through store staffing and 15,000 through construction. Choice Properties REIT, a real estate investment trust, will contribute $300 million to the project.

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Rock/Creek Unites Digital And Store-Based Customer Tracking

Rock/Creek has a lot to gain from learning about its customers — particularly their plans for outdoor adventures. The retailer's most valuable shoppers are those who are about to "graduate"— set off on a backpacking trip across Europe, hike the length of the Pacific Coast Trail or scale the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Knowing exactly when these trekkers are prepping to leave allows Rock/Creek to supply them with everything they need to enjoy the trip (and hopefully survive to return and buy more products). The total "spend" from these customers easily can reach $5,000 to $6,000 per adventure, including items like specially designed shoes, GPS-enabled watches and emergency communicators.

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Cutting Through The Clutter With LED Digital Signage

1nanolumensToday’s world is truly a digital world, and with the onslaught of social media, online purchasing and mobile apps, consumers are being bombarded by marketing messages more than ever before. It is estimated that the average consumer is bombarded with nearly 3,000 marketing messages per day! It’s no wonder that it can be difficult for any retailer to break through the clutter and communicate effectively with a customer.

And while the dawn of the digital era had many so-called experts decrying the demise of the brick-and-mortar store about a decade ago, nothing could be further from the truth. A study by A.T. Kearney finds that 90% of all retail sales occur in physical store locations, and 95% of retail sales overall go through businesses that maintain a brick-and-mortar presence.

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Symphony EYC Acquires Fifth Dimension As Retailers Revamp Store Planning

Symphony EYC, a provider of consumer insights technology, has acquired category management and store planning solutions provider Fifth Dimension for an undisclosed sum. The combined companies can provide retailers and CPG manufacturers with the ability to model the impact of their decisions on assortment, resizing of category space and the overall in-store shopping experience.

As more consumers seek to focus on the store experience in addition to the products they are buying, retailers are now under even more pressure to ensure that the store’s appearance appeals to the consumer. Additionally, wasted space in a retail store can add unnecessary costs to retailers’ budgets, as poor prioritization of products on shelves can lead to weak sales. This possibility makes shelving optimization a more vital process for retailers to take seriously going forward.

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Virtual Reality Product Testing Improves Merchandising For Baby Food Brand

Consumers faced with too many choices can easily become confused — and a confused customer is an unhappy (and unprofitable) customer. But how do retailers find that perfect balance, between ample choice and careful curation?

For organic baby food manufacturer Happy Family, consumer testing using virtual reality (VR) technology provided the actionable insights that its retail partners were seeking, delivered quickly and cost-effectively. Key benefits included:

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