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.

Microsoft’s POS 2009 Rollout Provides SMBs With Advanced Functionality

Microsoft is aiming to help smaller retailers provide better customer service with Microsoft Dynamics POS 2009, which became available on Monday, August 3. POS 2009 offers a flexible, configurable user interface that can be customized to the individual employee or retail environment. By improving employee productivity, POS 2009 promises to provide a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). “If you make your people more productive, training time is less and you create a lower TCO,” notes Michael Griffiths, group product manager for the Microsoft Dynamics Retail Solutions team.

Family Dollar Fuels Sales Growth By Upgrading Merchandising Strategy

With 6,700 locations in 44 states and $7 billion in annual sales, Family Dollar hardly seems to have any issues driving sales growth. However, when the company’s frenetic sales growth slowed a bit a few years back, the company’s management quickly looked to upgrade the chain’s merchandising strategy. “When we hit a bump in 2006 and comp store sales dropped, we realized that we needed to look at delivering product in more relevant ways to consumers,” says Shari Raznick, Divisional VP, IT Solutions Delivery, Merchandising & Supply Chain, Family Dollar. “We had literally been doing business the same way for a very long time—with the buyer as king.”

Abercrombie Stresses ROI To Support Brand Strategy Through Recession, Global Expansion

 All Abercrombie & Fitch stores carry the same merchandise and sell the products at the same price. Those facts are a given at Abercrombie. Through the toughest sales periods in 2008 and 2009, the company has resisted reducing the prices of its merchandise. Even though sales have taken a hit during the past few quarters, the company stands firm in its belief that the brand image must be maintained.But even Abercrombie can’t ignore the bottom line. Speaking this week at the Oracle Crosstalk event in Orlando, FL, Kristen Blum, SVP and CIO of Abercrombie & Fitch explained the company’s strategy to reduce costs while moving forward with IT projects and international expansion.

Aeropostale Grabbing Share of Market & Mind Amid Downturn

The reversal of fortune of youth apparel brands Aeropostale and Abercrombie & Fitch is serving is unfolding as one of the most visible case studies of what is working with today’s customer. Aero has not only been posting consistent double digit gains during the recent economic downturn, while A&F has seen its sales drop at the same pace, but analysts point out that Aero appears to be gaining share of mind based on online traffic and social presence. Aeropostale continues to be the bright spot in apparel sales with steady growth. The retailer reported record May sales results, boasting a 30% increase in total net sales. In a recent sales call, the company noted strong customer reaction to its summer collection, and its merchandise margins for the month have increased over 2008.

Douglas Cosmetics Gets Customer Service Facelift With Recent POS Make Over

Focused on the nurturing the needs and wants of its customers, Westport, CT-based Douglas Cosmetics, the largest cosmetics and fragrance retailer in Europe, is familiar with the sweet smell of success. Since its inception over 35 years ago, Douglas has focused on appealing to the customer’s “heart and mind” by delivering an exceptionally high level of face-to-face customer relationship management at the point of purchase. The company trains its salespeople to be experts in every line so they can help customers find exactly what they need.

The Employee As An Extension of the Brand: Container Store Study

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire’s recent online discussions. Each business morning on, retail industry execs get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a "BrainTrust" panel of retail industry experts. In the retail industry, a 100% plus annual employee turnover is not uncommon. And, in these tough economic times, that statistic doesn't tend to be of greatest concern to operators. More likely, they're preoccupied with determining if they can get away with one less person on the floor; cutting back on training; or increasing the commission portion of the compensation.

Domino’s Delivers Cost Savings, Data Security With Install of Thin-Client POS

With customer data security and current economic concerns top-of-mind at Domino’s, the 8,200-store pizza delivery chain expedited the implementation of new thin-client POS operating platforms for its stores. While in the past Domino’s may have rolled out this type of upgrade during the course of 18 months or more, this POS upgrade went out to 550 stores in six weeks.

SaaS Dashboard Speeds Sales, Inventory Data To Apparel Merchandisers

Retailers can make quicker ordering and merchandising decisions because they are receiving sales information up to a half day sooner from Theory, a New York-based apparel manufacturer and wholesaler. Using the SkyPAD Software as a Service (SaaS) dashboard, Theory is able to more quickly and efficiently analyze sales performance at the store level.

5 Key Trends From NRF Which May Separate The “Has Beens,” The “Survivors” & “Thrivers”

Against a backdrop of Gottschalks joining the ranks of retailers to file Chapter 11 and Circuit City in the process of auctioning off its assets, the NRF Big Show definitely had more of a sober tone this year. While Gottschalks filing was not a huge surprise to many in the industry, the struggles of the chain of 58 department stores and 3 apparel stores reflected the harsh reality that in the current economic crunch retailers are quickly falling into categories of has-beens, survivors, or thrivers.

Amidst Apparel Slump, Aeropostale Flies High With Aggressive Approach

Although the recently wrapped holiday shopping season was a big disappointment for most retailers, especially in the apparel sector, Aeropostale bucked the trend by boasting a same stores sale increase of 12% for December. Total net sales for the five-week period ending January 3, 2009 increased 25% to $392.7 million, from $313.4 million for the five-week period ending January 5, 2008.

IHL Group IDs Biggest Losers When It Comes To Out-of-Stock Failures

Out-of-stocks continue to plague the retail industry as one of the biggest causes of lost revenue and customer frustration. Now a new research study from IHL Group has helped to quantify just how big the problem is for the industry and also identifies the biggest laggards when it comes to in stock positions. Consumers experienced out-of-stocks during approximately 17.8% of their shopping trips, which is about 123% higher than the out-of-stock rate claimed by retailers for themselves, according to the new report from IHL Group titled “What’s The Deal With Out-Of-Stocks?”

Case Study: Family Dollar Optimizes POS System With Embedded Apps

 While many other retailers are struggling, business is good at Family Dollar. The 6,700 store value chain is adding stores and posting increases in the 3% range. Not resting on its laurels, the company understands that competition means constant improvement to the in-store customer experience. The check out process is one of the latest areas where the chain chose to make an impact on that experience.
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