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.

Whole Foods Cuts 1,500 Jobs

Whole Foods Market plans to cut 1,500 jobs over the next eight weeks, representing 1.6% of its workforce. The downsizing comes as the grocer strives to lower prices and invest in technology upgrades and new store models. As companies such as Kroger and Walmart enter the natural and organic foods market, Whole Foods also is striving to remain competitive in light of the market becoming more crowded.

Many of the job cuts will go through a “natural attrition” process, according to Whole Foods representatives. With approximately 2,000 open positions across the company, the grocer expects that a “significant percentage” of affected employees will take on these positions or new jobs created from the 100+ new stores in development.


PetSmart In Talks To Acquire Petco

PetSmart is in early talks to acquire Petco Holdings in a merger that could build a company that would account for 30% of pet specialty stores in the U.S., according to a report from Reuters. In 2014, PetSmart sold itself to a consortium led by investment firm BC partners for approximately $8.7 billion, ruling out an earlier deal with Petco due to potential antitrust issues.

The negotiations are not public, and neither party has commented on the merger discussions.


Merz Apothecary Succeeds With Curated Goods, New Tech

Small businesses have to build out a unique offering if they want to stand out among their retail peers. While reaching out to consumers through all channels is certainly a step in the right direction, building an exclusive product line and creating a unique selling environment can have a greater impact in the long run.

Merz Apothecary is an example of a retailer that not only has implemented this concept effectively, but has adapted to the constant evolution of the retail industry. The health and body care products retailer, which has been open for business since 1875, operates two store locations, an e-Commerce site, a mobile-optimized site and a catalog. Additionally, the company has served as an Amazon retail merchant partner since 2004.


Lakeshore Learning Materials Taps Aptos To Streamline Store Operations

LakeshoreLogoRedLakeshore Learning Materials, a developer and retailer of educational materials for children, has selected Aptos (formerly known as Epicor Retail) to help streamline and mobilize store operations and support cross-channel order management and customer engagement.

In selecting Aptos solutions, Lakeshore Learning looked to replace aging legacy systems, integrate sales channels and elevate the in-store customer experience. The retailer will leverage solutions such as Aptos Store (for Point of Sale), Aptos Enterprise Selling, Aptos CRM, Aptos Loss Prevention, and Aptos Sales Audit.


How Retailers Can Tackle Cross-Border Commerce

The proliferation of omnichannel retailing has empowered consumers to buy from their favorite brands and retailers at any time and use their preferred channels. Thanks to e-Commerce, consumers now have the ability to browse and buy from retailers around the world.

As a result, total cross-border shipping is expected to skyrocket from $80 billion in 2014 to $330 billion by 2020, according to the UPS Global Pulse Of The Online Shopper Study. In fact, global shoppers surveyed in the study said that they made 24% of their purchases with online retailers outside of their own country. These behaviors confirm that more consumers are able to access retailers regardless of location and, in turn, are eager and willing to buy from brands that are not local to them.


#RSPS15 Webinar Shows How Product Intelligence Can Boost Holiday Performance

Ugam, a retail analytics solutions provider, has announced its participation in a Retail TouchPoints (RTP) webinar, titled: Leverage Product Intelligence To Improve Category Performance This Holiday Season. The webinar, which takes place September 22 at 2 p.m., is designed to help retailers establish a strategy that leverages detailed product data to drive sales and business growth.

The webinar, which is part of RTP's Retail Strategy and Planning Series (#RSPS15), features insight from Sudhir Holla, VP of Retail at Ugam, and Sucharita Mulpuru, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester. It will show retailers them how to use product intelligence based on freely available consumer e-demand data — from search volumes to product review content and social signals — to boost merchandising conversion rates without compromising margins. Specifically, the webinar will address the following questions:


Sole Society Opens First Brick-And-Mortar Store

Sole Society, a lifestyle brand of women’s shoes, handbags and accessories has opened its first brick-and-mortar retail store in Santa Monica, Calif. The store features the brand’s full product line of footwear, handbags, jewelry, scarves and hats.

The store will provide consumers with limited-time, exclusive access to sales and products before they are available for sale online. The store's interior features a streamlined design with open concept shelving and display platforms, lounge furniture using soft textiles, and materials including stone, natural wood and matte metallic.


H&M Expands COS Brand To Four New U.S. Locations

H&M is expanding its high-end COS brand in the U.S. to a third location in Boston on September 25. The new space will offer womenswear and menswear collections within a 2,960 square foot area across two floors.

COS opened its first U.S. location in 2014 in downtown Manhattan and Los Angeles. The retailer plans to open additional U.S. stores on Fifth Avenue, Manhattan and in Costa Mesa, California by the end of 2015. Additionally, a store in Houston, Texas is planned for an undisclosed date; and two stores will open in Canada later in 2015, in Montreal and Toronto.


Rue21 Taps APT Network Planner To Improve Store Planning, Growth

Specialty apparel retailer rue21 has signed a licensing agreement with Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) to use its Network Planner software. With the Network Planner application, rue21 is positioned to better support its square footage growth strategy.

Rue21 is aiming to take a segmented approach to its real estate planning by using APT technology. With Network Planner, the retailer plans to identify the optimal locations for new stores based on demographic attributes — like whether the site is in an urban or rural area — or site characteristics such as mall type. As a result, rue21 will be able to simplify processes and have its analysts develop site-by-site sales predictions as well as possible sales cannibalization impact on stores.


Janam XG3-ER Mobile Scanner Is Fit For Rugged Retail Environments

AS JanamX ImageRetailers need their supply chain to be as efficient as possible if they want to create an exemplary customer experience across all channels. Warehousing plays a key role in supply chain management, and as such, workers involved need the right technology to do their jobs well.

Janam has released the XG3-ER, the newest addition to its XG3 series of rugged mobile computers that are built to survive challenging environments. The mobile device functions as a barcode scanner and can read 1D and 2D barcodes from up to 50 feet away. The scanner provides motion-tolerant scanning under dim lighting conditions, and can recognize damaged and obscured barcodes.


Bath & Body Works To End On-Call Scheduling By October 2015

L Brands, parent company of Victoria’s Secret, Henri Bendel and Bath & Body Works, announced that it will end on-call scheduling practices at all Bath & Body Works stores by October 2015. The decision comes five months after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a letter to L Brands and 12 other retailers challenging the legality of the scheduling practices.

On-call scheduling requires store employees to be available for shifts that may be cancelled at the last minute, leaving workers with unpredictable schedules and erratic income. New York state labor laws ensure pay equal to four hours at minimum wage for hourly workers who report for a scheduled shift, even if a manager sends them home early.


Macy’s To Close Up To 40 Stores In 2016

macys1Macy’s will close between 35 and 40 underperforming stores in early 2016 as part of its omnichannel optimization strategy. The stores that will be closed represent only 1% of the retailer’s total annual sales, or approximately $300 million. Macy’s will announce the specific locations of the store closures at a later date.

“Physical stores remain absolutely vital to our omnichannel strategy, which provides local touch points and tailored merchandise assortments for shoppers in nearly every major market,” said Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer. “As new shopping centers are opened, however, many customers change their shopping habits and often the sales volume of a store gets divided among the new and nearby, existing centers. Each year, we prune some stores that are our weakest performers so that we can concentrate our resources on the best locations and maintain a strong physical presence. At the same time, we open a small number of new stores to fill gaps in our market coverage or where we have outstanding real estate opportunities.”


Bonobos CEO Steps Down, Dunn Returns To Role

Bonobos CEO Francine Della Badia has stepped down from her position at the e-Commerce brand, nearly three months after she assumed the job in June. Della Badia will remain as an advisor to the company, according to Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Andy Dunn, who is returning as CEO.

"We've been on a fast growth trajectory and I was eager and excited to bring someone in with Fran's experience and pedigree," Dunn said in a statement. "What she and I learned in just a few months is that at this stage, we still need the founder at the helm."


Uniqlo Opens Flagship Store In Chicago

Casual fashion retailer Uniqlo will open its first store in the Midwest, a flagship location in Chicago, on October 23. The three-level, 60,000-square-foot store will employ 400 workers and will be Uniqlo’s second largest location, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Although Uniqlo has no immediate plans to add more stores in the Midwest region, potential destinations for expansion include Minneapolis, Detroit, St. Louis and Dallas, according to Larry Meyer, CEO of Uniqlo USA. The retailer has more than 1,600 stores in 16 countries worldwide, and has nearly doubled its number of U.S. stores over the past year.


Williams-Sonoma Opens Design Center In Atlanta

Williams-Sonoma has opened a new showroom and dedicated design center at Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Ga. This is the retailer’s eighth location to roll out a home showroom.

The design center offers complimentary design services, allowing customers to sift through a selection of custom fabrics, wood finish swatches and rug samples. Every Saturday, guests can attend free technique classes at a 12-seat cooking island in the center of the store. Jon Lagardere, a Williams-Sonoma culinary specialist, hosts each class.

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