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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.

Sales Down, But Sales Per Shopper Up For Physical Stores

instoretrafficThe spring season has been one of mixed emotions for brick-and-mortar retailers. Merchants boosted year-over-year average transaction value (ATV) and sales per shopper (SPS), but lost sales and traffic numbers in March and April 2015.

In the two month span, sales and traffic rates respectively fell 5.2% and 9.4%, according to the Retail Performance Pulse from RetailNext. At the same time, ATV jumped 2.5%, SPS leapt 4.7% and conversion rates increased 0.7%.

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Bezos Selects First Woman To Take On “Shadow” Advisor Role

mariarenzAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos has named Maria Renz, CEO of Quidsi, as his newest technical advisor — or
“shadow,” as the position is often referred — according to a report from Re/code. Renz, an Amazon veteran who first joined the company in 1999, is the first woman to hold this position.

The position, which Bezos created more than a decade ago, serves as his sounding board on key decisions, sits with him during daily meetings and confers with him to close most workdays. It has been described as the most coveted job at Amazon, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Shadows usually last approximately two years in their role, according to Business Insider. Bezos got the idea to implement the technical advisor position from venture capitalist John Doerr.

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Zappos Pays Up To Support Holacracy Vision

Alicia head shotThe greatest part of my job at Retail TouchPoints is the ability to learn more about the brands I love and admire.

Over the years, Zappos has inched its way to the top of my “most loved” list. Prior to joining the retail world, I admired the company because it provided a great selection of products and designers at a reasonable price. As time went on, I came to appreciate the eTailer’s focus on great customer service and hassle-free delivery, returns and exchanges. But most recently, I’ve come to admire the company’s CEO Tony Hsieh for his ongoing focus on finding and retaining the best employees to drive his business forward.

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Ascena Retail Group Buys Ann Taylor Parent Company

Ascena Retail Group, parent company of Lane Bryant, Dressbarn and Maurices brands, has acquired ANN Inc., owner of the LOFT and Ann Taylor clothing store chains, for approximately $2.15 billion. With the acquisition, ANN Inc. holds an enterprise value of approximately $2 billion. The combined company will have 4,930 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Ascena is offering ANN shareholders $47 per share, including $37.34 in cash and 0.68 of a share of Ascena common stock, for each ANN share, according to the company in a press statement. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the second half of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

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Epicor Spins Off Retail Solutions Business

epicor retailEpicor Software Corporation has spun off its Retail Solutions Business into a separate privately held company under common ownership by funds advised by private equity firm Apax Partners.

The company will be referred to as “SpinCo” until the transaction is finalized, and will continue under of the leadership of Noel Goggin, EVP and General Manager of Epicor. In his position, Goggin reports directly to Epicor President and CEO Joe Cowan.

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Ron Johnson’s New Venture Officially Launches

ronjohnsonRon Johnson, known for his stints as CEO of J.C. Penney and SVP of Retail Operations at Apple, has officially unveiled his new venture, the e-Commerce startup ENJOY. The company labels itself as a “personal commerce platform” and offers 60 technology products, including home electronics, tablets and laptops, an electronic longboard and a series of bikes.

ENJOY currently is available in the San Francisco Bay Area — where the company is headquartered — and will expand to the New York City area on May 13.

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Coach Completes Stuart Weitzman Acquisition

Coach, Inc., has completed its acquisition of Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC, a designer and manufacturer of women’s luxury footwear. Coach purchased the brand from private equity firm Sycamore Partners in an effort to accelerate its global position in the premium handbags and accessories market. 

At the closing, Coach paid $530 million in cash, and will potentially pay an additional $44 million if the brand meets selected revenue targets over the next three years.

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Walmart Shakes Up Executive Team

WalmartWal-Mart Stores is shaking up its executive team in an effort to tighten up the organizational structure, according to an internal announcement from Walmart U.S. President and CEO Greg Foran and COO Judith McKenna.

Mike Moore, who served as EVP of the Neighborhood Market division of 613 smaller format stores, has been promoted to EVP of the much larger U.S. Supercenter division, which is comprised of more than 3,400 locations. Walmart West EVP Julie Murphy will assume Moore’s prior position.

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Starbucks Opens Express Store In New York City

StarbucksStarbucks has opened its first express store at 14 Wall Street in Manhattan, across from the New York Stock Exchange. The new store concept is designed to provide quick service for on-the-go consumers, with Starbucks executives referring to it as the “espresso shot” version of a typical store.

As customers enter the 538-square-foot store, they see a digital menu board displayed on four low-glare monitors. A set of menu options tailored to New York customers rotates on the screens. This display also serves as a form of art at night with glowing images of coffee farms shining through the front window.

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Goodwill Introduces RARE Boutique Catered To Trendy Consumers

Branching off from the typical brand experience can be a big risk for retailers, especially if their primary experience is already successful and well known.

Goodwill of Orange County managed to build out one of its thrift shops into a trendy outlet for frugal shoppers by opening its newest community concept store, RARE by Goodwill, in Anaheim, Calif. The boutique styled store, which opened in December 2014, provides the 90-year-old organization with opportunities to evolve and keep pace with the changing consumer climate.

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NoMoreRack Rebrands As Choxi

Online discount retailer Nomorerack has rebranded as Choxi and, in turn, has unveiled a new color scheme and e-Commerce site. The rebranding reflects the retailer’s commitment to providing consumers with an enjoyable shopping experience and bargains on merchandise, according to a company statement.

Visual marketing and brand communications firm BrandEquity spearheaded the rebranding, helping the retailer create its new name and logo. The name Choxi is derived from “chock full” and “choice,” and was crafted to represent the site’s extensive product selection. The “OX” in the logo, depicted in a different font, is designed to symbolize the love consumers have for great deals, according to Steven Smith, Creative Director at BrandEquity.

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SiteZeus Captures $2.2 Million In Series A Funding

SiteZeusSiteZeus, a provider of site selection technology, has secured $2.2 million in Series A funding from Chris Sullivan, who is a partner at Bloomin’ Brands and Co-Founder of Outback Steakhouse. Baldwin Beach Capital also participated in the round. 

To date, SiteZeus has raised $2.65 million, and plans to use this funding to expand its team and overall market presence in 2015.

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Versa Capital Finalizes Wet Seal Acquisition

wetsealVersa Capital Management has finalized its acquisition of fast fashion retailer Wet Seal. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the transaction on April 1, 2015.

Wet Seal will maintain its headquarters in Foothill Ranch, Calif., and continue operating its 173 stores and e-Commerce site. Crystal Financial LLC, an affiliate of Versa Capital, will provide a $15 million senior credit facility to support the retailer’s operations.

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Store Openings Highlight Q4 Financial Results

Retail sales are predicted to increase 4.1% in 2015, indicating that the industry as a whole is set to have a big year financially, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). This prediction comes on the heels of a promising holiday season, which saw many retailers end the year with a successful Q4.

Naturally, many successful retailers look to expand their presence to a wider audience as they increase profitability. Some of these merchants opened new brick-and-mortar locations in Q4; and retailers such as Dollar General, Family Dollar and H&M plan to open hundreds of new locations in 2015.

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Target Appoints Dament To Revamp Its Food Business

annetarget1Target has appointed Anne Dament to the role of SVP of Merchandising. In this role, Dament will lead the strategic repositioning of Target’s food business by introducing new assortments and merchandising strategies, including meal solutions and grab-and-go options.

The hiring of Dament comes as the retailer continues its shift to make healthier food options simpler and more attainable based on consumer insights.

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