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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.

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.

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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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Target Tests New Dining Concepts In 14 Stores

4target cafeTarget will roll out new dining concepts in 14 test stores starting in October 2015, according to a report from USA Today.

The big box retailer will open fast-casual chain Freshii in nine stores, while Pizza Hut will open restaurants in three stores featuring a limited menu of artisan pizzas. Two stores in Minneapolis, Minn., will roll out a local Italian restaurant chain, D’Amico & Sons.

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Sherwin-Williams Launches In-Store Color Selection System

Sherwin-Williams, a specialty retailer of painting supplies, has introduced ColorSnap, a new color system designed to help consumers and professionals select appropriate paint colors. The ColorSnap experience includes an in-store display, enhanced online and offline tools, and a collection of new paint colors.

ColorSnap starts rolling out this month and will be available in all 4,000 Sherwin-Williams stores across the U.S. and Canada by the end of January 2016. To develop the in-store display and simplify the color-selection process, Sherwin-Williams collaborated with IDEO, a design and innovation consultancy.

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Sephora Makes Strides Towards The Store Of The Future

Over the past few years, Sephora has implemented a variety of innovative technologies in stores that make the shopping experience more compelling. Now, the cosmetics retailer is moving towards a new store of the future concept designed to make the brick-and-mortar store more relevant for shoppers.

“Components of our store of the future outlet include enhanced digital signage, as well as dynamic in-store and in-mall promotional items,” explained Peter Chow, Lead IT Project Manager for Sephora. “We’re leveraging the data we have on our customers and providing them with an enhanced shopping experience.”

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Ahold Unveils Small Format ‘Bfresh’ Store

bfreshAhold has unveiled a new store in Boston under the brand bfresh, which is expected to open in the near future, according to Supermarket News. Fresh Formats LLC, a division of Ahold that built the Everything Fresh grocery store in Philadelphia in December 2014, developed the store concept.

The bfresh store was initially developed as a solution for neighborhood shoppers — particularly younger shoppers — frustrated by compromises they need to make regarding grocery quality, price and overall shopping convenience.

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Private Equity Firm Buys Belk For $2.7 Billion In Cash

As part of a definitive agreement, private equity firm Sycamore Partners will acquire family-owned department store Belk for $2.7 billion in cash. As part of the deal, Belk shareholders will receive $68 per share in cash for each share of Belk common stock they own.

The merger is subject to certain customary conditions, including the receipt of regulatory and stockholder approval, and is expected to be finalized in Q4 2015. The Belk Board of Directors unanimously approved the transaction.

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Tyco Retail Solutions Opens New Walmart Retail Experience Center

Tyco Retail Solutions has developed a new Retail Experience Center for Walmart. The showroom and simulated retail environment is designed to offer Walmart executives access to resources and capabilities aligned with the retailer’s global footprint. Located in Bentonville, Ark., the Retail Experience Center is the first facility Tyco has built exclusively for one client.

At the Experience Center, Walmart business leaders have the opportunity to engage with Tyco subject matter experts and explore technology related to store operations, omnichannel retailing and the customer experience.

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88% Of U.S. Consumers Want A Faster Checkout Experience

AR Digimarc ImageThe overwhelming majority (88%) of U.S. adults want their in-store checkout experience to be faster, according to a study from Harris Poll and Digimarc.

Further supporting this point, half of shoppers cited slow checkout speeds and long lines as their top two grievances. Consumers also desire more human interaction at the checkout, evidenced by the 61% of consumers who agree that clerks focus most on scanning items and less on finding out if shoppers are satisfied. At least 30% actually say they feel like a burden to the clerk and other customers when they have a full cart.

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Abercrombie & Fitch Builds New Leadership Team

Abercrombie & Fitch has assembled a new brand leadership team as part of its initiative to restructure the company’s overall management. The new team includes six new positions, reflecting the company’s strategy to organize executives by brand, rather than by product.

“We have put a talented team in place who are relentlessly focused on delivering quality merchandise and an excellent customer experience,” Angelides said in a statement. “While our turnaround continues to be a work in progress, these changes will significantly contribute to moving the A&F brand forward.”

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Target Makes More Executive Changes

Target has promoted CFO John Mulligan to the newly created role of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Mulligan will oversee stores, the supply chain and properties. Cathy Smith, EVP and CFO of pharmacy benefit management organization Express Scripts, has been selected to replace Mulligan as EVP and CFO of Target. Both appointments are effective Sept. 1, 2015.

Mulligan and Smith will report to Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell. Mulligan will serve as an advisor to Smith during her transition into the company and her new role.

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Haggen To Close 27 Stores Following Aggressive Expansion

West Coast grocery chain Haggen will shutter or sell 27 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Most of the stores being closed or sold were acquired when the supermarket purchased 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores, bringing the company’s scale from 18 to 164 locations.

All 27 stores will continue to operate as they go through closing process, which will take approximately two months. Additional stores will be sold or closed in the future as part of Haggen’s “right-sizing strategy,” according to a company statement.

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Is Fast Fashion Moving Too Fast?

Alicia head shotEver since I was a little girl, I have been a fan and follower of fashion. Why? Because I think it’s an effective way for people to convey their personality without saying a word. By wearing a specific color, silhouette or style, I can reveal what I’m thinking and feeling in that moment.

But over the past few years, there has been a significant shift in how a lot of consumers see fashion. Instead of being a representation of themselves and their lifestyles, it's merely a way for them to keep pace with the latest runway and celebrity trends. Hence the growth of fast fashion retailers such as Forever 21, H&M and Zara.

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Improving The Customer Experience And The Bottom Line In The Store Of The Future

AVP site only Wincor-Nixdorf head shotHow well do you know and communicate with your customers? Are you ready to harness technology to treat customers as individuals rather than campaigns?

Modern technology is already starting to develop the store of the future. With new software and personal secure smart devices, stores can provide better, timelier offers, and a more personalized shopping experience tailored to each customer’s habits. It’s time to reconsider how we use technology to attract people to the store and how to keep them there once they’ve arrived.

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Abercrombie & Fitch To End On-Call Scheduling By End Of 2015

Abercrombie & Fitch will no longer use on-call scheduling — a practice that requires workers to be available for shifts that may be cancelled at the last minute — by the end of 2015, according to a letter the retailer sent to the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

In April 2015, Schneiderman launched a probe into 13 major retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, after his office received reports of potential state labor law violations. Typically, workers whose shifts are canceled don't receive pay. However, New York state law ensures at least four hours pay at minimum wage for hourly workers who report for a scheduled shift, even if managers send them home early.

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