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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.

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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Walmart Increases Employee Wages…Will Others Try To Catch Up?

Glenn head shotIn what has felt like a game of “follow the leader” over the past few months, numerous retailers such as Walmart, TJX and Target all have raised their minimum wages for entry-level employees. Walmart spearheaded the initiative in February when it announced that it would raise entry-level wages to $9/hour by April. By next February, wages will boost yet again to $10/hour.

Although not increasing hourly wages, Dollar General plans to offer employees more hours per week so they can make more money in the long run.

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Former Dell Exec Joins RadioShack As CEO

GarriquesStandard General LP, the hedge fund that purchased RadioShack out of bankruptcy on March 31, 2015, has hired former Dell executive Ron Garriques to be the retailer’s next CEO. Garriques replaces Joe Magnacca, who stepped down a day after the sale to Standard General.

The hiring is part of Standard General’s attempt to revitalize the brand, which has taken major hits over the past few years leading up to its bankruptcy filing in February 2015. In an interview with CNBC, Garriques said the chain would focus on locations in small cities with populations of 5,000 to 100,000. He noted that in these cities, there is still demand  for a neighborhood electronics store.

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All Target Canada Stores Will Close By April 12

After announcing in January 2015 that it would shutter its Canadian operations, Target has reported that all remaining stores will close by April 12. The retailer’s three local distribution centers and Mississauga headquarters have already closed.

When news of the liquidation first broke, Target Corporation Chairman and CEO said: “After a thorough review of our Canadian performance and careful consideration of the implications of all options, we were unable to find a realistic scenario that would get Target Canada to profitability until at least 2021. Personally, this was a very difficult decision, but it was the right decision for our company.”

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Best Buy Consolidates Canadian Business, Closes 66 Future Shop Stores

Best Buy announced over the weekend that it would be consolidating its Canadian business. During the process, Best Buy will plan to focus more on its name brand locations and closing some of the Future Shop locations it acquired in 2001.

Because many Best Buy and Future Shop locations are in close proximity to each other, the electronics retailer plans to shut down 66 Future Shop stores, according to Forbes. Up to 1,500 employees across the country will lose their job as a result of the consolidation. Part-time workers make up approximately 70% of this employee pool.

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83% Of Organizations Don’t Think Current IT Systems Will Meet Future Contact Center Needs

RR DimensionData ImageUp to 83% of organizations indicate that their current IT systems are not equipped to meet future business needs, especially within their contact centers. Furthermore, 33% of executives say that their current systems don’t even meet current needs, according to research from Dimension Data.

To address these challenges, organizations are exploring new solutions and are designing innovative technology frameworks. For one, they are implementing a new hybrid technology model in which legacy systems work alongside cloud-based solutions.

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Foot Locker Shuts Down Lady Foot Locker Brand

LadyFootLockerFootwear and apparel retailer Foot Locker plans to gradually phase out its Lady Foot Locker business over the next few years, the company revealed during a call with investors. Dick Johnson, CEO of Foot Locker, noted that the retailer would “manage the portfolio down” as individual store leases expired, but did not provide an official closing date for the Lady Foot Locker brand.

Foot Locker has gradually closed Lady Foot Locker locations over the past decade due to lagging performance, going from 567 locations in 2004 to 213 by the end of 2014.

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Target Raises Minimum Wage To $9 Per Hour

Target will increase the hourly wage for entry-level employees to $9 starting in April 2015, according to a report from Reuters. Although Target has not made a formal statement, this news comes shortly following both Wal-Mart Stores and TJX announcing that they would raise their minimum wages during 2015.

The wage raise will affect its approximately 1,800 Target stores nationwide. It is not clear how many of the retailer’s 347,000 employees will see a pay bump.

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Jet.com Sets Sights On Amazon As Debut Nears

Although it has not sold a single product yet, online marketplace Jet.com is aiming to become top competition for Amazon, which has strongly claimed its place as an e-Commerce leader. How exactly is the company planning to do that when others have failed so severely? By providing consumers with 10% to 15% off their online purchases, according to company founder Marc Lore.

Jet.com gained publicity after raising $220 million in numerous funding ventures, including a recent $140 million financing round led by Bain Capital. Despite not being open to the general public, the company already has a valuation of approximately $600 million.

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VisitBasis Helps Retailers Leverage Data To Improve Store Operations

SS VisitBasis ImageRetailers need visibility into their in-store environments to make more informed decisions regarding employee scheduling, merchandising, inventory management and more. Many times, retailers use field teams to visit local stores and rank the overall experience.

VisitBasis has released Retail Execution, a cloud-based mobile solution for managing, scheduling and monitoring field team activities. The solution can be used for merchandising, service audits, secret shopping, field sales and promotions. Retail Execution also can help field reps take in-store photo assessments, as well as complete surveys and price checks, among other tasks. Meanwhile, office supervisors can tap into web-based dashboards and reports to track all field activities in real time.

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Bi-Lo Empowers Associates With Axonify E-Learning

BiLoAxonifyEducating in-store associates on the store environment can enable retailers to provide a unique brand experience that differentiates from competitors and fosters customer loyalty.

Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie supermarkets, has adopted the Axonify e-Learning program to engage and mobilize employees on a daily basis. The company is still in the process of developing the platform and expects to roll out the pilot program in March 2015.

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