Stores Weekly
First Edition

There’s no stopping Five Below. The trend-savvy, tween-and-teen retailer, which relies on its 600 bricks-and-mortar stores for the vast majority of sales, ranked 17th on STORES Hot 100 Retailers for 2017, posting 20 percent sales growth last year with worldwide sales of $1 billion.

Bound to cell phones, computers, tablets and televisions, consumers today are enmeshed in a world where their minds are active but their bodies are not. Escape room chain 5 Wits saw this as an opportunity — the name refers to a Medieval concept that describes the role wit, fantasy, imagination, escapism and memory play in the inner lives of mankind.

Upscale destination shopping has added a variety of elements to encourage consumers to “stay and play.” Most recently, those shoppers are giving more than just their wallets a workout: Free group fitness classes offer community, tie-ins and promotions with on-site retailers, and an infusion of fun into the shopping experience.

Nothing spurs the need for updated systems faster than rapid growth, something Big 5 Sporting Goods knows well: The company opened 85 stores in five years and filed for an initial public offering in 2002. The company realized it needed to examine all software aspects of its business in depth, from store operations to IT constructions.

   
Philips Lighting Co.
      
Apex Supply Chain Technologies
   

An increasingly competitive business world forces companies to continually innovate and improve. So, although the credit card and loyalty program at department store Boscov’s was “a good program, we felt we needed to take it to the next level,” says Toni Miller, senior executive vice president, chief administrative officer and chief financial officer.

Retailers using the COSY system can deploy a robot to keep tabs on inventory in stores. The robot learns the store’s layout as it goes, allowing for a number of future uses; the robot can check everything from out-of-stocks to aisle compliance and planograms.

Making data actionable — organizing, interpreting and acting on it — has proven to be a daunting task for retailers. DSW has been using Profitect’s SaaS platform since 2014 to extract data from myriad sources and transform it into clearly stated presriptives; the retailer has seen improvements in loss prevention as well as inventory control and merchandise planning.

STORES' annual Retail Industry Buying Guide, the retail industry's definitive buying guide, is now available! Take a look at the digital edition of this annual directory, designed to help retailers of all sizes and in all channels find the applications they need to run a successful enterprise.

Radial
Complimentary Customized Benchmark Report and Ranking
How do you rank against the killer of retail? Take a quick survey at NRF booth 4235 to see how you stack up against Amazon in the areas of fulfillment, shipping and customer care. You’ll receive a customized report that shows how you rank and areas for improvement.
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Trends

New research from Boston Retail Partners shows that 51 percent of retailers now offer some form of same-day delivery, up from 16 percent the previous year; 65 percent will offer it within two years, the survey says.

Zachys is attempting to change the way consumers buy wine; it incorporates a wine tasting experience and auction, all in a warehouse in an industrial part of Washington, D.C. Half the space is used to store wines for sale; another area has private store for collections.

Social media has a new superstar: a chatbot developed by the Microsoft Application and Services Group East Asia has millions of fans.


The digital edition of STORES includes must-read pieces, including the articles featured here. Read the current issue and browse the archives for issues you may have missed.

   
CAYAN
      
Glory Global Solutions, Inc.
   
NRF News

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership helps connect retailers with qualified job-seekers. On this week’s episode of NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast, CEO Karin Norington-Reaves — a member of the NRF Foundation’s The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future — chats with the team about the importance of workforce development initiatives. Norington-Reaves also discusses her organization’s success with the Foundation’s RISE Up program.

Overall November retail sales increased 6 percent over 2016, while online sales grew 10.5 percent, according to NRF. November’s results indicate that holiday sales are on track to meet NRF’s forecast.

Island Pacific
Island Pacific SmartSuite
Island Pacific SmartSuite is available as an integrated system, or as a series of feature-rich, modules. All modules work together, ensuring data integrity and a single view of information across all of your channels. . The solution is available on premise or via Island Pacific Cloud and has been implemented by over 600 global brands worldwide.
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Well-being and workplace performance are directly connected. At NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, now CEO of Thrive Global, will discuss how investing in employees’ health can help increase their productivity.

   
Convey
      
Axis Communications Inc.
   
Retail Deals

KWI has announced the acquisition of ecommerce company Best Retail. The acquisition positions KWI as a leader in unified commerce, empowering brands to create a seamless shopping experience for consumers between online and bricks-and-mortar stores. With KWI technology, an in-store associate can quickly access a customer’s shopping history and personalize their in-store experience based on previous purchases and items left in the cart.

 

T3, the Austin-based innovation agency, has been selected by Sprinkles Cupcakes to assist in modernizing the bakery’s digital experience (including online ordering), making it easier, faster and more fun for dessert fans to interact with and experience the brand. A major focus of this effort is the integration of a new online ordering program on Olo and a loyalty platform.

 

Financeit, a point-of-sale financing provider, announced the closing of an investment round by Goldman Sachs, an existing shareholder. This investment positions Goldman Sachs as majority owner and broadens Financeit’s service offering, through the acquisition of Centah Inc., a global SaaS company with extensive workflow and lead management solutions serving the home improvement Industry.

 

ezCater, the only nationwide marketplace for business catering, announced a partnership with P.F. Chang’s, the full-service Asian restaurant industry leader, adding all 212 of its U.S. locations to ezCater’s online platform.

 

AT&T is kicking off its largest 5G fixed wireless trial with Magnolia in Waco, Texas, at the Silos. This is AT&T’s largest trial in terms of mobile traffic, and it also marks the largest 5G trial with a home and lifestyle brand. The 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) system will distribute connections throughout the location of the Silos via Wi-Fi. Visitors and employees at the Silos will be some of the first to experience this trial service simply by logging onto Wi-Fi through their mobile devices.

 

Payments processor TSYS announced plans to acquire Cayan, advancing its position as a provider for small and medium-sized businesses, including the PF and ISV markets.

 

MetTel, a leading communications carrier, and Carlo’s Bakery of the hit TV show “Cake Boss” on TLC, announced the debut of MetTel Wi-Fi Analytics, designed to elevate the customer experience by bringing fast, online insights and convenience to the high-end retailer’s 21 locations across the U.S. and Brazil. The new solution, which includes Purple WiFi, will provide Carlo’s Bakery with a deeper view of customer preferences as it eyes a major expansion in the U.S. and Europe to follow.

Opterus Inc.
Where There’s Mystery, There’s Margin!
More than ever the burden of improving revenue, reducing organizational costs, boosting efficiency and therefore becoming more cost effective is the responsibility of the retail operations team. With limited resources and money, Operations need to find better ways of doing business to increase productivity, improve communications, and implement corporate directives across the entire retail environment.
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