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Industry News - June 12th, 2009



Men's Wearhouse Bids $67 Million for Filene's Basement

Men's Wearhouse affiliate is the winning bidder after Friday's bankruptcy auction for assets of off-price chain Filene's Basement. The affiliate, K&G Acquisition Corp., offered a total of $67.0 million that will cover the purchase of 17 to 20 of Filene's store leases; inventory from all 25 existing locations; leases for the company's headquarters and distribution center, as well as the Filene's Basement trade name.

Men's Wearhouse competed in the auction against an affiliate of New York-based developer Crown Acquisitions, as well as a group consisting of off-price retailer Syms and Vornado Realty Trust. Under a previously announced 'stalking horse' bid, Crown had agreed to purchase the trade name and leases for 17 stores, but not the inventories, for approximately $22.0 million.

Stores that will not be acquired are expected to be closed by mid-June, with employees in those locations receiving all assistance outlined under their employment agreements with Filene's. Because Men's Wearhouse had agreed to acquire all inventories, no liquidation sales are planned.

Men's Wearhouse is expected to retain most employees in the store and corporate facilities it is acquiring. The company is also expected to honor Filene's Basement gift cards or merchandise credits.


Market Basket Deploys Advanced Pricing Software

Market Basket Foods Stores, operators of 30 full-service grocery stores throughout East Texas and Louisiana, selects the Revionics Advanced Pricing Solution (RAPS) to drive more consumer-centric pricing and promotions. The RAPS solution will be deployed as an augmentation to the Retalix HQ offering, already installed at Market Basket.

Using RAPS, Market Basket can calibrate prices on every item, every week, without leaving money on the table. Additionally, RAPS Promotions will help the grocer forecast the net impact of alternative offers and product mixes within their weekly ads. With the help of RAPS Promotions' ground-breaking functionality, Market Basket can create and compare unlimited ad plans. RAPS Promotions will recommend items and offers based on the grocer's unique promotional strategy and goals.

"At Market Basket our goal is to be more customer service driven while being neighborhood-oriented," said Skylar Thompson, President of Market Basket. "We selected Revionics for numerous reasons. The personnel at Revionics were very knowledgeable and responsive to our business objectives. We felt like they will be an integral part of our team. Moreover, we were very impressed with the technology and philosophy behind the system.".


Charlotte Russe Connects Friends with Interactive Social Shopping Apps

Charlotte Russe introduces interactive shopping technology on its Web site to address the social networking and shopping habits of today's savvy young consumer. The new app allows shoppers to send friends a link to a specific product or an invitation to shop through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, e-mail or IM.

Once they accept the invitation, the interactive shopping application, ShopTogether from DecisionStep, connects them for a joint shopping session on www.charlotterusse.com. Shoppers can chat, view products, collect mutual favorites and share ideas that lead to faster, better buying decisions.

By using ShopTogether, shoppers can experience the social benefits of shopping in the real world with their friends online. Additionally, groups of friends can pick out personal favorites together in real-time.

Charlotte Russe first launched the ShopTogether technology on www.charlotterusse.com last fall. Since partnering, Charlotte Russe and DecisionStep continue to test and develop new, innovative extensions and functionality; connecting with the top social networks is one of the primary new advances of the application.

"Shopping for our customers is a fun, social event," explains Emilia Fabricant, President and CMO of Charlotte Russe. "They want to play with different looks and get one another's opinion. With the ShopTogether application, we've taken our existing social shopping feature and improved it, making it easier for her to connect with her friends while connecting with our brand."


1-800-Flowers.com Offers Live, Personalized Gift-Giving Advice

1-800-Flowers.com deploys proactive chat from LivePerson, a provider of online communication platforms which facilitate real-time assistance and expert advice. The multi-channel retailer implements LivePerson's third-generation engagement solution to help customers find the perfect gift for any special occasion.

1-800-Flowers.com uses LivePerson's hosted, rules-based enterprise platform to replicate the in-store experience on the Web. From receiving gift-giving advice to obtaining assistance during check-out, customers can be guided through their purchase by chatting with gift consultants and customer service representatives. With this platform, 1-800-Flowers.com is reaching out to website visitors who will benefit from real-time assistance.

"1-800-Flowers.com, we pride ourselves in offering the ultimate customer experience," said Chris McCann, President of 1-800-Flowers.com. "The integration of the LivePerson platform on 11-800-Flowers.com allows us to take our customer's experience to the next level by providing immediate answers in real time from specialists."


TheFind Launches New “Every Store” Initiative

TheFind announces its "Every Store" Initiative to work directly with popular e-commerce platforms such as ProStores, Infopia, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, and others to automatically include every platform's roster of online stores within TheFind's search index.

TheFind crawls the entire Web to find online stores, and its search index currently includes over 350 million products - more than 10 times the size of even the largest online marketplaces. Last month alone, over 12 million shoppers searching on TheFind visited more than 90,000 different online stores.

"TheFind wants no store left behind," said Siva Kumar, co-founder and CEO of TheFind. "All retailers - large, small, new or established - belong in TheFind's comprehensive search results. Every month more and more people visit TheFind to shop the full spectrum of retail categories primarily because they want to find the complete range of stores and options available to them."

Retailers jumping into the world of e-commerce will now get automatically included in TheFind's search index at no cost to them - simply by being on one of the several leading e-commerce Platforms partnering with TheFind.


Kronos Announces New Service for Labor Cost Savings

Kronos announces a new service to uncover significant labor cost savings through detailed analysis of an organization's time and attendance information. This service, known as The Diagnostic Assessment, analyzes a retailer's existing time and attendance data to uncover excess labor costs in areas such as overtime; schedule effectiveness; time that is paid but not worked; and absenteeism.

The Diagnostic Assessment also finds trends and outliers in each of these areas, and uses the organization's own historical performance to identify root causes contributing to the excess labor expense. The service takes approximately one week to complete. At the end of the engagement, Kronos delivers a detailed report that identifies potential areas of cost savings and recommended actions to reduce labor expense and improve workforce performance.

The Diagnostic Assessment does not require deployment of any new technology. The service is performed by Kronos service professionals using the Kronos Workforce Analytics labor analytics application.

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