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Industry News - April 9th, 2010



Major Retail Fraud Ring Hits Best Buy, Home Depot, Macy's

Eight thieves were arrested for their involvement in a major Cleveland-based retail fraud ring for conspiracy to commit wire fraud at Lowe's, Home Depot, Staples, Best Buy, hhgregg, Macy's, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sears. 

Individuals involved in the large-scale retail fraud scheme utilized "private label" credit card accounts which are accounts offered to consumers specific to a particular retail chain and are backed by independent financial institutions. 

In this scheme, these individuals conspired together to contact creditor customer service departments and utilized a variety of tactics to obtain legitimate and active credit account information. This information was used to defraud employees of these customer service departments into adding an authorized user to an account, or change the account holder information to reflect that of individuals that were part of this conspiracy who would act as "runners." 

After these "runners" were added as an authorized user, the "runner" along with one or two associates would then go to a victim retailer and request that a store employee look-up their account from personal identifiers that were obtained from the scheme. At times, the "runners" had to show their valid ID or recite the last four digits of the account holder's social security number as proof they were authorized to use the account. The "runners" would then purchase items and charge them to the account. The individuals involved in this conspiracy had customers who would then purchase these items from them.

The victims of this scheme are the independent financial institutions who believe that they have suffered losses of approximately $500,000 to $1,000,000.


In-Door Human GPS Tracker

A human RFID tracker from Destiny USA is transforming the way consumers shop at the Carousel Center Mall in Syracuse, NY. Destiny USA technology relies on RFID to track customers, products and mall employees. Shoppers are given an iPod Touch to help them locate and pair products. The handheld device is tied to a loyalty card program which tracks previous purchases and displays images of recommended products in a shopper's size, preferred color and fabric. Clothing for a Better Earth, a 1,100 square-foot eco-friendly clothing store, is the first retailer to deploy the technology. 


Integrated CCTV Counters Theft at U.K. Shopping Center

A UK-based shopping center is reaping benefits from implementing an integrated IP-CCTV system fromIndigoVision. The integrated surveillance solution interfaces 24 CCTV cameras with door entry intercoms and plant equipment, at the UK's Arc Center, allowing security teams to respond quickly to public safety issues and criminal activity in and around the Center. Door Intercom units located at staff and delivery entrances are interfaced to the IP video system via a digital input on the IndigoVision 8000 transmitter modules. When an Intercom call is made, an alarm is raised in the control center. Then, IndigoVision's Security Management Software and the nearest camera is automatically panned to a preset position and displayed on the spot monitor. The location of the generated alarm also is highlighted on an interactive map of the Center. The operator can then confirm visual identity and open the door. The design and installation of the system was completed by Essex based GES Security Services.


CIO of Under Armour to Address Top Retail Execs at RES 2010

Joseph D. (Jody) Giles, Chief Information Officer of Under Armour will keynote this year's highly anticipated Retail Executive Summit (RES) which will take place from June 16-18, 2010 at the Grand Del Mar in Del Mar, California. 

Giles will address an audience of 100 high-level retail executives in a session titled" Playing to Win," which will delve into how Under Armour developed a playbook that focuses on business first and IT second to win in the highly competitive sporting goods marketplace. Giles also will share insights into how Under Armour uses innovation "one of its business pillars" along with deep-rooted principles to win in a challenging business environment.

Joseph D. (Jody) Giles has served as Chief Information Officer for Baltimore-based Under Armour since January, 2005. In that time, the company has grown dramatically, experienced a very successful IPO, implemented SAP in eight months and is completely revamping their supply chain and product development systems.

Prior to assuming the challenges at Under Armour, Jody's career was based in Southern California, where he served as CIO for Vans. He also worked in the entertainment industry, serving as CIO for Virgin Interactive Entertainment and Executive Director of Systems Planning for Paramount Pictures. Jody began his IT career in the public utility industry, with Southern California Gas Company. 

In 2004, Jody was named "CIO of the Year" by the Gartner Midsize Enterprise Summit. He has been featured in several articles in industry magazines, including a cover story in Information Week and Apparel Magazine.

Jody graduated with honors from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Business Computer Systems, and earned his Masters of Business Administration, with distinction, from Pepperdine University.

Giles keynote session will take place on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 from 8:20 - 9:10 am


Dollar General Rolls Out Customer-Centric Format Across 1,500 Stores

Dollar General recently announced its plans to open 600 new stores in 2010 based on its new customer-centric format which will include an improved store layout. The retailer also unveils a series of IT projects which includes rolling out enhanced handheld technology, upgrading its energy management system and electronic pay cards for employees.

"The store format is a dramatic improvement in the appearance of our stores and creates a compelling shopping environment based on extensive customer insights, from focus groups, and from proprietary market basket data," said Rick Dreiling, chairman and CEO, Dollar General. "By the end of our fiscal year 2010, we expected have 1500 stores in our new format."

Dreiling adds, "We are completely rebranding our new stores for the use of signs and visual, that explain our value proposition to the customer at the point of sale." 

The retailer also announced plans to update its sourcing, distribution and transportation strategy, and focus on shrink reduction and comprehensive in-store marketing campaigns. 

In the area of distribution and transportation, engineered labor standards are being implemented, and should be completely rolled out by the end of the year according to the retailer. "In 2010, we believe we should benefit from relocating high-shrink items, adding closed circuit TV, stand-based trading, and automated exception-based reporting," adds Dreiling.


Borders Ramps Up Social Media, M-commerce and Web

Borders unveils a series of digital initiatives that will help transform its business which includes plans to reinvent its Borders Rewards customer loyalty program, upgrade its Web site, and ramp up its social media presence.

According to the company, 37 million customers have signed up for its Borders Rewards program since it was launched. The retailer plans to revamp the Borders Rewards program with enhanced personalization, which the retailer anticipates will help drive customer engagement.

Borders also announces it will invest and improve the customer interface, checkout and search capabilities on its Web site. The company also announced a new Borders powered Kobo e-bookstore that will become part of the borders.com experience. 

According to Mike Edwards, Interim President and CEO of Borders, there will be more than two million e-book titles available on Kobo. In addition, Borders launched mobile apps with Kobo that will enable customers to purchase e-books from Borders on the iPhone, Blackberry, and the iPad. 

The retailer also is enhancing its social networks including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as exclusive Web content with its publishers to extend the Borders brand experience.


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