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Industry News - May 14th 2010



Cabela's Plans $10M Web Site Re-launch Initiative

Cabela's announces it has invested $10M towards redesigning its Web site, which will be launched this summer. The new cabelas.com Web site will provide improved navigation tools, enhanced product presentation and graphics, international commerce capabilities and better e-commerce functionality.

According to Thomas Millner, CEO, President and Director of Cabela's, the company spent the last 18 months completely redesigning cabelas.com. 

"Our investment in this project of $10 million will ensure that our already-dominant e-commerce position in the outdoor space will continue long into the future," said Millner. "We are especially pleased with these results as this is the first time in six quarters we have grown revenue in our direct business. It is particularly notable that we were able to grow direct revenue while reducing our direct marketing costs."


Men's Wearhouse Links 750 Stores with VPN Platform

Men's Wearhouse modernizes and secures its communications platform by adding an IP Communications platform from Verizon Business to link 750 of its retail locations. 

Men's Wearhouse is using Private IP, a network-based virtual private network (VPN) to provide a secure infrastructure that can handle surges in traffic and the company's future growth. 

The men's apparel chain also is using Verizon Enhanced Call Routing, a contact center service that helps callers identify and be routed to the most convenient location. 

"The Verizon Business account team managed the conversion to our new platform with superior efforts and attention to detail, which ensured there was no impact to our business," said Bill Melvin, chief information officer, Men's Wearhouse. "With this new platform, we are well-poised for future growth, which is a huge plus for us."

Men's Wearhouse also uses the Verizon Enterprise Center, a 24 x 7 global, one-stop portal that lets the retailer access information needed to self-manage its services. Men's Wearhouse uses the system to securely check online the status of their orders, review and pay bills (and select an environmentally-friendly paperless billing option), request new services, and monitor their network service performance.


SAP Acquires Sybase for $5.8 Billion, Extends Mobile Offering

SAP announces plans to buy Sybase for approximately $5.8 billion, as the German software giant seeks to revamp its culture and compete more effectively with acquisitive rival Oracle. With the acquisition, SAP will add mobile technology and "in-memory" database technology to its portfolio. 

While Sybase's board has approved the merger, the companies expect the deal to close in July. However, analysts say competing bids for Sybase could yet emerge. Once final, Sybase will operate as a standalone unit, and its management team will remain in place. 

Sybase has partnered with SAP in the past, to provide business software to mobile devices. That partnership was announced in March of last year. 

SAP, which is currently run by co-CEOs McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, have cited a need to change the company's culture and foster better execution. 

Co-CEO Bill McDermott announced in March 2010 that SAP was looking to overhaul operations and it could seek to make significant acquisitions. SAP has historically relied on internal growth, while rival Oracle has pursued a strategy of frequent, sizable acquisitions.


Kwik Trip Deploys DVD-Rental Kiosks across 300 Locations

More than 300 Kwik Trip convenience stores plan to add NCR's BLOCKBUSTER Express-branded DVD-rental kiosks. Kwik Trip customers will be able to rent their favorite new and classic DVD titles 24 hours a day from these outdoor DVD-rental kiosks. 

By swiping their credit card, customers will have access to a wide selection of popular DVDs available for only $1 per night per rental. Customers can keep the DVDs as long as they want, and return their selections to any BLOCKBUSTER Express kiosk. 

"Kwik Trip stores take pride in offering customers immediate access to quality and economical products in a highly mobile environment," said Bob Thorud, vice president of operations, Kwik Trip. "We work as an extension of our customers' families, offering relevant services and products to fit their needs. BLOCKBUSTER Express-branded kiosks proved to be a perfect addition to our service offerings and, backed by NCR's technology and expertise, will help us bring quality and affordable home entertainment to our customers and their families. We are looking forward to offering our customers the pleasure of renting DVDs through NCR's BLOCKBUSTER Express-branded kiosks."


Weis Markets Add Centralized Pricing, Inventory Management Solution

Weis Markets, a 164-store grocery chain, upgrades to Retalix's HQ pricing and merchandising software to help cut costs and improve margins. The expanded solution now includes the HQ Advanced Pricing Bundle, as well as the Vendor Web Access, Profit Analyzer, Category Analyzer and Bill Back Manager modules.

Bob Mawyer, vice president of information technology at Weis Markets, says the new modules will bring additional automation, analysis and intuitiveness to the grocer's pricing, merchandising and inventory management operations.

"We've been a Retalix HQ user since 2000 and we've watched the product's evolution," said Mawyer. "Retalix has added new modules and increased functionality to the software so we decided to leverage those capabilities with a major upgrade that replaces a number of internally developed and supported mainframe systems, as well as adding functionality we believe will give us a competitive advantage. Retalix HQ and the new modules will give us even more visibility and control over our pricing operations, data analysis, and vendor promotional monies at both the store and headquarters levels."


SkyMall's New M-Commerce App Lets Shoppers Browse 10,000 Products

Innovative in-flight catalog company SkyMall announces the release of SkyMall Mobile for BlackBerry. The downloadable application was developed in partnership with Digby, and is available from the SkyMall Mobile Site, m.skymall.com, as well as RIM's BlackBerry AppWorld store. 

SkyMall's new application lets customers browse and shop more than 10,000 products through an Internet connection via their BlackBerry devices. Users can view product descriptions and full-color images, select addresses from local address books and place secure transactions quickly and easily. Users also can browse through the in-flight print catalog and enter a specific item number into the BlackBerry app to purchase from the device instantly.

"The SkyMall BlackBerry app from Digby is a critical component of our Mobile Channel Strategy," said Jay Scannell, COO, SkyMall. “These mobile capabilities give our customers even greater flexibility in how they browse and purchase SkyMall products. The BlackBerry application was a natural step for us to take in delivering convenience and additional shopping options to our customers."

SkyMall Mobile for BlackBerry delivers the following features:
-Access to the full SkyMall catalog 
-Product descriptions and full-color images 
-Address book integration
- Integration with existing back-end cataloging and order processing systems


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