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Industry News - September 26th, 2008



REI Opens Second Green Store  

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) opened its second prototype store to test the performance of green building features, including technology and environmentally friendly materials, and new retail design concepts on September 26, 2008.

The store, located in Round Rock, Texas, is projected to consume 48 percent less energy than a typical store that meets industry standards. As part of the company's prototype initiative, findings from the working laboratory will help the company determine how it approaches green building design and construction in the future.

Among its features, the Round Rock store will generate a portion of its power from a building integrated photovoltaic system, solar panel installation and a solar hot water system. These features will generate 13 percent of the store's electricity and heat 70 percent of the store's water used for restrooms and employee showers. In addition, Solatubes will diffuse natural light, offsetting electrical consumption by an additional five percent as an automated lighting system dims or turns off unneeded artificial lighting throughout the store. All additional power needs will be met through green power, specifically energy generated from biomass digesters.

Other features that improve the store's performance include building insulation; mechanical equipment and controls that monitor and regulate the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, saving 25 percent of energy consumption; a 'cool' roof designed to reflect the sun's radiation and save energy by lessening the store's need for air conditioning by 10 to 15 percent; and water-efficient plumbing fixtures, which reduce water usage by 30 percent.

The store's appearance will differ greatly from more traditional retail designs because of the incorporation of recycled and sustainable materials. Sunflower seed husks, recycled tennis shoes, carpeting manufactured through a climate-neutral process, and reclaimed wood from fallen trees are incorporated throughout the store on the floor, perimeter walls, fixtures, displays, benches and table tops.

"The green building practices incorporated into our Round Rock store help us to dramatically reduce our energy consumption, save natural resources and provide a better experience for employees, co-op members and customers," says Sally Jewell, REI president and CEO. "This store will not only have reduced operating costs, but we've significantly reduced our dependency on fossil fuels."


Blue Nile Adds Bill Me Later

Blue Nile customers now have the option to pay for purchases with Bill Me Later when shopping online or over the phone. Blue Nile also is offering customers that pay with Bill Me Later no payments for 90 days on purchases of $250 or more.

As an online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, Blue Nile is continually looking for ways to make it easier to complete important purchases, especially during the holiday season.

"We chose to launch Bill Me Later now to give customers the option to finance their important purchases and pay for them at a later date," says Diane Irvine, chief executive officer, Blue Nile. "Customers can benefit from the convenience of Bill Me Later, further enhancing their Blue Nile experience now and throughout the gift-giving season."

n less than six months, Jones was able to launch the first two brands, Easy Spirit and Nine West, as well as get other sites, including Jones New York and Bandolino, well underway. Jones will now leverage the functionality and development environment that is already in place to quickly launch additional brands on an as-needed basis.


Fujitsu Consolidates North American IT Divisions

Fujitsu Group announces it will establish a new company, Fujitsu North America Holding Inc. to strengthen Fujitsu's solutions business base in North America. This new company brings together Fujitsu Consulting, Fujitsu Computer Systems Corporation, and Fujitsu Transaction Solutions under one unified corporate structure and is scheduled to be established on October 1, 2008.

The move is designed to generate greater synergies among the three companies by consolidating their IT strengths under one structure. This will enable the organization to respond to client needs with integrated suites of IT services and solutions from Fujitsu. Bringing together the application services of Fujitsu Consulting, the system platforms of Fujitsu Computer Systems and the retailing solutions of Fujitsu Transaction Solutions will foster greater collaboration, integrate the Fujitsu Group's strengths in IT services and system platforms, and enable a unified approach in providing clients with a broad portfolio of products and services.

Fujitsu has appointed Farhat Ali as its new president and CEO of the new company. In this capacity, he will lead the business synergy effort of the new operation while continuing with his current responsibilities as president of Fujitsu Computer Systems.


Aéropostale Extends E-Commerce Partnership with GSI

Aeropostale extends its e-commerce agreement with GSI through 2018. Aeropostale will continue to benefit from its full-service, integrated platform, including e-commerce technology, order management, customer care and fulfillment, and interactive marketing services through GSI's marketing services division, gsi interactive.

As part of this contract extension, Aeropostale will gain digital solutions including usability, Web design, interactive technology, and product photography. gsi interactive, which is the full-service digital marketing and design agency of GSI, will also be Aeropostale's primary e-mail service provider for the company's e-mail marketing campaigns.

"We have been very pleased with the growth and evolution of our online business since launching with GSI in 2005," says Julian R. Geiger, Aeropostale's chairman and chief executive officer. "We are excited to continue working with GSI to maintain and build upon this growth, while focusing on delivering the best shopping experience for our customers."


Puma Adds Workforce Management

In an effort to maintain and enhance levels of service, Puma selects Kronos for Retail, a workforce management platform from Kronos. Puma deploys Kronos applications for sales and labor budgeting, optimized scheduling, time and attendance, absence management, and workforce analytics across all U.S. Concept and Outlet stores. Puma also uses the system to develop additional processes, optimize workforce alignment to customer demand, simplify compliance, and improve store productivity.

"Puma selected Kronos for its retail industry expertise, coupled with its ability to provide a complete solution for enterprise workforce management," says Jay Piccola, president and general manager at Puma North America. "Puma is a growing, multi-faceted, sport lifestyle brand. Given these complexities, we need a partner that understands our business and our brand. Kronos for Retail will help us achieve operational excellence at the store level and therefore create an even more positive customer experience."
Optimized store scheduling is critical for maximizing customer satisfaction. Puma can schedule effectively by ensuring that the right people with the right skills are in the right places at the right times. The retailers also uses Kronos for Retail to integrate labor budgeting, forecasting, scheduling, and reporting, leverage historical sales, customer demand, and store profile data. The system also is able to derive annual and weekly sales and labor plans, which, combined with actual labor spend, will enable enterprise visibility and control of store productivity in real time.


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