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Industry News - March 6th, 2009



Dress Barn Adds New E-Commerce Platform

Dress Barn adds e-commerce technology, fulfillment and design services from GSI Commerce. GSI will launch the first Dress Barn, online store for the maurices brand this fall.

"GSI has a terrific reputation in the industry for providing leading e-commerce services to large, national retailers," said David R. Jaffe, president and CEO of Dress Barn. "After conducting an extensive evaluation of solution providers, we chose GSI based on its leadership position, robust, stable platform and proven experience working with retailers. We look forward to launching the maurices online store later this year."

GSI, through its digital agency gsi interactive, conducted a thorough assessment of maurices' retail operations to better understand their customers and provide strategic guidance on what the user experience could be. "We were impressed with the upfront consultation and recommendations that GSI provided during our selection process," says Lisa Rhodes, EVP and CMO for maurices. "Together, we discussed a range of options that would help Dress Barn, Inc. meet its e-commerce goals."


eBay’s ProStores Add PowerReviews

eBay's ProStores select PowerReviews to provide online customer reviews. Key benefits of the PowerReviews/ProStores relationship for ProStores retailers include:

-Easy Integration - PowerReviews Express is integrated into the ProStores platform, which helps retailers launch online product reviews within hours.

-Enhanced Review Collection - Working with PowerReviews, ProStores merchants can choose to populate their store with customer reviews, through automated post-purchase e-mails from integrated ProStores partner IMN.

-A nearly 20 percent discount on PowerReviews Express post-free trial ($15 off the standard $80 per month fee).

-A free 30-day trial of PowerReviews Express.

"Our customers have been requesting a customer reviews feature for a while now, as reviews are becoming a key part of effective merchandising and customer service," said Angela Troy, general manager, ProStores. "PowerReviews Express, with its big-company solution tailored to small and medium-sized company needs, enables us to offer our customers the best solution without significant effort or expense."

PowerReviews Express offers:

-Review Snapshot - an at-a-glance review summary that streamlines the research process for consumers

-Verified Buyer - a feature that builds consumer confidence with more credible reviews

-Affinity Views - the ability for consumers to find reviews from people just like them.

-Content Moderation Services (for the merchant) - Each review is read by a PowerReviews moderator and screened for inflammatory and non-product-related content, saving the merchant significant time while leaving full control in their hands for which reviews are displayed on their site.

Several early adopters from ProStores, such as PeppyParents.com, Essential Wonders, and Blue Marble Lighting, have already added the PowerReviews Express solution, inspired by both the potential of boosting their online businesses and increasing customer satisfaction.


Peapod Implements PCI Compliance and Change Control

Peapod implements Tripwire Enterprise, a file integrity monitoring solution from Tripwire, to help it meet its Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) goals, as well as to help it manage change control with its mission critical systems.

Peapod, which operates online grocery shopping and delivery service for Giant Food and Stop and Shop supermarkets in more than 22 metropolitan areas in the United States, has delivered over 13 million orders. For Peapod, ensuring continuous regulatory compliance supports an overall mandate to keep customer data secure and to maintain the trust that customers have placed for many years in the Peapod e-commerce platform.

In addition to providing the change audit and configuration assessment capabilities required by the PCI standard, Peapod uses Tripwire Enterprise to save system administration time and view all system modifications from its central console without having to access each server individually. This central view allows Peapod to enforce its change control processes by monitoring its systems for unauthorized changes, investigating exceptions to its policy. Most importantly, Tripwire offers Peapod reports that its executives and auditors need for documenting IT change history and demonstrating compliance.

"Tripwire Enterprise offers a powerful solution for helping us with PCI compliance, track changes throughout the enterprise, detect exceptions to our policies, and be able to quickly remediate any problems that could disrupt security and system availability," says Todd Vazquez, senior UNIX administrator, Peapod. "Because Tripwire delivered, we can keep delivering our customers' groceries, knowing that we are keeping our processes, systems and customers' data safe."


Wal-Mart Canada Discontinues Sam's Club, Expands Supercentres

Wal-Mart Canada has announced it will discontinue its Sam's Club format in March to focus on its expanding Supercentre format and discount store business. The announcement will affect the company's six Sam's Club locations in Pickering, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, London, Cambridge and Etobicoke, Ontario.

The company also announced the opening of a further 26 Wal-Mart Supercentres to be unveiled this year in Canada, including expansions of existing stores, relocations and new stores. This will bring the number of Canadian Supercentres to 82 and Wal-Mart Canada's overall store count to 316 by the end of the year.


Albertsons to Close Nine Stores in California

Albertsons will shut nine stores in California between now and April 9. About a dozen workers are losing their jobs, and the chain is working to reassign hundreds more to other stores.

The Albertsons store closures are part of a strategy by corporate parent Supervalu Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minnesota., to trim underperforming stores.

After the closures, Albertsons will have 275 stores and about 26,000 union workers. Last Friday, Albertsons closed stores in Lakewood, Canoga Park, Chula Vista and Encinitas. On April 9, Albertsons will also close stores in San Diego, Cathedral City, Lancaster, Rancho Cucamonga and Temple City.

The company also plans to change the nameplate of its South Gate store to Lucky Stores, a brand it acquired in 1998 and then converted to Albertsons. But now it is starting to rebuild Lucky as a low-price chain. This would be just the fourth Lucky store in California. The others are in El Centro, San Ysidro and Alhambra. An Albertsons store in Van Nuys and one in Oxnard also are slated to eventually become Lucky stores.

Nationwide, Supervalu plans to close about 50 stores. It also will open fewer stores and scale back on remodeling stores to save money.

The company is forecasting that its same-store sales, an important measure of a retailer's health, will decline one percent during its 2009 fiscal year.


Office Depot Accelerates Order Processing

Office Depot implements Sterling Fax Conversion Services from Sterling Commerce and AT&T. With this system, Office Depot can automate the manual processing of all faxed orders across its customer service call centers. Automating this process also provides Office Depot with the reporting and visibility capabilities necessary to help achieve Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance.

"By implementing this new solution from AT&T, Office Depot will be able to provide flexible IT systems that enable our customers to do business with us the way they want to do business, while still ensuring the highest levels of security," says Tim McGrath, vice president of Customer Service for Office Depot. "Additionally, this new solution helps Office Depot meet important PCI compliance requirements, providing an added level of confidence for our customers."

Office Depot receives many orders directly by fax from consumers, and they require manual order entry and processing. By automating this process through Sterling Fax Conversion Services, Office Depot can increase the level of accuracy and reduce time, requirements and costs.

Sterling Fax Conversion Services converts incoming faxes into electronic data interchange (EDI) or extensible markup language (XML) documents and reverses the process for outgoing documents. This software combines human and artificial intelligence into a streamlined process that helps minimize human intervention and manages costs by efficiently converting fax transactions while detecting and handling errors.

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