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Industry News - June 18th 2010



Walmart CEO Unveils Plans to Build "Next-Gen Walmart"

Walmart's President and CEO Mike Duke recently announced four strategies for building Next-Generation Walmart, which includes plans for overcoming business challenges, at the company's annual shareholders meeting. 

The strategies are:

Become a truly global company: In order to be a more global company, Duke discussed the need to serve customers as a local store, share best practices and leverage Walmart's global supply chain. He also stressed the importance of talent: "Just over the next five years, we'll create 500,000 jobs around the world. We need to recruit the best talent and identify the best talent in our ranks. Then we need to develop leaders and help them become global citizens."

Understand the business challenges that retailers will face and solve them: Duke highlighted the global challenges that retail will face over the next 20 years, including the impact of technology on shopping habits and, in particular, on pricing. "Retail will soon enter an era of price transparency. And what kind of retailer wins in a time of price transparency? You got it, the price leader. We need to really churn the productivity loop and deliver on our Every Day Low Price business model everywhere. Walmart must widen the gap here. We will win on price leadership, and we will win big."

Play an even bigger leadership role on social issues that matter to our customers: Duke also committed the company to continued leadership on social issues, saying, "Over the last few years, we've built a model for making a big difference on big issues. We are well into this journey now. No one can doubt our sincerity. No one can question our credibility. But as Sam Walton knew, leadership leads to higher expectations. And you know what? That's fine by me. So we must raise the bar. We must continue to meet the social obligations and expectations ahead. Walmart will never look back."

Keep the company culture strong everywhere: With the company's plans for future growth, Duke sees Walmart's culture as a competitive advantage and one that needs to stay strong globally. "Our culture is who we are. It isn't just words written on a wall at the Home Office or stapled to the bulletin board in the back room of a store. It makes us special. It sets us apart from the competition. And it appeals to people everywhere. So wherever we go and whatever changes we may make, we must keep our culture strong," said Duke. "I truly believe the retailer that respects individuals, that puts customers first, that strives for excellence, that is trusted will win the future."

"Our results demonstrate the underlying strength of our business and our strategies of growth, leverage and returns. But as proud as we are of our recent performance, future success is never guaranteed. Walmart is committed to being a truly global company and building the Next-Generation Walmart."


Walgreens Enhances M-Commerce with Text Alerts

Walgreens re-launches its m-commerce site with several new features including Prescription Text Alerts, which notify customers via text message when their prescriptions are ready. Walgreens has also re-launched its iPhone application and mobile site, m.walgreens.com.
"We strive to lead the market in bringing new and innovative technology to our pharmacies and pharmacy patients," said Mark Wagner, Walgreens executive vice president of operations and community management. "Text alerts are a valuable time-saving tool, and the latest example of how our mobile applications are further connecting the Web to Walgreens stores and pharmacies, giving customers on-the-go convenience wherever they are." 

New Walgreens mobile features include: 
Prescription Text Alerts - Receive a text message from Walgreens pharmacy when your prescriptions are ready or if there are any status changes. Customers can sign up for text alerts at any Walgreens pharmacy or online at www.walgreens.com/gomobile. Text alerts are also available in Spanish. 

Special Offer Texts - Get information about exclusive Walgreens deals and coupons via text message. Messages also provide important information and the latest services available both in store and online. Customers can sign up through the Walgreens mobile site or by texting "Walgreens" to 21525. 

iPhone Application - iPhone users can take advantage of new features and functionality in the iPhone application. These include: 
Photo account registration -Sign up for an account to upload photos and order prints from an iPhone direct from the Walgreens mobile site. Browse products and check their in-store availability. 

View prescription history -Access prescription history anywhere, anytime. One-touch GPS store locator - find the nearest Walgreens with one touch of the "Find store near me" icon on the home page. 

Android/Blackberry Mobile Web site Application
 -Blackberry and Android users can download the Walgreens mobile site application from their respective marketplaces (Blackberry App World and Android App Market), providing quick and easy access to the mobile site features. Walgreens first launched its mobile application last fall, with a selection of other features including: 
Prescription refills - Order prescription refills on-the-go. Users can enter a prescription number and have it ready for in-store pickup at any Walgreens store, with no registration required. Orders can also be placed directly from a user's account history. 
Store Locator - Find any Walgreens store nationwide when searching by city, state or ZIP code. 

Walgreens Photo - View photos and order prints directly from any Web-enabled mobile device.

Browse Products - Shop and view product details, prices and customer reviews prior to making an in-store purchase.


Casual Male Drives Sales with Personalized Digital Gift Cards

Casual Male deploys a digital gifting and incentives platform from CashStar for its Casual Male XL, Rochester Big and Tall, and B&T Direct brands. Casual Male now has the ability to e-mail personalized eGift cards that can be redeemed in-store or online at any of the brand's three e-commerce sites. 

"We are excited to extend our gift card offering to include personalized eGift cards," said Ric Della Bernarda, Chief Marketing Officer, Casual Male Retail Group. "Along with providing our customers with another gifting option, we are able to leverage CashStar's data management capabilities to grow our customer database, track e-gifting behavior and tailor our marketing efforts accordingly to drive sales and brand loyalty." 

Casual Male Retail Group operates more than 450 stores and recognized the opportunity to grow its substantial e-commerce operations with CashStar's platform by providing shoppers with a convenient way to order and send gift cards anytime, anywhere. Consumers can personalize gift cards online by selecting a design or uploading their own image, adding a personal message, and selecting the denomination and send date. Cards can be e-mailed to the recipient immediately or at a specified future date.


Talbots Invests $40M on IT, Store Refresh Initiative

Talbots announces its plans to invest up to $40 million on a major store refresh initiative, store segmentation and IT, doubling its investment from last year. The majority of the investment will be allocated to refreshing and renovating all the company's stores, as well as IT initiatives beginning in the second quarter.

The store refresh plan is one of the company's major 2010 corporate initiatives, aside from store segmentation, which aims to increase sales per square foot productivity by sorting stores along two dimensions - customer lifestyle and behavior and climate. Store segmentation is part of a multi-year initiative which focuses on upgrading the store experience and reinvigorating the brand to attract new customers.

The store refresh and renovation program will begin in August 2010 with 14 stores in three key markets.

"With the company now on solid financial footing, we will move forward with our key strategic investments in marketing, store segmentation and store refresh," said Michael Scarpa, COO and CFO, Talbot's. "While these investments will impact our earnings in the short-term, we believe these are the appropriate steps to be taking to best position us for long-term growth and profitability."


Gartner’s Jeff Roster to Moderate Expert Retail Panel at RES

Jeff Roster, Gartner's Research VP, Industry Market Strategies, Retail & Wholesale, will moderate a panel of retail industry experts on the topic, "Seizing the Opportunity for Growth & Innovation," at the 2010 RIS Retail Executive Summit, which takes place this week at the Grand Del Mar Resort, Del Mar, CA. 

Roster will moderate a panel which includes Giri Durbhakula, Vice President & CIO, Charlotte Russe, Ted Jackson, VP of IT & CIO, Sport Chalet, and Herman Nell, VP & CIO, PETCO Animal Supplies. The panel will address how these three retailers are meeting new customer expectations and seizing new opportunities in a rapidly shifting marketplace. 

Roster is a Research Vice President covering the retail and wholesale industries for Gartner's Industry Market Strategies cluster. Roster communicates global IT trends in the retail and wholesale industries, analyzes end-user requirements, and consults on strategies with IT vendor clients. Roster also conducts primary research interviews with vendors and end users, performs secondary research, and writes market research reports. Roster has led consulting projects and developed syndicated research focusing on the retail industry in the following areas: IT initiatives, outsourcing services, enterprise applications, and Internet/Extranet solutions. 

Prior to joining Gartner's analyst ranks, Roster was a consultant with Gartner Consulting for the Technology Marketplace. He participated in customized consulting projects covering a variety of subject areas, including market research and analysis, knowledge management and new product introductions. 

Before joining Gartner, Jeff worked in logistics and process improvement for Mervyn's. As an operations manager, he developed benchmarking and total quality management initiatives, as well as operational budget analyses. 

Roster received a master's degree in business administration from St. Mary's College and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Chico State University.


Target Incents Customers to Leave Competitive Pharmacies

Target revamps its pharmacy rewards program for customers who shift their prescription drug needs to one of its more than 1,580 in-store pharmacies. Target upgrades its program by adding new incentives such as discounts that can be used storewide. 

Beginning this fall, guests will receive a coupon good for 5 percent off a future day of shopping every time they fill five prescriptions at a Target pharmacy with a Target REDcard.

Guests in the program currently receive a coupon good for 10 percent off a future day of shopping every time they fill 10 prescriptions at a Target pharmacy with a Target REDcard


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