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Industry News - October 7th 2011



Outdoors Retailer Gander Mountain Adopts Price Optimization Solution

Gander Mountain will adopt the Revionics Price Optimization solution to achieve optimal competitive pricing advantage for each of its 116 stores, which are in markets spread across 23 states. The two-year agreement provides the outdoor specialty retailer with both base price management and price optimization functions.

The solution will allow Gander Mountain to achieve optimal competitive advantage in each retail location by ensuring its merchandise is at the right price, at the right time, for the right customer. In addition, the retailer will be able to predict and drive consumer demand and behavior and provide each of its merchants the ability to become more profitable with their pricing, promotion and markdown strategies.

"We had seen how other retailers have improved profit margins by leveraging Revionics pricing solutions to gain an in-depth understanding of price sensitivity, explore 'what-if' scenarios planning and ensure the right pricing strategies are in place for Key Value Items and product categories," said Kerry Graskewicz, EVP of merchandise planning and inventory operations for Gander Mountain in a statement. "Real-world examples like this made our decision to choose Revionics much easier."


Barnes & Noble Acquires Borders' Customer Database for $13.9M

Barnes & Noble acquired Borders' customer database for $13.9 million after gaining approval from a New York bankruptcy judge. Borders' customer database contains data for approximately 48 million members. To address privacy concerns, customers were notified of the decision via e-mail and will be given 15 days to opt out of having their data transferred.
"Our intent in buying the Borders customer list is simply to try and earn your business," says William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble, in a letter to Borders customers posted on the retailer's website. "It's important for you to understand, however, that you have the absolute right to opt-out of having your customer data transferred to Barnes & Noble. If you would like to opt-out, we will ensure all your data we receive from Borders is disposed of in a secure and confidential manner."
Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2011 and is selling off all its assets including property, stock and store contents.


Macy's Expands RFID Adoption to 850 Stores

Macy's announced its Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores are adopting radio frequency identification (RFID) technology on an accelerated timeline to more precisely manage item-level merchandise inventories. By the third quarter of 2014, the company expects to begin using RFID in all of its 850 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores nationwide to count items regularly stocked and automatically resupplied as they are sold to customers, representing about 30% of the company's sales. Macy's has been testing RFID technology for nearly two years in selected stores and distribution centers.
"To Macy's and Bloomingdale's, RFID is a tool to better serve customers and drive sales by ensuring we have the right product in the right place at the right time for our in-store and omni-channel shoppers," says Tom Cole, chief administrative officer of Macy's. "RFID will allow us to more frequently count item-level inventory with precision so our inventory is readily accessible to our customers. This is technology that has proven effective in our testing, and we believe now is the right time to roll out RFID aggressively."
With RFID, Macy's and Bloomingdale's store associates can count inventory significantly faster. This will enable multiple counts throughout the year compared with the current practice of taking a physical inventory once a year. Testing has shown that, on average, inventory accuracy can be maintained at 97% or better. Frequent counts will also ensure the correct placement of items in the right range of sizes, colors and styles on the selling floor.
The initial 2014 launch of RFID technology will be in size-intensive replenishment categories such as men's furnishings, intimate apparel, men's slacks, denim and women's shoes in each store nationwide. Macy's and Bloomingdale's private brands are included in the initiative.


Rite Aid Expands iPad Rollout to 300 Stores

Rite Aid reported that it is receiving positive customer response from its initial rollout of iPads to Wellness Ambassador employees in 40 remodeled stores. As a result, the retailer will expand the rollout to a total of 300 remodeled stores in 2014.
"All Wellness Ambassadors are especially trained to provide customers with information on over-the-counter medications and vitamins and supplements, and equipped with special iPad technology to assist customers in making decisions based on their individual symptoms and needs," says Matt Schroeder, group vice president of strategy for Rite Aid, in a recent call with financial analysts. "Our customers have responded very favorably to this unique service approach.
"We started the rollout of our new wellness store format with 40 wellness stores completed as for the end of the second quarter," continues Schroeder. "We expect to complete a total of 300 wellness remodels in fiscal 2014. Although we are very early in the process, we are seeing improving sales results in the first group of remodeled stores."
In addition to expanding in-store mobile technology to aid customer service, Rite Aid is extending its wellness+ program with wellness+ diabetes, which will feature an exclusive collaboration with WebMD.com. The free program will offer resources, management lifestyle tools and in-store savings to members with diabetes and caregivers.
Rite Aid also reported that wellness+ now has 44 million members, 69% of which accounted for front-end sales and 66% for script count during the second fiscal quarter of 2014. Additionally, 90% of members shop both sides of the store and almost 50% shop the store every week.


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