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Industry News - April 8, 2008



American Greetings Selects SAP

SAP AG announced that American Greetings Corporation will enhance its information systems using SAP solutions. The global greeting card company selected SAP Business Suite applications from the SAP for Retail solution portfolio for their ability to support the company’s need to improve its data management and adapt quickly to customer needs while helping to ensure best quality products. American Greetings is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of social expression products. Along with greeting cards, its product lines include gift-wrap, party goods, stationery, calendars, ornaments and electronic greetings. The announcement was made at the World Retail Congress, being held in Barcelona, Spain from April 9–11.

American Greetings recently conducted a thorough evaluation of its information systems to determine what was needed to support the company’s unique and creative business. It selected SAP solutions in late 2007 for the superior end-to-end business processes tailored to the company’s specific industry needs. The SAP software implementation will occur globally in phases, and will replace some legacy systems while integrating with other internal systems at American Greetings.

“American Greetings is focused on designing and creating products to meet evolving consumer needs,” said Ed Lange, executive vice president and chief customer officer, SAP Americas and Asia-Pacific Japan. “Like American Greetings, SAP is focused on anticipating customer needs and is continually breaking new ground with solutions that help companies respond more quickly and efficiently to their customers. American Greetings’ decision to enhance its business with SAP further solidifies SAP’s position as a leading provider of innovative, integrated solutions.”

German Fashion House Wehmeyer Selects Oracle Retail Application to Optimise In-Season Inventory Management and Pricing Strategies

Wehmeyer, the German fashion house, has selected Oracle Retail Price Optimization to help increase profitability through more effective inventory management. Wehmeyer will use the Oracle Retail application to introduce a more advanced approach to managing in-season inventory, assortment and pricing strategies across its 40 stores in Germany.

Following the buyout of the former KarstadtQuelle AG subsidiary, the private equity investor firm MRSBC Holding has focused on developing a 'Roadmap to Value' that will support business transformation. Wehmeyer's selection of Oracle Retail Price Optimization marks an important first step in the retailer's overall business transformation.

As part of a wider strategic change management programme that includes better promotions management and store refurbishment, Wehmeyer's new owners have identified key areas of the retail business that can deliver gross margin return on investment quickly and efficiently.

One area of improvement is to increase profitability through a better understanding of customer demand and more effective inventory management. Oracle Retail Price Optimization will help provide Wehmeyer with greater visibility into customer demand, the impact of price points on inventory levels, gross margin performance and optimal in-season inventory management decisions.

"Oracle Retail offered us a scalable platform on which to transform the Wehmeyer business. Oracle Retail Price Optimization offers a way to unlock the business value in our assets quickly, using price and markdowns to help achieve the best possible margins before the end of the season or product lifecycle," said Thomas Sajovec, Head of Administration & Logistics at Wehmeyer.

Food Lion Deploys Retalix Yard Management Solution

Food Lion, a North-American subsidiary of Brussels-based Delhaize Group, implements the Retalix Yard Management platform at its headquarters distribution center in Salisbury, N.C. The retailer uses Retalix Yard Management system to automate the yard and dock management process through predictive logic and optimization algorithms. Using software engines and visibility tools, the system helps elimnate operational silos and synchronizes yard and dock activity with distribution center demand in real-time.

“The Retalix Yard Management system provides Food Lion with a solution to optimize our yard and dock labor resources,” said Dennis McCoy, vice president of distribution for Food Lion. “By integrating the Retalix Transportation solution into our supply chain, we are able to directly reduce labor costs, improve resource utilization and ultimately eliminate inefficiencies that negatively impact the profitability of our operations.”

The Salisbury facility serves more than 300 stores within the company’s geographic footprint. Food Lion will continue to roll out the Retalix platform at its seven other distribution centers. This expansive network serves approximately 1,300 stores in 11 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.

As part of this and subsequent implementations, Food Lion will use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in tandem with the Retalix solution. RFID readers are being installed at the entry and exit points of the company’s distribution centers, and each of the nearly 2,000 trailers in the Food Lion fleet will be affixed with a rugged RFID tag, automating the processing of arrival and departure information.

Batteries Plus Implements POS Solution for More Than 300 Stores

Batteries Plus selects Radiant to implement POS software and hardware for all of its locations. Batteries Plus uses Radiant’s P1520 retail POS terminals and CounterPoint SQL software to improve operational efficiencies and store profitability.

“As Batteries Plus continues to earn an increasing share of the retail and commercial battery market, partnering with a proven, established company such as Radiant Systems will be key to the success of the franchisees,” said Michael J. Lehman, CIO for Batteries Plus. “As our franchisee base continues to grow, Radiant’s CounterPoint software will help us run every Batteries Plus store more effectively because of its easy-to-use, powerful and flexible architecture. Radiant’s hardware is robust and built for long life, which is a great fit for the long-term profitability of our franchisees.”

CounterPoint SQL retail software includes inventory management, point of sale functions, purchasing, customer loyalty and sophisticated management-reporting capabilities. The hardware, designed specifically for retailers, features touchscreen point of sale terminals with the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership. Batteries Plus has begun deployment of the Radiant solution in corporate stores, and the rollout across all franchisees will occur over the next three years.

CVS/Caremark Deploys Pricing, Analytics, Vendor and Store Applications

Soft Solutions announces that CVS/Caremark has selected Pricing as the next module in the Soft Solution suite to deployed in response to its fast growing business needs and objectives. The module will be based on the data quality of ibs REFERENTIAL and ibs DATA SYNC (Soft Solutions Master Data Management) currently being delivered to address CVS/Caremark PIM requirements.

CVS/Caremark embarked on a large legacy replacement program in 2007 with Soft Solutions’ ibs SUITE to manage their Master Data Management (MDM) and Merchandising requirements such as Item, Vendor, Pricing, Promotions, Deals, Assortment, and Category. This ambitious schedule involves removing their multiple duplications and replace legacies efficiently by this new infrastructure to streamline their process yet allowing for flexibility and growth.

PRICING provides CVS/Caremark with advanced price optimization and management functionalities such as competitor management, rules-based simulation and price execution in a single platform. ibs ANALYTICS embedded forecasting engine provides ibs PRICING the forecasting and optimization capabilities to manage over 6,300 stores for CVS/Caremark. The same engine is also used to manage promotional requirements. ibs SUITE’s Vendor and Store is to be their single repository and master data reference.

"We have selected Soft Solutions for their strong retail footprint, and to accompany us in implementing our application strategy,” states Ray Auger, vice president of CVS/ Caremark Retail Systems. “Phase 1 is tracking to plan despite an aggressive deployment schedule. Both companies are working diligently to meet our business needs,” adds Auger.

“The CVS/ Caremark project represents a strategic foundation for their global business in the coming years,” says Nehme Taouk, chief executive officer of Soft Solutions. “We are confident that we meet their requirements in terms of business, time, expertise and quality due to our product maturity and experience in delivering complex projects the past 20 years,” adds Taouk.

Soft Solutions’ team continues the implementation with both CVS/Caremark and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) teams, leveraging the work done together in 2007 in terms of data quality and integration.

March Networks Completes Acquisition of Cieffe

March Networks has completed the acquisition of Cieffe S.p.A. and its related company, Insignis Technologies S.r.l. Cieffe, based in Milan, Italy, develops high performance IP video surveillance solutions.

The acquisition was completed in accordance with the definitive agreement originally announced on January 30, 2008, with a payment of 14 million Euro in cash plus the issuance of 1,019,252 March Networks common shares to the vendors. Including acquisition expenses, the total cash consideration for the acquisition will be approximately CAD 24 million plus any amounts paid in respect of a two year revenue-based earn-out of up to 10 million Euro. Cieffe’s founder and CEO, Fabrizio Colciago, will continue as managing director of March Networks’ European operations and lead the ongoing growth of the company within the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

March Networks is a provider of intelligent IP video and business analysis applications that enable organizations to reduce losses, mitigate risks and improve security and operational efficiency.

Haggen Adds Centralized Pricing and Data Management

Haggen, a 33-store regional grocer based in Bellingham, Wash., selects Retalix HQ to replace its legacy pricing system. The grocer uses the Retalix HQ, a centralized, rules-based pricing and inventory management solution, to help it control authorized items, costs and prices. The system also helps standardize the company’s pricing best-practice disciplines for consistent execution of its price strategy. Features include multiple module configurations, which enable the grocer to implement a point solution for pricing, or an enterprise-wide merchandising and execution system.

“The Retalix solution is the clear market leader in its category, with a proven track record in the grocery business as an end-to-end solution,” said Harrison Lewis, vice president and CIO of Haggen. “Retalix HQ will enable us to more efficiently manage our item and vendor information while aiding in the successful implementation of our pricing automation and optimization initiatives.”

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