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Industry News - April 17, 2008



METRO Group Expands RFID Roll-out

METRO Group is deploying Sirit's INfinity 510 UHF RFID reader and Reva's TAP 331 appliance as part of the recently announced expanded rollout at METRO Group's Real brand hypermarket stores. The 200 Real locations will be equipped with Checkpoint portals powered by Sirit readers at the loading doors to track incoming goods. Reva's RFID network infrastructure will be installed at each location to provide device management and data processing.

Sirit's INfinity 510 readers will be used to track pallets and cases as they arrive at the stores to improve supply chain efficiency. Reva's TAP 331 appliances will be used to manage the distributed network of RFID installations, to produce accurate data from each site, and to provide rapid operator feedback during logistics operations. This 200-location rollout builds on last October's successful implementation during which Sirit readers were deployed at 100 Real hypermarkets and Reva TAPs were installed at all RFID-enabled facilities.

"We believe in providing exceptional customer service, and that starts with having the right items in the right places at the right times," said Dr. Gerd Wolfram, managing director of MGI METRO Group Information Technology. "RFID is a powerful tool for improved inventory management which will have a positive impact on customer experiences at our Real stores. Reva and Sirit deliver the RFID infrastructure we can rely on today and in the future to build even more value for our customers and operations."

METRO Group has been a pioneer in the use of RFID in the retail industry since 2004 when the company announced it would begin using RFID throughout its supply chain to improve inventory visibility and to enhance the customer's shopping experience. Both Sirit and Reva Systems have been involved in METRO Group's RFID activities from the outset, having been involved in the Future Store Initiative, several pilots, and now the Real expanded roll-out.

Burlington Coat Factory Selects Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing Application

Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse selects QuantiSense for its business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing solution and has begun implementation within its merchandising operations.

With almost 400 stores nationwide and aggressive growth plans, Burlington embarked on a BI and data warehousing initiative in order to gain more merchandising insight, further streamline its reporting process, and continue to improve the quality and timeliness of its analytics. Burlington Coat Factory operates a complex merchandising mix that includes more than 10 million SKUs and multiple divisions, ranging from apparel and footwear to baby furniture and home décor. The company sought a BI solution that would put analytics and reporting in the hands of business users, allowing them to quickly access critical business information.

Burlington Coat Factory evaluated 13 vendors and chose QuantiSense based on the company's exclusive focus on the retail industry, the use of industry standard hardware and software components, the ability for QuantiSense to handle the complexities of retail, and the ability for the QuantiSense software to be quickly implemented.

"Businesses today can't afford to wait 18 months to implement a solution," said Brad Friedman, Senior Vice President of Information Services, Burlington Coat Factory."QuantiSense showed extraordinary responsiveness to our needs and quickly rose to the top in our evaluation process."

QuantiSense software provides the retail-ready, online analytical tools that will help Burlington continue to improve its merchandising analytics. QuantiSense will enable Burlington Coat Factory to improve the consistency and timeliness of its data through role-based dashboards, exception reporting that pinpoints problems and opportunities, and QuantiSense Playbooks, which capture retail best practices and guide users to take immediate action to improve their business. QuantiSense will source data from Burlington's homegrown systems as well as NSB for planning.

The QuantiSense application provides both IT and business benefits to Burlington Coat Factory, including:

* Strong merchandising analytics: The QuantiSense application will give Burlington Coat Factory the merchandising analytics it requires, out of the box."QuantiSense has a very thorough understanding of merchandising," said Tara Newhall, Vice President of Merchandise Planning Operations, Burlington Coat Factory.

* Elimination of manual reporting tools: Through dashboards, exception reporting and Playbooks, QuantiSense software will eliminate the need for Excel spreadsheets and manual aggregation of data for reports. The QuantiSense application will allow Burlington's users to "work how they think," with stream of consciousness navigation and drill-down capabilities.

* Fast implementation. Burlington Coat Factory closely evaluated the underlying technology of the QuantiSense application -everything from installing the software to the ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) processes - in order to determine the resources that would be required for implementation.

"We evaluated the overall level of effort required by both the vendor of choice and our internal resources to get the decision support application up and running," said Friedman. "QuantiSense will bring us a fast time to market in business intelligence."

JoS. A. Bank Clothiers Reports Record FY 2007 Results

JoS. A. Bank Clothiers announces record results for its fiscal year ended February 2, 2008. Net sales reached a record of $604.0 million in fiscal year 2007, representing a 10.5% gain as compared with net sales of $546.4 million in fiscal year 2006. The Company ended fiscal year 2007 with no debt and $82.1 million of cash.

Fiscal year 2007 contained 52 weeks and fiscal year 2006 contained 53 weeks, consistent with the National Retail Federation's 4-5-4 week calendar. Total net sales and Direct Marketing sales comparisons presented herein use the actual number of weeks in each fiscal period. Comparable store sales comparisons presented herein use the corresponding weeks in the comparable prior fiscal period.
Comparing the 52 weeks of fiscal year 2007 with the 53 weeks of fiscal year 2006, total net sales increased 10.5% to $604.0 million from $546.4 million and Direct Marketing sales increased 13.1%. Comparing the 52 weeks of fiscal year 2007 with the first 52 weeks of fiscal year 2006, comparable store sales increased 3.8%.

American Apparel Deploys RFID at the Item-Level

American Apparel rolls out radio frequency identification (RFID) at the item-level. The apparel retailer tracks individual items as they are tagged at the company’s manufacturing facility in Los Angeles, received in its retail stores, stored in the stock rooms at the stores, and then placed onto the sales floor and ultimately sold at the point-of-sale (POS).

By using an item-level RFID system, American Apparel is able to fulfill its vision of consistently offering merchandise in every size and color on store floors at all times, creating a more rewarding customer experience and simplifying the inventory process for in-store staff. Store associates can now take inventory much more quickly and with greater accuracy. Replenishment activities have been dramatically improved resulting in on-floor availability at over 99%. Weekly inventory processes can now be accomplished with just two people in two hours instead of requiring four people for eight hours as previously needed. As a result, store associates have more time to service customers and improve store merchandising in order to make sought out items easier to find.

Known for its vertically integrated business model and “Made in Downtown LA” clothing, the company deploys the integrated solution delivered by Vue Technology is comprised of TrueVUE hardware and software products, fixed and mobile RFID readers and antennas from Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility business, and tags and printers from Avery Dennison.

The initial deployment of American Apparel’s roll-out took place at the company’s Columbia University location in New York City. To date, over 40,000 individual pieces of merchandise have been tagged so that store personnel can use fixed and mobile RFID readers to track inventory on a real-time basis, contributing to a well-stocked store and improving customer service through timely responses to customer questions regarding in-store merchandise.

“American Apparel takes pride in being a vertically-integrated manufacturer, distributor and retailer of fashionable, high-quality basics, and we embrace any technology that allows us to further realize this vision to better serve our customers,” said Zander Livingston, RFID technology director for American Apparel. “We look forward to deploying the technology on a larger scale so that our entire organization can leverage the value of RFID to improve overall inventory management processes and enhance our customers’ shopping experience.”

By deploying the technology in additional stores, American Apparel expects to increase sales and customer service by having real-time visibility into product at nearby stores, enhancing the intra-store transfer process to balance stock. Furthermore, the retailer will be able to respond more efficiently to market behavior by using RFID to record and report on purchases, not only within one location, but across a region of stores.

American Apparel plans to implement its RFID inventory system across each of its 17 stores in the New York metropolitan area over the next three months, with plans to eventually deploy the solution to an additional 120 North American locations.

Deb Shops Implement Nationwide Loss Prevention Service

Deb Shops implement a full-service program designed to tackle loss prevention at all angles, from detection through examination, awareness, resolution, compliance and prevention. The system, by LP Innovations, provides Deb Shops with access to a nationwide network of loss prevention specialists trained to reduce the stores shrink and operational costs; increase the presence of LP experts in each store; and enable the organization to adopt a proactive stance against shrink.

Specifically designed to help retailers protect profits, LP Innovations program provides Deb Shops with the following:
Control & Compliance Audits & Store Visits
Target Store Program
Associate Training & Awareness Program
Loss Prevention Awareness Kits
Exception-Based Reporting Solution
LP101 Training Meetings

“We chose to partner with LP Innovations because of their reputation to respect and seamlessly integrate into corporate cultures such as ours, and their commitment to customer service‚ said Barry Susson, Chief Financial Officer of Deb Shops. “We look forward to leveraging nationwide talent and expertise to strengthen our operations and improve our profitability.


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