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Today’s Top Stories From Fierce Retail


FierceRetail January 22, 2016

1. Macy’s finds omnichannel success with RFID

2. RadioShack loses CEO

3. Kmart debuts Pharmacy Savings Plus

4. Publix to open on college campus

5. Amazon expands Prime Now in Chicago

Also Noted

Amazon’s apparel category numbers 30 million items

Stories from around the Web

News from the Marketing & Retail Industry



Today’s Top News

1. Macy’s finds omnichannel success with RFID

Friday, January 22, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Macy’s is turning to RFID to support omnichannel initiatives, specifically its “Pick to the Last Unit” (P2LU) program. The retailer will use Tyco Retail Solutions’ inventory visibility platform to access its full inventory throughout its entire store base.

Macy’s is using stores to support online orders, particularly those for single items, essentially using the real estate as flexible warehouses.

RFID supports item-level identification, so Macy’s can focus on product assortment and service while using existing inventory to address fulfillment demands. Changes to inventory management supporting this omnichannel strategy have allowed Macy’s to reduce $1 billion of inventory from its stores.

Macy’s P2LU program makes available the last unit of an item in any store, and RFID locates it. According to Tyco, retailers don’t typically expose the last item of a SKU to online purchasing because they don’t have enough confidence in their inventory accuracy or ability to find the item to make every unit available for customer orders.

“About 15 to 20 percent of inventory is accounted for by the last unit in the store,” noted Peter Longo, president of logistics and operations at Macy’s. “It’s a massive amount of budget, either marked down or not sold, and it is curable through RFID.”

Macy’s (NYSE:M) initially conducted a P2LU test with women’s dresses. Fulfillment sales at pilot stores were up significantly over the prior year and markdowns improved compared to non-pilot stores, according to the company. In addition to a sales lift on regular and first markdowns, inventory costs are being reduced by lowering interim inventory requirements by one-third.

“Macy’s is a great example of how item-level RFID bolsters inventory optimization and opens up a world of possibilities for omnichannel fulfillment success,” said Nancy Chisholm, president, Tyco Retail Solutions. “By utilizing our unique RFID Inventory Visibility offering, Macy’s has a complete view of enterprisewide inventory to satisfy customer demand and achieve their ‘buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere’ vision. It not only allows them to enhance the overall customer experience, but also to maximize revenue opportunities from omnichannel programs.”

RFID is emerging as the key to omnichannel success, letting retailers view inventory down to the item and location. Large chains such as Target are using RFID for fulfillment and in-store promotions, while brands like Levi’s are using it tosolve inventory visibility issues.

For more:
-See this press release from Tyco Retail Solutions

Related stories:
Macy’s Lundgren talks digital transformation
Macy’s under pressure, again
Macy’s announces closure of 40 stores, staff cuts
Macy’s Lundgren stands up to the critics
Macy’s could close stores, redevelop flagships

2. RadioShack loses CEO

Friday, January 22, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Ron Garriques has left his post as CEO of RadioShack after less than a year helming the company, stepping down to “pursue other interests.”

Garriques joined RadioShack in April after the company was acquired out of bankruptcy by New York–based hedge fund Standard General. He succeed Joe Magnacca as CEO, who recently joined Massage Envy as its CEO.

During his brief stint with RadioShack, Garriques announced new store designs and brought in celebrity Nick Cannon as the retailer’s chief creative officer.

Michael Tatelman, Chief Marketing Officer, told the Star-Telegram in a recent interview that RadioShack’s focus is on digital expansion and a better curated product selection at key locations. It also cobranded 1,400 locations with Sprint.

Chief Financial Officer Gordon Briscoe will serve as interim CEO until the company’s board finds a permanent replacement.

Chief Revenue Officer Marty Amschler is also stepping down and will be replaced by Todd Schrader as VP of stores and Tom Maria as VP of store operations, according to the report.

For more:
-Read this Star-Telegram article

Related stories:
RadioShack alive and tweeting
Standard General acquires RadioShack, appoints new CEO
Sprint opens 1,400 cobranded RadioShack stores
RadioShack selling brand and locations separately
RadioShack pushing for faster sale of assets
RadioShack may be down, but it’s not totally out

3. Kmart debuts Pharmacy Savings Plus

Friday, January 22, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Kmart (NASDAQ:SHLD) has unveiled its new Pharmacy Savings Plus, a program designed to help Kmart shoppers who are uninsured or underinsured and who pay cash for some or all of their prescriptions, to save on prescriptions and other pharmacy products and services.

The program is not free. Shoppers enroll at a Kmart pharmacy in one of two membership plans: an individual membership for $10 per year or a household membership for $15 per year.

Program features include offering the 10 most commonly prescribed drugs for $3 each, similar to a Sam’s Club program. Members also receive 10 percent off prescribed pet medications and 25 percent off immunizations, plus additional savings offerings each quarter.

Kmart is tying Pharmacy Savings Plus to its Shop Your Way loyalty program. For every five prescriptions filled, shoppers get $10 in Shop Your Way points to use on qualifying purchases in store or online.

The retailer introduced a pharmacy rewards program tied to Shop Your Way in April, but this version lets shoppers do more than earn points.

This is not an insurance program, but rather one offering discounts that is closely linked with an existing loyalty program, one that Kmart and its parent company Sears Holdings are using to drive more sales from its best customers.

For more:
-See this Kmart announcement

Related stories:
Sears to shutter some Kmart stores
Kmart rewards night owls, adds Black Wednesday and Freebie Saturday 
Kmart introduces pharmacy rewards program
Kmart rebranding Ohio store with K-Fresh concept
Kmart brings back the Blue Light Special

4. Publix to open on college campus

Friday, January 22, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Publix Super Markets is joining the growing list of retailers opening smaller stores targeted to younger shoppers. The grocer will debut its first on-campus location at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

The 29,000-sq. ft. unit is part of a public-private partnership and will be fully integrated into a student housing village on the campus, according to NBC affiliate WFLA. Construction will begin later this year and the store opening is slated for late 2017.

When completed there will be room for more than 10,000 students in the housing portion, and Publix has pledged to conduct job fairs and hire qualified candidates from the student body.

Walmart may be backing off its small format expansion, but other retailers are not. Specifically, Target has announced a two-year schedule to open more small stores, many of which are also on or near college campuses with a specialized merchandise mix aimed at younger shoppers.

For more:
-See this WFLA report

Related stories:
Publix CEO to retire
Publix expands grocery delivery to Atlanta
Publix offers shoppers biometric screenings
Amazon, Publix, Whole Foods top retail’s most reputable list
Publix, Aldi top customer experience survey

5. Amazon expands Prime Now in Chicago

Friday, January 22, 2016 | By Laura Heller

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to expand the delivery benefits offered to Amazon Prime members, adding free restaurant delivery in parts of the Chicago market as part of Prime Now.

Chicago is the sixth market to add the food delivery service, and Prime members in 18 city zip codes can partake of delivery from several popular restaurants. Amazon Prime Now also offers grocery delivery in Chicago from Plum Market, My Fit Foods and Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Amazon’s membership is growing fast and now has close to 41 million members—some 38 percent of U.S. households, according to a new survey by Cowen. The retailer added 3 million new members in a single week leading up to Christmas.

Prime members also tend to skew younger and wealthier, and the recent restaurant additions in Chicago look to be targeted at that very group. The participating restaurants include places popular with hipsters and foodies like Big Star and Stan’s Donuts. One Off Hospitality Group’s (Big Star) Kimberly Galban told Eater that the service “will likely change the restaurant delivery market in Chicago.”

For more:
-See this Eater story

Related stories:
38% of US households use Amazon Prime
Amazon Marketplace grew 40% on Cyber Monday
Amazon captures 50% of retail sales growth
Inside Amazon’s urban warehouse
Amazon Fire sales are on fire

Also Noted

Amazon’s apparel category numbers 30 million items

Amazon has been expanding apparel offerings as the online retailer seeks to grow its fashion business. And now the apparel and accessories category has ballooned to 30 million items, more than the total number of items found in 250 Walmart supercenters. Story

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