ABC Stores automates Hawaiian warehouse with Voice Picking
Irvine, Calif.— C-store operator ABC Stores selected DecisionPoint Systems to automate its Hawaiian warehouse operation using Wavelink's Speakeasy voice picking technology. The move reduced picking errors and increased efficiencies by 40%, prompting the retailer to look at further deployment.
"It's important for an organization like ABC Stores, as it is for most businesses, to increase the efficiency and accuracy of their operations while improving the performance of its workforce," said DecisionPoint senior VP Software Services Greg Henry. "Our goal was to install a voice picking solution for ABC Stores that was easy to learn and use, and helped the entire organization to be more successful. Working with our partner, Wavelink, we accomplished this goal.”
ABC Stores operates 70-plus convenience stores that span the Pacific.
Retail imports set records despite West Coast port issues
Washington —Import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to slow down this month following record levels seen in September and October as retailers rushed to bring merchandise into the country ahead of a possible shutdown of West Coast ports, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“Retailers have done all they can to stock their shelves and build up inventories in case the worst should happen,” said NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold. “We believe it’s time for President Obama to send in a federal mediator and do what it takes to reach an agreement that will work to the benefit of not just labor and management but all the businesses and consumers who depend on these ports.”
Import volume at U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report is expected to total 1.4 million containers this month, down from 1.59 million each in September and October, a number that broke the previous monthly high of 1.52 million set in August. Cargo volume has been well above average each month since spring as retailers have imported merchandise early in case of any disruption on the docks.
The contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired on July 1, prompting concerns about potential disruptions that could affect holiday merchandise. The lack of a contract and other operational issues have led to crisis-level congestion at the ports in recent weeks, prompting concern of a shutdown. NRF and more than 100 other business groups last week asked President Obama to send a federal mediator to help with negotiations.
The 1.59 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units handled in September, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available, was up 5.2% from August and 10.9% from September 2013. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent.
October was estimated at 1.59 million TEU, within about 3,000 containers of September’s level and up 11% from the same month last year. November’s forecast of 1.4 million TEU would be up 3.9% from last year, and December is forecast at 1.36 million TEU, up 3.3%. Those numbers would bring 2014 to a total of 17.3 million TEU, an increase of 6.4% over 2013’s 16.2 million. Imports in 2012 totaled 15.8 million.
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.
Target opening 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving; reveals extra-early Black Friday deals, extended hours
Minneapolis —The competition for the holiday shopper continues with the news that Target Corp. is kicking off the holiday season extra early this year, with plans to offer early access to Black Friday deals for one-day only on Nov. 10, a pre-sale on Nov. 26, and a 6 p.m. store opening on Thanksgiving evening.
Also, on Black Friday, Nov. 28, from 6 a.m. to noon, shoppers can purchase up to $300 in Target gift cards at 10% off. It’s the first time the retailer has discounted gift cards.
Target stores will close on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at 9 or 10 p.m. Closed on Christmas Day, stores will reopen on Dec. 26 at 7 a.m.
Mindful of the criticism surrounding employees being made to work on Thanksgiving Day, Target said that all hourly work who work on Thanksgiving (and other holidays) will be payed equal to time and a half their hourly rate. The chain also said that associates who work certain shifts on Thanksgiving and Black Friday will receive additional compensation on top of holiday premium pay.
Using its mobile Cartwheel app, shoppers will also have access to additional Black Friday deals between Nov. 23 and Nov. 29. REDcard holders will continue to receive an extra 5 percent off all of their purchases.
For the first time on Nov. 10 only, a selection of top Black Friday doorbuster deals will be available at Target.com for shoppers using Store Pickup. To get the deals, shoppers select an eligible item on Target.com and choose Store Pickup when placing their order. Shoppers will receive an email notification when the order is received and again when it is ready for pickup.
Throughout the holiday season, Cartwheel is offering 50% off a different toy every day. Additionally, from Nov. 23 to 29, Cartwheel will feature exclusive deals, including at least 25% off more than 100 offers. Top deals include:
On Wednesday, Nov. 26, Target stores and Target.com will offer a handful of Black Friday deals early to shoppers. On Thanksgiving, special deals will be available early.
At 6 p.m. on Nov. 27, Thanksgiving, Target stores will open for Black Friday shoppers. The first several hundred shoppers waiting in line at Target stores across the nation on Thursday, Nov. 27 will receive a Christmas cracker, which will include a Target GiftCard or coupon.
Additional Saturday-only deals will be available in Target stores and online on Saturday, Nov. 29.
Beginning Cyber Monday, Dec. 1, Target will offer deals on more than 100,000 items on sale throughout the week. The offers will include category-wide sales in key gifting areas and steep discounts on apparel, toys, housewares and major brands.
Target will offer extended store hours throughout the holiday season for guest convenience:
• Nov. 27-28: 6 p.m. (Thursday) to 11 p.m. or midnight (Friday)
• Dec. 24: 7 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m.
• Dec. 25: closed
• Dec. 26: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 11 p.m. or midnight