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Alibaba turns sights to brick-and-mortar

BY CSA STAFF

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is making a play for a department store and mall operator in China.

The company made a $2.6 billion bid for Intime Retail, with a plan to take it private, reported the New York Times. Alibaba already owns a 28% stake in the company, which operates 29 department stores and 17 shopping malls in China, mainly in first- and second-tier cities.

Similar to Amazon, Alibaba believes that physical retailers will remain relevant and can be improved with technology, the report said.

“Brick-and-mortar businesses will be able to create value for consumers if they are integrated with the power of mobile reach, real-time consumer insights, and technology capability to improve operating efficiency,” Daniel Zhang, Alibaba CEO said in a news release.

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Another department store retailer cuts sales outlook in wake of gloomy holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

Hudson's Bay Co. is the latest department store retailer to report weak holiday sales.

The Canadian retailer, whose banners include Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, reported a 0.7% decrease in consolidated comparable sales in the nine-week holiday selling period that ended Dec. 31.

"On a constant currency basis, the comparable sales trend improved for the company overall and across every banner, led by strong digital sales growth of 21.7% at our department store banners,” stated CEO Jerry Storch. “However, the sales improvement that we experienced was not strong enough to achieve the results we had expected. While we were pleased with our performance at Hudson's Bay in Canada, the retail environment has remained challenging in the U.S. and Europe and the significant promotional activity during the holiday period had a negative impact on our margins.”

Hudson's Bay now forecast 2016 sales of C$14.4 billion-C$14.6 billion ($10.90 billion-$11.05 billion), compared with its reduced guidance of C$14.5 billion-C$14.9 billion in November.

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C-store giant prepares for POS change

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

With an eye on customer engagement, 7-Eleven is upgrading its point-of-sale fleet chainwide.

7-Eleven entered into an agreement with NEC, making the technology company its exclusive POS provider. Overall, 8,600 7-Eleven stores throughout the United States and Canada will be outfitted with the TwinPOS G5100, a POS system that also features a sleek, durable customer display to run promotions, share information, and create a personalized shopping experience.

“We wanted to reach tech-savvy customers with a POS system that would streamline operations and improve customer engagement,” said Raj Ka-poor, CIO and senior VP at 7-Eleven. “Providing an engaging digital in-store experience is something we are investing in for the long-term and NEC has the best POS hardware and software to take us there.”

As part of the agreement, NEC will offer full service desk and mainte-nance support for the next five years. This fully integrated development and support service will help 7-Eleven provide an engaging customer ex-perience while offering an attractive lower total cost of its POS systems and equipment.

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