Amazon still exploring ‘cashier-less’ checkout projects
Don’t expect Amazon to stop experimenting with cashier-less grocery stores anytime soon.
Despite announcing in June it would acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, the online giant will continue evolving its Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go concepts, among other efforts. Its goal: to reinvent the way consumers shop for food, according to Business Insider.
According to the report, Amazon officials said the company is still determining how customers want to shop for groceries. Until they learn which solutions make sense, Amazon has no plans to shut down any of its current experiments in grocery sales and delivery.
“We'll see how the customers respond. We believe there will be no one solution,” Brian Olsavsky, Amazon's chief financial officer, said on the company’s second quarter earnings call.
The online giant experienced big sales for the quarter, but they weren't enough to offset a big drop in earnings. Net income for the second quarter, ended June 30, was $197 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared with net income of $857 million, or $1.78 per diluted share, in second quarter 2016. Earnings also drastically missed analyst expectations of $1.42 per share, according to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters.
Net sales climbed 25% to $38.0 billion, compared with $30.4 billion in the second quarter of 2016. Excluding the $502 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 26% compared with second quarter 2016.
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Department store chain improves inventory accuracy with RFID
The Bon-Ton Stores is speeding up how it restocks merchandise.
The department store chain is replacing its manual, paper-based restocking process with a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based system. The solution, from Zebra, enables store associates to fully restock merchandise displays in a fraction of the time — a move that increases productivity and enables associates to spend more time servicing shoppers.
As soon as associates arrive for their shift in the morning, they scan the selling floor using the RFID-enabled readers to compare items on display against on-hand inventories. This process helps them identify missing items that should be on the sales floor. According to store audits, up to 20% of merchandise in certain categories might be missing from the sales floor during a given week, resulting in missed sales opportunities.
The solution also allows store associates to scan and tag new merchandise as it first arrives in-store so it can be immediately placed on display, leading to quicker item availability for shoppers and increased sales. The RFID technology also provides deeper visibility into what merchandise is available at all times, which increases inventory management efficiencies.
The solution is available in more than 180 Bon-Ton department stores.
“We look forward to expanding this rollout to include additional use cases across all of our stores in support of our omnichannel strategy to support our customers’ changing shopping habits,” said Lisa Celebre, VP of store operations, The Bon-Ton Stores.
Bon-Ton Stores operates 261 stores in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains regions under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers banners.
Aldi’s newest fulfillment center planned for Arizona
A German discount grocer is buying up land in the Grand Canyon State — but not to open stores.
Aldi is planning to open a regional fulfillment center in Goodyear, Arizona. The facility will house an office and distribution center, and will create 132 jobs, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.
Aldi is purchasing 27 acres of land from Goodyear for $3.6 million, and another 42 acres from developer Sunbelt Holdings. The facility is expected to open by 2020, although the timeline could change, the report said.
The new facility is positioned to support Aldi’s aggressive nationwide store expansion. With plans on becoming the third-largest American food retailer by store count, behind Walmart and Kroger, Aldi said it plans to invest $3.4 billion to open 900 stores by the end of 2022, giving it 2,500 stores nationwide.
The grocer currently operates approximately 1,600 stores in 35 U.S. states. Earlier this year, Aldi announced it would invest $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 of its stores by 2020.
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