Aldata Solution introduced a series of enhancements to its Aldata G.O.L.D. Core Retail Suite. First, the company added product information management capabilities to its item- and price-management module. The addition will enable buyers to bring items into their supply chain more quickly, as well as locally manage items, sites and vendors.
The suite’s new Distribution Center Capacity Planning Module supports accurate forecasting of promotional demand and allows for better allocation of forecasting quantities based on store need.
Aldata also upgraded the suite’s mobile functionality to bolster store ordering, inventory management, out-of-stock management and retail price management to be executed via handheld devices. These enhancements also support integration to most label printers so companies can print new price tags in real time. www.aldata-solution.com
Innovative Office Products
Retailers now have three new point-of-sale mounting arms to support front-end peripherals. The options, provided by Innovative Office Products, Easton, Pa., promise to save space, protect technology and enhance the store-level landscape.
The 9183 adjustable countertop mount can be adjusted with an integrated knob on its telescoping tube, and can be pivoted or turned to suit the user’s needs. It is available in three telescope heights: 11 to 15 inches, 15 to 23 inches and 23 to 29 inches.
The 9189 adjustable through-counter mount has an arm tube that passes through the counter to provide a secure mount for displays. The unit, which can be pivoted or turned, also comes in three sizes: adjustable from 7 to 12 inches, 7 to 24 inches and 7 to 36 inches.
Finally, the 9190 compact countertop mount is perfect for smaller work areas. The unit’s space-saving arm allows for quick adjustment of monitor tilt.
All POS products feature secure cable management to protect IT hardware investments, quick and easy installation, adjustable heights and angles to accommodate users of all sizes, and durable, retail-hardened products to withstand intense usage. www.lcdarms.com
Come to the Supply Chain Summit and Climb Aboard a Container Ship!
The Supply Chain Summit will cap its program with a tour of the Port of Oakland, Calif. Attendees will tour APL’s Middle Harbor Terminal to get a firsthand view of operations and the technologies involved in making it all work. They will board the APL Thailand, a U.S. Flag, C11 Class, 4800 TEU container vessel, to get an up-close and personal look at how goods are transported from the far corners of the globe. Don’t miss this opportunity to see and experience global logistics in action!
The theme of the Supply Chain Summit is “Supply Chain for Retail: Creating & Enhancing the Customer Experience.”
The Summit will feature presentations from Best Buy, Walgreens, Tractor Supply, Crate & Barrel, Welch’s, VF Corporation, New Balance, Marks & Spencer, ChainLink Research and more.
The Summit will be held June 25-27 at the Claremont Resort & Spa, Berkeley, Calif., overlooking San Francisco Bay.
The Supply Chain Summit is jointly produced by Chain Store Age and ChainLink Research. Sponsors include Avery Dennison, GT Nexus, Marsh, Red Prairie and T3Ci.
For more information on the Summit, visit www.csasupplychainsummit.com.
Weekly Retail Fix
THE NEWS: SAM’S REALIGNS STORE-LEVEL MANAGEMENT
BENTONVILLE, ARK. Sam’s Club is changing the management structure in its stores. In the realignment, approximately 250 positions will be eliminated, Wal-Mart Stores announced last week. The company said it’s replacing five lower level management positions at each Sam’s Club location with three new higher level and higher paying assistant manager positions. —
“This is not a cost cutting effort. We expect a slight increase in payroll upon completion of this change,” said Sharon Orlopp, senior vp of Sam’s people division.
THE FIX: Differentiation would better help Sam’s
Since Sam’s decided that its refocus on the business customer was too narrow, it has sought to find ways to make its clubs more attractive to primary shoppers, i.e., women. And that’s a pretty tough row to hoe, as Costco has done a pretty good job at satisfying the club customer in general and BJ’s has been going after female shoppers for several years now, with some success.
Having fewer managers with more direct responsibility could create a tighter knit club-level management and shorten lines of responsibility and accountability. Yet, without differentiating the offering, execution isn’t going to overcome all of Sam’s challenges.
That being said, a store-level management realignment might be overlooked at other retailers, but, this being Wal-Mart, everyone has to make a big deal about it. But that’s the price you pay as the big guy on the block.
Weekly Retail Fix
THE NEWS: TOYS ‘R’ US EARNINGS GAIN 40.1%
WAYNE, N.J. Toys “R” Us today posted net earnings of $199 million for its critical fourth quarter, which meant it turned a profit for the fiscal year ended Feb. 3. But special charges and gains had an impact on its numbers. —
Sales for the previous fiscal annum were $142 million, the difference translating into a net earnings increase of 40.1% year over year. For the last fiscal year, Toys “R” Us posted net earnings of $85 million versus a net loss of $384 million for the previous period.
Operating earnings in the fiscal 2006 fourth quarter gained 53.1% to $571 million versus $373 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005. For the last fiscal year, operating earnings were $649 million versus an operating loss of $142 million for the previous period.
THE FIX: Improved shopper experience ups comps
Of course, any observer has to take into consideration special financial circumstances. Fiscal 2006 operating earnings were positively impacted by $96 million from gains on property sales, slightly offset by restructuring and other charges. In fiscal 2005, operating earnings were negatively impacted by $410 million in costs relating to the merger of the company, as well as $58 million of costs and charges relating to contract settlement fees, restructuring and other charges.
Still, sales were trending up at last year’s end. Net sales gained 15.8% to $5.7 billion. In the full fiscal year, net sales advanced to $13 billion, up 15.2%.
Comparable-store sales for the Toys “R” Us’ U.S. division gained 0.6% in fiscal 2006, and that represents the division’s first comps increase in six years. Comps at Babies “R” Us were up 4.8% and those at Toys “R” Us international were up 2.6% for the fiscal year.
Jerry Storch, chairman and ceo of Toys “R” Us, said the company is “pleased with the strides we made in fiscal 2006 to improve at all levels of the organization and reposition the company for profitable growth over the long term.”
He said the company’s new management team has been focusing on executing a strategy that would turn the retailer into a global toy and baby products authority.
“This translated into higher overall sales, positive comparable-store sales, improved gross margins and strong operating earnings growth for the 2006 fiscal year,” Storch asserted. “The key to our strategy has been improving the customer shopping experience in our stores. We are accomplishing this by delivering a more compelling merchandise selection, better service and a cleaner and more comfortable shopping environment.”