OPERATIONS

Bloom implements iPhone application

BY Staff Writer

Salisbury, N.C. — Grocery chain Bloom said Tuesday it has introduced a free iPhone application that will allow its customers to access weekly specials, search recipes, manage shopping lists and find their nearest Bloom.

"At Bloom, we look for opportunities to leverage technology to enhance our guests shopping experience," said Tammy DeBoer, VP of Bloom. "This new mobile application, from Mercatus, is user-friendly and makes it easy for our shoppers to connect with us and plan family meals."

The new mobile application, developed in partnership with Mercatus Technologies, gives guests easy access to weekly specials with the capabilities to build and manage virtual shopping lists and view delicious recipes through the grocer’s Taste Mapper system.

Bloom is a subsidiary of Brussels-based Delhaize Group and operates 49 stores in the Southeast Virginia and Washington, D.C., areas.

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OPERATIONS

Belk selects Oracle Retail for merchandising system

BY Staff Writer

Redwood Shores, Calif. — Belk department store said Tuesday that it has selected Oracle Retail Merchandising System to enable a seamless, non-channel view of the brand both in-store and online.

“We are enabling next generation best practices that will center on optimizing the customer experience at both the store and ecommerce level,” said Mike Laurenti, CIO and executive VP, Belk.

The implementation of Oracle Retail is part of a larger company-wide initiative in which Belk is revamping or replacing core processes and operations supporting its e-commerce site and 304 stores in 16 southern states.

Belk said it expects to use the Oracle Retail applications to develop next generation practices across its core merchandising operations, creating a foundation that will allow the business to better sense and respond to customer demand through improvements in allocation and replenishment.

The IT transformation coincides with a major rebranding campaign and establishes a technology foundation that will enable the retailer to optimize performance and embrace new business opportunities, it said.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Retail theft up

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Retailers lost $37.14 billion to theft last year, or 1.58% of retail sales, up from 1.44% in 2009, according to preliminary results of the National Retail Security Survey. The annual survey is conducted by the University of Florida for the National Retail Federation, with funding from ADT Commercial.

As in previous years, employee theft accounted for the largest (approximately 44%) portion of the losses. Shoplifting and organized retail crime was second, with 33%. Administrative errors, vendor fraud and unknown causes make up the rest.

The survey also asked retailers what cities were the most problematic for organized retail crime rings. The top cities, in alphabetical order, are: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New York/northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

Loss prevention executives say senior retail leadership is more likely to understand how organized retail crime impacts the company’s bottom line as they zoom in on controlling costs in these challenging economic times.

Over half of survey respondents (58.3%) believe their top management understands organized retail crime, up 16% over last year. As a result, the survey found, many companies are allocating additional resources — including more personnel and greater investment in technology — to fight the problem.

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