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Canadian grocer ups the ante on analytics

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Eager to take advantage of an increasing amount of customer-specific big data, Sobeys is adding a new analytics platform.

The Canadian grocer has entered into a long-term strategic relationship with IRI, a move that will enable Sobeys to unify all data in a centralized location. By leveraging the IRI Liquid Data technology and its Unify visualization platform, the grocer’s eight retail food formats will be able to integrate and report on transaction, loyalty card, promotional and other data sources.

Sobeys’ supplier partners also will have web-based access to intuitive, flexible and fast insights in the new Sobeys Collaborative Gateway, a conduit specifically designed to drive actions and alerts in to key collaborative business processes.

Through the agreement, IRI’s regionally-based client service teams will support suppliers’ data and insight analyses, along with Sobeys’ use of advanced price and promotion analytics, allowing business partners to further enhancing marketing and merchandising activities.

Sobeys expects the technology, advanced analytics, and training, “to enhance our position as our shoppers’ preferred retailer,” said Ray Hepworth, VP of the Centre of Excellence, category management optimization for Sobeys.

Sobeys operates approximately 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners, including Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Price Chopper, Thrifty Foods and Lawtons Drugs.

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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.

Click here to read more.

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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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