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The Cellular Connection implements RetailNext store analytics

BY Dan Berthiaume

Camdenton, Mo. – The Cellular Connection, a 300-unit national operator of Verizon Wireless stores, has selected RetailNext to develop staffing models, help with store design by analyzing customer’s path to purchase, and monitor traffic and conversion rates to help gauge the success of advertising campaigns. This will include testing and optimizing store layouts and product placements for their interactive touch screens, device wall, KidZone, and smart accessories (e.g. headsets, speakers, etc.) in order to offer customers the best in-store experience.

With RetailNext, TCC hopes to gain insights into where customers spend time in the store and how patterns connect to conversions at the register.

“RetailNext provided people counting plus a full suite of in-store analytics products that empower TCC to leverage a single system for traffic and conversion monitoring, shopper engagement, staffing models, loss prevention, POS exception reporting, and interior shopper analytics through the shopper’s path to purchase,” said Jason Buck, TCC VP of marketing. “Through RetailNext’s unified platform, we can gain valuable intel like when a store sells 150 SKUs with half the traffic of other stores, so we can take a closer look and replicate that success. We can also map staffing models to traffic counts to put the best people to work during the busiest times.”

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Office Depot names VP of investor relations

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boca Raton, Fla. – Office Depot has named Michael A. Steele as VP, investor relations, effective immediately. Steele reports to Stephen E. Hare, executive VP and CFO.

Steele will develop and execute Office Depot’s investor relations strategy, serving as the primary interface for management with the financial community. He plans to relocate to the Office Depot corporate headquarters in Boca Raton in the coming months.

Rich Leland, having led both treasury and investor relations for Office Depot since April 2013, will continue as VP finance and treasurer, assuming additional key responsibilities in an expanded role.

Steele most recently served as VP, investor relations for OfficeMax Incorporated, where he had been employed since July 2007. Previously, he worked at The ServiceMaster Company, a residential and commercial service network, in various corporate finance roles including financial planning, treasury, and mergers and acquisitions. Early in his career, he held financial roles in the telecommunications industry and banking.

“As we work to integrate Office Depot and OfficeMax, clear and effective communication with our investors and the financial community is essential,” said Hare. “We are excited about the depth of experience and expertise that Mike brings to this role, particularly the relationships that he has formed while at OfficeMax.”

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Best Buy holiday revenues fall 2.5%

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – Best Buy Co., Inc. saw its revenues for the nine-week holiday period ended Jan. 4, 2014 fall 2.5% from the same period a year earlier. Holiday revenues for the 2013 season were $11.45 billion, compared to $11.75 billion in the 2012 season.

Consolidated same-store sales only grew 0.1%, although online sales increased 23.5%. Best Buy cited a more intense than expected promotional pricing environment as a key factor in its disappointing holiday results.

“When we entered the holiday season, we said that price competitiveness was table stakes and an intensely promotional holiday season is what unfolded,” said Hubert Joly, Best Buy president and CEO. “In both channels, the promotional intensity that began with Black Friday continued throughout the period, which led us and our competitors to answer one question, do we make the incremental investment necessary to be price competitive and defend our market share? For us, there was only one answer. To advance our Renew Blue transformation, it was imperative that we live up to our customer promises and one of these promises is to offer our customers competitive prices.”

Best Buy now expects a decrease in fourth quarter operating income rate, although the retailer said it gained market share during the holiday period.

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