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Century 21 implements Escalate’s Enterprise solution for inventory management

BY CSA STAFF

San Diego — Escalate Retail on Monday announced that discount department store chain Century 21 has successfully implemented Escalate’s Enterprise1 ERP solution for management of the retailer’s inventory, merchandising and financials.

Century 21 chose Escalate’s Enterprise1 to more effectively keep pace with the enormous amount of inventory that goes through the store every day.

After thoroughly evaluating the retail industry’s most prominent software vendors, Century 21 selected Escalate’s Enterprise1 because of the functionality and scalability of the solution, in addition to Escalate’s company-wide focus on multichannel retailing and experienced professional services team. “Enterprise1 has driven more discipline to our fast-moving and highly adaptive business processes in all of the major functional areas,” said Harry Roberts, CIO, Century 21.

Built on a modern technology infrastructure, Enterprise1 provides a suite of flexible applications designed to optimize operations in Century 21’s demanding environment.

“Escalate’s Enterprise1 software has helped us facilitate the constant flow of high-demand merchandise throughout our organization,” Roberts said. “Additionally, the Escalate team worked closely with us to enhance the application through customization features such as vendor style number matching and time in motion improvement.”

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The Container Store and Urban Outfitters to be Honored at NRF 2011 Annual Convention

BY CSA STAFF

Executives from The Container Store and Urban Outfitters are among the retailers who will be honored at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and EXPO, or BIG Show, which will be held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, Jan. 9-12, 2011.

The recipients will accept their awards during the show’s Annual Retail Industry Luncheon on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

“In this highly competitive industry, it’s important for retailers to break away from the mold and push their company to new heights,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO, NRF. “Every year we search to find those who continue to do just that. We applaud each of this years’ winners and are thrilled to honor them in front of their peers.”

Gold Medal: Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO of The Container Store, will receive the NRF’s Gold Medal Award, which is given to individuals who have served the industry with distinction and achieved a national reputation for excellence. The recipients have also displayed creative genius and inspirational leadership and have won the respect of fellow merchants for devotion to the retail craft.

Tindell has been at the helm of The Container Store since it first opened its doors in Dallas in 1978. Today, the company operates 49 stores nationwide and a thriving website, with total 2010 sales projected at $560 million, Tindell continues his commitment to being a trailblazing retailer. But for Tindell, the goal never has been growth for growth’s sake. Rather, it’s to adhere to a fundamental set of corporate values, centered around an intense employee commitment, strict merchandising and superior customer service. Tindell continues to embody the unique corporate culture he created, and has nurtured a fierce employee loyalty that has landed the company at the top of FORTUNE magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” the past 11 years.

Innovator Award: Glen T. Senk, CEO of Urban Outfitters, will receive the Retail Innovator of the Year Award, given to individuals who have successfully distinguished themselves as retail pioneers through the use of new, innovative or imaginative techniques, formats or service. Furthermore, they have demonstrated an ability to sustain and build this concept in the face of challenges.

Senk was named CEO of Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters, Inc. in 2007. He started with the company in 1994 when he joined Anthropologie as president of what was then a single store prototype, and rose swiftly through the ranks. Prior to Anthropologie, Senk served as senior VP and general merchandise manager of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. where he oversaw the retail and mail order operations for Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Hold Everything, Chambers and Gardener’s Eden.

International Retailer of the Year: Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia Group, the United Kingdom’s largest privately owned clothing retailer with more than 2,500 outlets, will be honored as International Retailer of the Year. The award is given annually to an individual who has achieved international recognition for excellence in his or her native country and internationally.

Arcadia operates eight different fashion brands, including Topshop, which has grown into a fast-fashion powerhouse, with stores around the globe.

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Mobile in the News

BY CSA STAFF

Mobile commerce is expected to be among the dominant topics at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention and EXPO in New York City, with break-out sessions and a super-session devoted to the fast-growing channel. Two recent studies offer insights into the channel. Here are some highlights:

Growth: Mobile online shopping (excluding travel) in the United States was expected to more than double, to total more than $3.4 billion by the end of 2010, according to ABI Research. Travel-related purchases (airline tickets, hotels, etc.) will add another $1.5 billion.

“Mobile online shopping growth in the United States has been fueled this year by the massive migration of consumers to smart phones, the explosion of highly innovative use-cases deployed by retailers and third-party players, and a significant shift in consumer behavior as more consumers choose mobile shopping over traditional online shopping,” commented ABI senior analyst Mark Beccue.

In Japan, where mobile online shopping has been commonplace for several years, mobile is responsible for nearly 17% of all e-commerce sales. In 2015, ABI Research believes, mobile online shopping will be responsible for $163 billion in sales globally, 12% of global e-commerce turnover.

Mobile marketing practice director Neil Strother added, “Beyond direct sales generated via mobile, innovative retailers will use mobile online shopping to introduce a broad- range of mobile marketing campaigns and CRM programs.”

Smart Phones and Bargain Hunting: A survey by Accenture revealed that the growing use of smart phone technology and the economic downturn have encouraged cost-conscious consumers to explore alternative retail channels to secure bargains.

According to the survey, 79% of smart phone users would find it useful to download money-off coupons to their phones, and 73% would like to receive instant money-off coupons as they pass by an item in a store.

Accenture’s findings suggest that couponing could become a more important part of the retail experience as smart phone technology becomes more widespread, and if retailers are adept at using customer analytics to target messages and deals to consumers. Notably, 48% of conventional cell phone users plan to buy a smart phone in the next 12 months.

The results of the survey also indicate that smart phone technology is changing the relationship between customers and retailers. Many smart phone users said that they prefer using their mobile device rather than interacting with a store employee for simple tasks. According to the survey, 73% favor using their smart phone to handle simple tasks compared with 15% who favor interaction with an employee. Similarly, 71% favor using their smart phone to identify a store with a desired item in stock, while 17% would prefer to get that information by speaking to an employee.

“Smart phones will permanently change the relationship between the store and the shopper,” said Janet Hoffman, managing director of Accenture’s Retail practice. “Today’s tech-savvy consumer wants a seamless shopping experience across store, mobile or online at a time that suits them.”

Privacy, however, remains a key concern of consumers, and could have a negative impact on the growing use of smart phones for shopping. More than half of respondents (54%) worry that using smart phones will erode their privacy. Among the other smart phone shopping concerns voiced, 59% fear losing the personal touch from store employees, and 39% believe that products would get more expensive.

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