REAL ESTATE

Charles Sparks designs new format for Neiman Marcus

BY Staff Writer

Westchester, Ill. — Charles Sparks + Co. announced the debut of its design for the new Neiman Marcus store in Walnut Creek, Calif. The 85,000-sq.-ft., three-level location represents a fresh new vision of modern luxury in a smaller format store for the luxury department store retailer.

The greatest asset of Walnut Creek is its geographic setting. The rolling hills, small range of mountains that frame the city, its open spaces, shade trees that line many of the streets and downtown shopping district and luminous colors of its natural surroundings make Walnut Creek a unique place that the interior designer drew from as inspiration.

With a design inspired by the surrounding locale, the store is planned as a series of informal interlocking spaces with an occasional infusion of natural light that architecturally marries inside with outside in a way that very few retail formats achieve. The interior finishes and materials draw from the context of the region’s textures, northern California light and rich colors of the landscape. The materials palettes includes warmer, lighter tonality, the use of glass and metal screens that provide a sense of translucency and openness, and neutral zones for placement of fine art. The perimeters are often sculpted designs as a subtle reference to the natural surroundings but also to add uniqueness and energy in the spaces.

Sparks has partnered with Neiman Marcus for the past 12 years in the design of over 1.7 million sq. ft. of their luxury retail spaces.

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OPERATIONS

Alliance Data to continue to manage private label credit card program for Little Switzerland

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Alliance Data Systems Corp. has signed a multi-year renewal agreement to continue managing the private label credit card program for duty-free jewelry retailer Little Switzerland.

“Since launching our credit card program with Alliance Data in 2004, Little Switzerland has expanded its customer base and increased loyalty by offering compelling financing and promotional offers; we look forward to continuing this partnership and growing the program,” said Hal Tayler, CEO, Little Switzerland, which operates 32 retail locations on 10 Caribbean islands and in Key West, Fla., under the trade names Little Switzerland and Jewels, along with web and catalog channels. “In our endeavor to define luxury in the Caribbean, and in continued collaboration with Alliance Data, we are able to ensure a level of convenience and flexibility to our cardholders that makes our quality merchandise accessible to even more travelers and online shoppers.”

Card program benefits include flexible promotional financing options and no annual card fee, as well as online account activation and management.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

John Lewis deploys delivery appointment scheduling solution from Descartes

BY Staff Writer

Waterloo, Ontario — Descartes Systems Group announced that John Lewis Partnership has successfully deployed Descartes’ Reservations and Route Planner solution to consolidate home deliveries for larger goods into one dynamic booking system.

The solution has improved delivery fleet productivity and John Lewis’ ability to sell value-added services to its customers, Descartes said. It is part of the company’s routing, mobile and telematics suite, which allows John Lewis customers and employees to book delivery appointments in real-time on the website and at the point-of-sale.

The solution models various service options, such as tighter time windows, and installation and disposal services, so retailers can increase their delivery service offerings. Unlike batch optimization solutions, allows John Lewis to place orders on schedules in real-time, helping to ensure delivery routes are realistic, efficient and productive.

"Customer service is paramount at John Lewis and Descartes’ Reservations and Route Planning solution are integral to our strategy of offering more extensive, but unified, delivery services across all of our channels," said Andrew Gay, systems manager John Lewis Partnership, which operates 35 John Lewis stores across the United Kingdom and 274 Waitrose supermarkets. "Descartes’ advanced optimization capabilities and architecture were critical to bringing new delivery service options to our customers in an economically feasible way."

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