SUPPLY CHAIN

Charming Shoppes selects Oracle Retail to drive cross-channel growth, improve inventory management

BY Marianne Wilson

Redwood Shores, Calif. — Charming Shoppes has selected Oracle Retail to drive growth across its multiple platforms and brands. The retailer said it will use Oracle Retail applications to deploy a modern technology platform that helps transform its merchandising supply chain and store operations to reduce the total cost of ownership of hardware, software and support while enabling a better shopping experience for customers across channels and brands.

"Oracle Retail will help us improve our internal processes, analysis and decision making to manage inventory and deliver assortments that provide a variety of choices for our targeted segments, so we may offer her trend-right, fashion-appropriate, and quality apparel with consistent, great fit offered in multichannels,” said Michael Barrett, CIO and VP, Charming Shoppes, Bensalem, Pa., whose brands include Lane Bryant, Lane Bryant Outlet, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus Sizes.

Charming Shoppes will use Oracle Retail’s merchandise operations management application to obtain a single, comprehensive source of consistent and accurate data delivered on a proven, scalable platform.

In addition, the retailer will use Oracle Retail’s stores solutions application to improve cross-channel sales capabilities, gain better access to information and deliver a consistent, personalized experience at customer touch points.

The company will also implement Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle, E-Business Suite and Oracle Database as part of its strategy to better serve customers and streamline operations across all its brands.

"Charming Shoppes is establishing a platform that will allow them to deliver an exceptional customer service experience for each of its brands," said Mike Webster, senior VP and general manager, Oracle Retail. "By selecting Oracle Retail, Charming Shoppes will gain additional insight and control to optimize performance across all locations."

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OPERATIONS

Report: Millennial shoppers hard hit by economic downturn

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Millennial shoppers (consumers ages 18-34) now represent the highest percentage of Americans who do not have enough money to cover their basic needs according to WSL/Strategic Retail, a leading authority on shopper behavior and retail trends. The finding, which noted that nearly 25% of this young adult market say they are not able to make ends meet – as compared with 17% of adults ages 35-54, and only 13% of those age 55 and over – was revealed as part of the company’s How America Shops MegaTrends report, Moving On 2012.

“The young adult market has always been known for being the most fashion forward, first to respond to trends and first to adopt to new retail channels,” said Candace Corlett, president of WSL/Strategic Retail. “But they’re also the group that’s been hit hardest by the economic recession, which has left them struggling to find jobs and pay down student loan debt.”

Wendy Liebmann, CEO of the company continued: “This decline in millennial spending power presents a significant challenge to brands and retailers who have long considered young adults to be the ‘golden ticket’ to sales growth. Businesses must begin rethinking their strategy to lure these shoppers to buy. At the same time, they must reevaluate the power of this generation to support new brands and stores.”

The How America Shops MegaTrends report, Moving On 2012, found that 80% of millennials believe it’s important to get the lowest price on most things, and 60% are likely to choose a lower priced brand over their usual, if they can save money. It also found that 57% of the demographic make a point to search online for discounts before shopping, and 63% are now sticking to only those brands and stores they know they can afford.

The findings gain significance when compared with results of the 2010 MegaTrends study, showing a full 10% increase in those who now make getting the lowest price a priority – even over long-held brand loyalty.

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Ingles Markets sees growth in Q2, first half of fiscal 2012

BY CSA STAFF

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Net sales for Ingles Markets experienced a spike during the second quarter and first half of fiscal year 2012, the retailer reported Monday.

For the second quarter ended March 24, Ingles Markets said net sales rose $11.3 million to $881.7 million, compared with the year-ago period, while net income dropped from $7.7 million in second quarter 2011 to $6.5 million in second quarter 2012. Excluding gasoline sales, comparable-store sales at Ingles Markets during the quarter decreased 0.1%, compared with the second quarter of the prior fiscal year.

For the first six months of fiscal 2012, net sales rose $56.8 million to $1.8 billion and net income increased 11.3% to $17.1 million, compared with the first six months of fiscal 2011. Excluding gasoline sales, where retail prices were significantly higher than the first half of fiscal year 2011, grocery segment comparable store sales increased 1.6%.

Commenting on the results, Ingles Markets CEO Robert Ingle II said the company remains "committed to providing value" to its customers and will continue to invest in improvements. He also said the company is slated to open a new distribution center next quarter, which will provide the chain with long-term benefits.

"We are pleased with our sales growth in the second quarter especially since last year’s second quarter included a lot of inclement weather that resulted in higher sales for the prior year," Ingle said. "Our grocery margins were stable compared with last year; however, our profitability was affected by lower gasoline margins compared with last year."

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