OPERATIONS

Discounter swaps out Apple devices for Android on its sales floor

BY CSA STAFF

Target associates are using new devices to complete their daily tasks.

After using iPod Touches for the last three years to manage stock, pull items, and handle other essential sales floor duties, Target is now putting Android devices into its associates’ hands, according to Gizmodo.

On average, Target is swapping approximately 30 iPod Touch devices in use across approximately 1,800 Target stores. However, the discounter still plans to use iPads for online order pickups, and managers will still use iPhones, the report said.

Two factors that influenced the discounter’s decision to upgrade its sales floor devices were the need for longer battery life, and Android’s flexibility to develop new apps, Gizmodo reported.

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Holiday hiring outlook for retail looks positive

BY Marianne Wilson

Early signs from retailers indicate a hot job market for workers this holiday season.

Despite store closures and consolidation within the industry, retailers are signaling that there might be high demand for seasonal jobs, according to a forecast from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“The competition among major big-box retailers will incentivize consumers to spend more this holiday season. These stores will need to add staff in order to meet demand,” said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The Challenger forecast comes on the heels of an announcement by Target that it hiring 100,000 seasonal store associates for the holidays, up some 40% from last year.

Last year, seasonal retail employment increased by 641,000 during the final three months of the year, the lowest number since the 495,800 retail hires announced in the final months of 2009. Last year’s job gains were 9.6% lower than the previous year, when retailers added 708,800 jobs, according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Last year, BLS data showed that transportation and warehousing employment increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 246,700 workers in the final quarter of the year, 8% higher than the 228,400 workers hired in this sector in the final three months of 2015. In 2007, the seasonal job gains for this sector measured just 24,300.

“As holiday shopping habits turn virtual, retailers are responding by hiring more warehouse and transport workers," said Challenger. "While retail hiring has fallen over the last couple years, major announcements indicate workers will still be needed for customer-facing positions, as retailers attempt to give consumers an experience they cannot receive online.”

According to Challenger tracking, retailers have announced over 6,000 store closures and 67,000 job cuts in the first eight months of the year. However, despite these numbers, retailers projected the highest number of hiring announcements for any industry, with over 248,000.

Since 2012, holiday hiring announcements have averaged 604,000 per year, according to Challenger tracking. Some of those announcements are from non-retailers, such as FedEx and UPS. The bulk of those hiring announcements occur in September. In fact, between 2011 and 2016, hiring announcements in September have averaged over 415,000.

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On heels of Equifax incident, retailers cite need for uniform data breach law

BY Marianne Wilson

The National Retail Federation is once again making the case for a new federal law on data breach notifications.

Citing the recent breach at the Equifax credit reporting agency, National Retail Federation and other industry associations are telling Congress that any new federal law on data breach notification should apply to all industries that handle consumer data.

“The fact is that hackers do not discriminate as to the type of business they attack,” NRF and the other groups said in a letter to House and Senate leadership of both parties. “Every industry sector – whether consumer-facing or business-to-business – faces data security threats that may put consumer data at risk.”

“To protect customers and ensure effective public policy, Congress should ensure that any federal breach notification law applies to all affected sectors and leaves no holes in our system for some industries that criminals can exploit,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by NRF, NRF’s National Council of Chain Restaurants, and associations representing convenience stores, truck stops, gasoline stations, grocers, real estate agents, franchises and the travel industry.

Citing the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, the letter noted that the financial services industry accounts for 24.3% of all data breaches while retail represents only 4.8%. More than 80% of all breaches take place in industries other than those signing the letter.

The letter asked for a uniform national law to replace existing state laws, reasonable data security standards, Federal Trade Commission enforcement, and a requirement that all breached entities be obligated to notify consumers when they suffer a breach of sensitive information that creates a risk of identity theft or financial harm.

NRF has long called for a uniform federal data breach law to replace separate and often-conflicting laws in 48 states and the District of Columbia that are confusing for consumers and create compliance challenges for multi-state retailers. NRF believes that the new federal law should cover banks, card processors, telecommunications companies and all other entities that handle sensitive consumer data, not just retailers.

By contrast, banks and other industries have pushed for breach notification legislation that would subject retailers to stringent bank-style security rules while banks themselves would be subject only to discretionary guidance.

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