OPERATIONS

Euclid offers free offline customer analytics

BY Dan Berthiaume

SAN FRANCISCO – Brick-and-mortar customer analytics provider Euclid is introducing Euclid Express, a free analytics solution that provides retailers with insights into customer behavior and store performance. Using existing Wi-Fi, Euclid allows retailers to assess the offline impact of marketing activities, identify trends in store performance, and improve the overall shopping experience.

“Today’s businesses are talking about creating a multi-channel experience and tying the online and offline,” said Euclid CEO Will Smith. “However, a huge data gap still exists in the offline world. Retailers lack even the basic information to understand customer behavior in their stores. They need to go beyond analyzing transactions and basic door counts to create better customer experiences and improve store performance. Euclid Express provides access to these fundamental insights, making it free and easy to do smarter business.”

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Changing of the guard at Schnucks

BY CSA STAFF

Schnuck Markets chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck plans to transfer the latter title in March to his brother, president and COO Todd Schnuck.

Todd Schnuck will become president and CEO of the family-owned supermarket chain in March, while Scott Schnuck will remain chairman and assist in the transition through September. Meanwhile, Craig Schnuck will formally retire from the company and become chairman emeritus. Todd Schnuck originally began working at the company in 1987 as treasurer and served as corporate VP and CFO before becoming president and COO.

"My wife, Julie, and I and my extended family have been planning this for more than a year, and Todd has been preparing for this for several years," Scott Schnuck said. "I have the greatest confidence in his ability to lead our company to even greater success by working through our teammates to provide our customers with the best values and the highest quality goods and services."

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Fred’s revamps ops and marketing, explores sale

BY CSA STAFF

Regional discount retailer Fred’s is making some big changes to its merchandising and operations groups to begin 2014 and has retained several firms to review strategic opportunities.

On the heels of a 1.4% same store sales increase in December, driven by its pharmacy business, Fred’s said it had retained BofA Merrill Lynch and Peter J. Solomon Company to review strategic opportunities to enhance shareholder value. In addition, the operator of 701 stores throughout the Southeast, gave CFO Jerry Shore additional responsibilities as COO and said CEO Bruce Efird would lead the merchandising and marketing team and strategy.

"The merchandising and marketing team has been revamped and now will report directly to me,” Efird said. “We have developed new pricing, marketing, inventory management and profit strategies that are designed to drive greater profitability throughout the year, with a key goal of re-energizing fourth quarter results in 2014.”

In addition, Fred’s will continue to implement the successful elements of a reconfiguration plan, a key aspect of which involves the addition of pharmacies to its discount stores. The company plans 150 to 200 conversions in 2014 which will leave it with pharmacies in 60% of its store by the end of 2014.

The moves come as Fred’s experienced a challenging sales climate throughout 2013. The company’s year to date sales increased 1% to slightly more than $1.8 billion while same store sales declined 0.9%.

"While December sales were in the range of our expectations, they were driven primarily by the strong performance of our pharmacy department, as the discretionary departments in general merchandising fell short of plan,” Efird said. “The positive impact from our reconfiguration plan continued in December, driven mainly by our hometown auto and hardware department. However, in spite of the success of our reconfiguration program, Fred’s 2013 fourth quarter promotional strategy, which was centered on Black Friday, did not produce the incremental gains we expected.”

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