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Exclusive Video: Von Maur’s Jim von Maur talks strategy with Chain Store Age

BY Staff Writer

Davenport, Iowa — Some retailers just keep growing, despite economic headwinds, fickle customers and competitive pressures. The family-operated, 140-year-old Von Maur department store company, based in Davenport, Iowa, is one of those retailers. In an exclusive video interview, Chain Store Age senior editor Katherine Boccaccio spoke with Jim von Maur, president, about the chain’s strategy and how it keeps growing in an uncertain economy.

“At Von Maur, we stick to our core principles, which is great service, great merchandise, and clean facilities that are well managed,” von Maur said. “Whether the economy is strong or is in a recession, customers are going to respond to that.”

The company’s growth is supported and enhanced by a robust distribution arm that continues to add more space and workers, optimized on-site retail operations supported by an Oracle system in place since 2011, strong service initiatives and, more recently, an explosive e-commerce business.

Success both online and in the brick-and-mortar stores makes von Maur optimistic about what lies ahead.

“The future for Von Maur is very bright, mainly because we have a great team and we are very good at what we do,” von Maur said.

For the exclusive video interview with von Maur, and a behind the scenes look at the company’s DC operations, click here.

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ShopperTrak: April 2013

BY CSA STAFF

Total U.S. Shopper Traffic in Retail Stores and Malls for April 2013

An expected post-Easter decline in shopper activity was compounded by unseasonably cold weather last month. Retail foot traffic decreased 10.1 percent in April compared to March 2013, deviating from previous positive month-over-month retail traffic trends. Foot traffic for April 2013 decreased 0.4 percent compared to the same month in 2012.

Easter — and all the shopping that goes with it — often falls in the month of April. This year, however, the holiday was in March. Considering the lack of Easter retail activity in April 2013, this year’s shopper traffic results were stronger than last year’s results. On a year-over-year basis, shopper traffic for April declined a very small amount.

April showers of both rain and snow continued the pattern of unseasonably cool spring weather. Snow and heavy rains east of the Rocky Mountains prevented many consumers from venturing out into the blizzards and storms to shop. People in northern and eastern regions continued to wear their winter clothes postponing shopping trips for spring clothes and other seasonal merchandise.

“We believe that April 2013 could have outperformed April 2012’s shopper traffic activity if we had more seasonably warm weather,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “In May, we should see people fulfilling those postponed spring clothing and merchandises purchases as Memorial Day and summer approach.”

ShopperTrak’s data and analyses in this article are based on counting billions of shoppers in more than 60,000 locations across 90 countries. ShopperTrak counts more retail foot traffic than any other company in the world. The retail technology company collects and analyzes anonymous foot traffic, queue times and shopper demographics to identify revenue opportunities. Find out more at http://www.shoppertrak.com.

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Modell’s upgrades IT for stores

BY CSA STAFF

WESTBORO, Mass. — Modell’s has selected Micros-Retail, a leading provider of retail technology for the specialty and general merchandise retail industry, to help it improve customer experience, modernize IT for the stores and streamline day-to-day functions.

Micros-Retail’s Xstore Point-of-Service and Relate Customer Relationship Management solutions will help the sporting goods retailers tackle its initiatives. Modell’s will also leverage mobility in its stores with Micros-Retail’s miStore, which provides sales associates with detailed product information so they can serve customers on the floor more efficiently.

"We look forward to enhancing the shopping experience at our stores through the use of mobility," stated Hans Kantor, VP of information technology for Modell’s. "We know this is a vital next step to best serve our customers, and Micros has proven to be a great technology partner."

In addition, the Java-based product Micros-Retail Xstore significantly reduces the training time required by Modell’s technical teams, facilitating a faster adoption rate and ease of use of the solutions across the enterprise.

"We are pleased to grow and strengthen our longtime partnership with Modell’s as it embraces more innovative solutions for its expanding operations," stated Jeremy Grunzweig, COO, Micros-Retail solutions.

Modell’s operates more than 150 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Micros Retail, a division of Micros Systems, Inc., offers an omni-channel platform that allows retailers to successfully engage their customers with point of sale, e-commerce, mobile, loyalty and CRM, loss prevention, distributed order management, inventory management and merchandise planning solutions. Services include platform implementation and integration, strategic business consulting, design services including creative and user experience, hosting and managed services. Some of its clients include Armani Exchange, Bebe, Brooks Brothers, Cabela’s, Charlotte Russe, Charming Shoppes, Gucci, Guess, Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand, Lululemon, Staples, Starbucks Coffee, Sur La Table and Whirlpool.

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