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Expediting Store Development

BY Marianne Wilson

A challenging environment is changing the way prototypes (from the architecture and engineering perspective) are developed and managed. With resources and staff stretched thin, retailers will likely need to manage several prototypes in the future, rather than simply one at a time. Many already are. And now, more than ever, retailers will be charged with saving money, improving quality and speeding development. One key component in meeting the challenge is increased expediency.

“Expediency really means increasing the predictability and accuracy of development schedules,” said John Miologos, senior VP, architectural services, WD Partners, Columbus, Ohio. “But expediency doesn’t revolve around brick and mortar only. It involves understanding and impacting the entire development process. The real opportunity here is to create systems around expediting the front end.”

According to Miologos, executives in charge of store development need to question all aspects of the deal.

“Don’t allow the front end of the development process to be exclusive of your questioning,” he added.

Having a highly refined set of construction documents is also key.

“Excellent construction documents require accuracy and planning,” Miologos explained. “If you neglect either, you will pay when you are in the building process—and that can be very expensive.”

Also, tightly managing the prototype documents will reduce errors and changes further into the building schedule. Such mistakes and changes can cost big money and time, Miologos said, at a point where retailers can least afford to lose it.

Miologos recommended that retailers design for the most restrictive sites they are likely to build on, building in maximum flexibility by designing a kit of parts.

“Designing a flexible prototype that will work in a wide variety of non-standard sites, both in terms of sizes, orientations and frontages, allows real estate to make property decisions much faster,” Miologos said. “We typically create a kit of parts for the prototype, which allows for the leveraging of predetermined pieces while assembling them to be more appropriate for an individual situation.

Here are some other tips from Miologos for opening stores more cost-effectively and, depending on the retailer’s goal, either more quickly or with more predictability:

  • Develop long-term relationships with key partners and dedicated teams, and leverage their historical knowledge of your company across all phases of the development;
  • Negotiate national purchasing contracts;
  • Know that the cheapest isn’t usually the cheapest;
  • Manage the handoffs. Integrated deployment of services means no lost time, more accountability and fewer communication orders; and
  • Acknowledge the community in the development process. Being prepared and sensitive to standards will get you out ahead of others.

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Kohl’s, Forever 21 win bid for 46 former Mervyn’s stores

BY CSA STAFF

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. Kohl’s and Forever 21 won a joint bid for the leaseholds of 46 former Mervyn’s locations valued at approximately $6.25 million.

Kohl’s will assume 31 of the locations while Forever 21 will assume 15, pending approval by the court overseeing Mervyns bankruptcy proceedings.

“We are pleased with the results of the auction,” said Kevin Mansell, president and ceo for Kohl’s Department Stores. “With over 1,000 stores from coast to coast, these locations provide increased presence in under penetrated markets. We will continue to be opportunistic and prudent in our discussions with the owners of select Mervyns real estate as we continue to position Kohl’s to grow market share.”

In fiscal 2009, the Kohl’s said it continues to expect to open approximately 50 stores, including the majority of the 31 former Mervyns’ locations.

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Bazaarvoice appoints new CFO

BY CSA STAFF

AUSTIN, Texas Bazaarvoice, which provides social commerce applications that drive sales, announced that Ken Saunders has joined the company as CFO. Saunders has over 25 years of experience as a senior financial executive at companies including Open Solutions, Peregrine Systems, Fair Isaac Corp. and Arthur Andersen. In his new role at Bazaarvoice, Saunders will guide all aspects of the company’s financial operations, as well as lead the team responsible for day-to-day finance, IT and human operations.

“Bazaarvoice is not only the most innovative social commerce company in the industry, it’s the fastest growing, serving hundreds of major brands worldwide and adding more at a very rapid clip,” said Saunders. “As CFO, I look forward to working with Bazaarvoice’s executive team to drive the company’s growth now and into the future, as they continue to transform the way people interact and shop online.”

“Ken has a wealth of world-class financial experience at both private and public companies, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the executive team as Bazaarvoice continues to cement its market leadership in the social commerce space,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice. “As more and more retailers worldwide embrace the customer voice as a key brand and marketing tool, Bazaarvoice is poised for rapid growth – and Ken is the perfect person to lead our company’s financial strategy.”

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