News

Fast-fashion giant steps up POS game with new partnership

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Eager to improve customer service and security at the front end, Forever 21 is converting its point-of-sale (POS) fleet to a single solution.

Through a partnership with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, the fast-fashion retailer is adding the vendor’s hardware, equipment and services across all its corporate stores around the globe. The agreement makes Toshiba the chain’s single point of contact for all POS systems, peripherals and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) front and back office retail store technology.

Through the multi-year deal, Forever 21 will adopt Toshiba’s TCx 300 smaller footprint, energy-efficient POS systems and peripherals. Toshiba will also provide the procurement, support and standardization of other store technology, including networking equipment. Leveraging Toshiba’s services solution, the retailer will work with a dedicated project management office and team of service experts that will act as the single point of contact for all help desk requests for POS hardware and all other OEM retail store equipment, according to Forever 21.

Beginning in June, Toshiba will manage the deployment of all retail store equipment, including new POS systems and store servers, registers, displays and printers in current and new corporate stores. The company will also provide maintenance services for both Toshiba and non-Toshiba equipment, as well as asset management services and support.

“Toshiba understood our desire to maximize the value of our retail investment and more importantly, they are delivering expert staff to standardize and manage all of the various store technology and services across our corporate stores,” said Alex Ok, president of Forever 21. “We selected Toshiba as our end-to-end global provider with the goal to reduce our complexity and costs, so our store teams can continue their focus on meeting the needs of our customers.”

Forever 21 operates more than 830 stores globally.

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FINANCE

Home improvement giant completes acquisition

BY HBSDealer Staff

Lowe's Companies has finalized a deal that fits into its goal to better serve its pro customers.

The home improvement retailer has completed its previously announced acquisition of Maintenance Supply Headquarters for $512 million. The Houston, Texas-based company is a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products serving the multifamily housing industry.

"We are delighted to officially welcome Maintenance Supply Headquarters and their talented team into the Lowe's family," said Michael Tummillo, senior VP of Lowe's pro sales. "Together, Maintenance Supply Headquarters and Central Wholesalers expand Lowe's ability to serve the highly attractive and growing multifamily housing industry while strengthening our foundation for future growth with enhanced product and service offerings. With this latest transaction, we look forward to delivering even more value for our pro customers."

The deal is a next logical step for Lowe's, which acquired Central Wholesalers, an MRO distributor in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, in November 2016. The move is part of an overall drive to broaden Lowe's relationship with pro customers and better serve their needs.

Maintenance Supply Headquarters operates 13 distribution centers serving customers in 29 geographic areas, primarily in the western, southeastern and south central U.S., with a portfolio of more than 5,300 products and value-added services for maintaining and renovating multifamily properties.

The company was founded in 2006 and features a product offering that includes appliances, plumbing, HVAC, lighting, hardware, electrical and other products for maintaining and renovating multifamily properties, as well as services such as renovation project support, custom fabrication and educational classes.

With this acquisition under its belt, Lowe's multifamily MRO business now includes 16 distribution centers in attractive regions throughout the nation, generating more than $400 million in incremental annual sales.

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ENERGY/HVAC

U.K. supermarket chain in LED first

BY Marianne Wilson

Sainsbury's will become the first supermarket retailer in the United Kingdom whose stores will be lit entirely by LED lighting.

The retailer is partnering with GE's Current division in an extensive lighting upgrade. Current will upgrade 250,000 LED fixtures across more than 450 Sainsbury's stores, cutting the chain's lighting energy consumption by 58% and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 3.4% annually.

"We’re always looking for new ways of achieving our sustainability goals, and switching to LED lighting is a big step in the right direction," said Paul Crewe, Sainsbury’s head of sustainability, energy, engineering & environment. "We’ve almost halved the carbon emissions of our stores since 2005, and in the last 12 months reduced our electricity use by 11.6% despite growing our operation by 54.2%. This step will enable us to make significant reductions in carbon emissions."

The project will support Sainsbury’s sustainability plan, which calls for the company to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 30% compared to 2005 baseline levels. The target has spurred numerous energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives across Sainsbury's stores, from LED retrofits to solar panels, biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps. To date, Sainsbury’s has already cut absolute carbon emissions by more than 20%.

Current is deploying the lighting retrofit at Sainsbury's as a turnkey service, embedding financing from GE Capital Industrial Finance with lighting design, product supply, installation and project management services. The full LED upgrade across all Sainsbury’s stores is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

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