C-SUITE

Former NRF exec joins Aptos as retail strategist

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Aptos has tapped an industry veteran to assist retailers on their transformation journeys.

The retail technology solution provider has named Vicki Cantrell as its retail transformation officer. In this newly created position, she will oversee Aptos functions for business consulting and strategy, value engineering, and strategic account management. Cantrell will also leverage her retail background to advise and support Aptos customers as they reinvent their businesses for omnichannel growth, profitability and customer loyalty.

She will also serve on the company’s executive leadership team, reporting to Aptos CEO and culture leader Noel Goggin.

“I am thrilled to join Aptos at a critical act-now or regret-it moment in retail,” said Cantrell.

“Everybody’s talking about transformation, and the reality is, there is no one blueprint to achieve it, and there are different recipes for success. What works for one retailer might not work for another,” she said. “In my role, I will partner with retailers on their transformation journey, and change the way we work together. By deepening our collaboration with customers, we will empower each retailer to achieve its strategic vision while building lasting relationships with its customers.”

Most recently, Cantrell served as NRF’s senior VP, communities, and executive director, Shop.org. In that role, she was responsible for providing strategic direction and management of Shop.org, NRF’s digital retail division.

Previous to NRF, Cantrell served as COO of Tory Burch, where she focused on the development of process and infrastructure to achieve sustainable growth. Earlier in her career, she also served as CIO of Giorgio Armani Corp., and held positions with Gucci Group, Party City and J.C. Penney.

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FINANCE

Sales slide continues at Barnes & Noble

BY Marianne Wilson

Barnes & Noble reduced its loss in its first quarter due to cost savings even as its sales continued to fall.

The company reported a net loss of $10.8 million for the quarter ended July 29, or 15 cents per share, compared to a loss of $14.4 million, or cents per share, for the year-ago period. Analysts had expected a loss of 12 cents a share.

"Our first quarter earnings results improved over the prior year, as we were able to mitigate the sales decline through expense reductions,” said Demos Parneros, CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “We expect to improve our performance in the back-half of the year, which coupled with our focus on expense reduction, will enable us to achieve EBITDA of $180 million.”

Total sales fell 6.6% to $853 million, compared to analysts' forecasts for $873 million. Same- store sales decreased 4.9%, as declines in non-book categories outpaced improved book trends during the quarter. The company said also experienced lower online and Nook sales during the quarter, which were impacted by the prior year eBook settlement and lower promotional activity. Nook sales fell 28.1% in the quarter.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, commented that Nook's losses are a drag on the company resources, and it is time for the Barnes & Noble to scrap Nook and focus on developing a better online platform and apps to support its business.

"The company hails the [NOOK] ecosystem as an important component of its omnichannel strategy, but the fact the business is shrinking by so much demonstrates it is a very ineffective platform," said Saunders.

The analyst also criticized Barnes & Noble stores, especially its older locations, which he called "a hodgepodge of product with seemingly little coordination and thought given to the range of the product mix.

"As much as it is sensible to stock things like toys and games, there are lots of other places that sell these items — often at lower prices," he said. "In essence, B&N needs to refine its non-book offer and work harder to create differentiation.” (Click here for more )

Barnes & Noble operates 632 bookstores in 50 states and an e-commerce site.

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Commentary: Barnes & Noble should not be dedicating floor space to Doris Day CDs

Customer traffic continues to weaken, and sales are down. Within this dynamic, books are holding up slightly better, but non-book sales are in sharp decline. Some of this is down to the fact that many Barnes & Noble stores, especially older ones, are a hodgepodge of product with seemingly little coordination and thought given to ranging. As much as it is sensible to stock things like toys and games, there are lots of other places that sell these items — often at lower prices. In essence, B&N needs to refine its non-book offer and work harder to create differentiation.

A key example of this is back to school. While B&N did make an effort with its books offer, its non-book selection and merchandising was below par and could have, and should have, been much more inspirational to encourage impulse buys and cross-purchasing. In this regard, we sometimes get the impression that B&N is just not very commercial.

B&N has tried to stimulate footfall into stores with the use of cafes and places to relax. However, we find these to be rather lackluster, and in some stores, the environment is not particularly enticing. In essence, the company needs to up its game if it is to pull in shoppers. This includes reallocating floorspace from categories like CDs — where dedicating space to Doris Day albums is both unnecessary and unproductive — to functions that are more aligned with what consumers want.

Looking ahead, we believe that B&N will continue to make progress in reducing expenses. However, we remain far less optimistic about the sales line. While B&N is testing new store layouts and formats, these will take time to filter through the chain. The year ahead looks like another one of slipping back.

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P.Patrick says:
Sep-08-2017 05:15 am

DORIS DAY a Perfect Vocalist
Yes DORIS DAY belongs in Barnes and Noble and is probably the most perfect Vocalist ever; just ask Brian May from QUEEN "A Grammy Salute To Music Legends" available at Barnes and Noble. Doris Day is a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner plus 3 Hall of Fame. Her Recording history is unparalleled for a female vocalist. 76 Charted Hits, 21 Singles in the top 10, 7 number 1, Her top Charted Albums include one at number 1 for 17 weeks. If these are not a reason enough to belong in Barnes and Noble please listen to DORIS Sing a pure sensual beautiful perfect pitch voice no Pro Tools, a natural work of Art. DORIS DAY is a gift to all of us who choose to pick up any of her CDs at Barnes and Noble.

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