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Fujitsu partners with OnCue for in-aisle kiosks

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sunnyvale, Calif. — Fujitsu is partnering with OnCue Technologies, a developer of in-aisle point-of-information solutions, to resell OnCue Technologies’ InfoCue and Expert OnCue mini-kiosk solutions to big-box, grocery, beverage and hardware retailers in the U.S. OnCue Technologies’ cloud-based, customizable mini kiosks enable retailers to deliver expert advice and product information to customers in the aisle without requiring employee training.

The responsive touch-screen kiosks feature capabilities, including complete SKU data, audio and video multi-media responses to shopper requests, barcode scanning, and shopping list and coupon printing. The solutions empower consumers with immediate information needed to make a purchase decision.

OnCue solutions integrate seamlessly with the Fujitsu GlobalStore POS application, enabling access to real time price checking, local store management and POS terminal capabilities. The solutions are currently available to new and existing customers in the U.S.

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HBC deploys Swirl iBeacon platform in stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto – HBC Department Store Group is deploying the Swirl in-store beacon marketing platform to deliver digital experiences to consumers’ smartphones while they shop in the company’s department stores in Canada and the U.S. Using beacons installed in merchandising areas throughout its stores, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor will automatically deliver branded content and personalized offers to in-store shoppers through an array of company-owned and third-party mobile apps.

The HBC Department Store Group operates more than 130 Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor department stores across North America. Starting July 28, the new in-store mobile experiences will be available to shoppers at select malls and free-standing Hudson’s Bay stores including its Toronto flagship store, as well as Lord & Taylor stores in the U.S.

HBC is using the Swirl beacon marketing platform to create more personalized and engaging in-store mobile shopping experiences. Swirl beacons will be used to trigger delivery of unique and relevant content to shoppers at multiple locations and departments within its stores. The Swirl platform leverages Bluetooth Smart and Apple’s iBeacon technology to deliver targeted content and offers to consumers based on their specific location and behavior at the store. By utilizing the Swirl technology across various popular lifestyle and shopping apps, HBC Department Store Group can deliver personalized in-store mobile experiences to shoppers who choose to opt-in to the service.

"We recognize the appetite for mobile experiences that cater to our customers’ immediate needs and preferences while also providing a seamless and effortless experience," said Michael Crotty, executive VP, chief marketing officer, Hudson’s Bay Company and Lord & Taylor. "Beacon technology is the future of retail marketing and Swirl’s platform will assist us to make every visit to Hudson’s Bay or Lord & Taylor even more rewarding for our customers."

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Report: Demoulas to consider Market Basket sale, faces suit

BY Dan Berthiaume

Tewskbury, Mass. – The unfolding saga at the Market Basket grocery chain continues to take unexpected twists and turns. According to the Boston Globe, the board of directors of Market Basket parent company Demoulas Super Markets has said it will consider a purchase offer from former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, and the company also faces a lawsuit from several employees.

Arthur T. Demoulas, who was ousted as CEO of Demoulas Super Markets in June 2014 after a dispute with his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas but remains a major company shareholder, has publicly offered to purchase the remaining 50.5% of the company for an undisclosed sum. The board of Demoulas said it will “seriously” consider the offer from Demoulas and any other potential purchasers.

Several other unidentified suitors are reportedly offering between $2.8 billion and $3.3 billion for the Market Basket chain, which operates 71 stores in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The privately held company reportedly had revenue of $4.6 billion in 2013.

In addition, two former Market Basket employees have filed suit in state court alleging that Market Basket locked overnight shift workers in stores until their shifts ended in the morning, forcing them to take unpaid breaks.

Since an employee rally was held at Market Basket headquarters on July 18, numerous employees have walked off their jobs, including almost all warehouse personnel and drivers, leading to virtually no product being available on Market Basket shelves. So far eight management-level employees have lost their jobs, but the Demoulas board has said any other employees who return to work will not be punished.

A second rally at corporate headquarters was held July 25, and employee groups such as Save Market Basket have publicly said workers will not return until Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated as CEO. The board has publicly affirmed its commitment to his replacement co-CEOs, Jim Gooch and Felicia Thornton.

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