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Glasses.com releases 3D app

BY Dan Berthiaume

Draper, Utah — Online eyewear retailer Glasses.com is releasing a 3D app for the iPad platform that allows customers to virtually try on glasses using a 180-degree 3D representation of their face. Proprietary facial modeling technology allows users to reproduce their face on an iPad screen and reposition glasses, as well as compare different glasses in a side-by-side view. A built-in “share” feature lets customers send virtual views to family and friends and receive tallied votes on their opinions.

The app is available for free download in the iTunes store and Glasses.com plans future releases on other mobile platforms and also for the web.

"Up until now, augmented reality was something of a parlor trick," said Jonathan Coon, CEO of Glasses.com. "It was fun but just not accurate or easy enough to be useful. Our hope is that the glasses.com app will be to augmented-reality shopping what ‘Toy Story’ was for computer-generated animated films, it’s just the beginning."

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Kroger purchases Harris Teeter for $2.5 billion

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cincinnati — The Kroger Co. has reached an agreement to purchase all outstanding shares of Harris Teeter Supermarkets for $49.38 per share in cash, or about $2.5 billion. Kroger will finance the transaction with debt and also assume about $100 million of debt from Harris Teeter.

Harris Teeter operates 212 stores in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia primarily in the Carolinas. The company had revenues of approximately $4.5 billion for fiscal year 2012.

Together, the company will operate 2,631 supermarkets and employ over 368,300 associates across 34 states and the District of Columbia. In a press release, Kroger described Harris Teeter’s stores as primarily located in “high-growth markets, vacation destinations and university communities.”

Following closing, Harris Teeter will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary of Kroger and will continue to be led by key members of Harris Teeter’s senior management team. There are no plans to close stores, and associates will continue to have employment opportunities with both companies. Kroger headquarters will remain in Cincinnati, and Harris Teeter will keep its headquarters in Matthews, N.C.

"This is a financially and strategically compelling transaction and a unique opportunity for our shareholders and associates,” said David B. Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “We look forward to bringing together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter while continuing to operate and grow the Harris Teeter brands"

"We are excited about becoming part of The Kroger Co., one of the best food retailers in the U.S. while maintaining the Harris Teeter banner, our management teams, our new store growth plan, our distribution and manufacturing facilities in North Carolina as well as our headquarters in Matthews, N.C.,” said Thomas W. Dickson, chairman of the board and CEO of Harris Teeter.

The merger is expected to close following the satisfaction of customary closing conditions including approval by Harris Teeter shareholders and regulatory approval. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the transaction. Merrill Lynch is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Kroger and Arnold & Porter, LLP is acting as legal advisor to Kroger. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Harris Teeter and provided a fairness opinion to its board of directors. McGuireWoods LLP is acting as legal advisor to Harris Teeter.

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Market6 beefs up board

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — Market6, a leading provider of Web-based retail analytic applications, has appointed software industry veteran Ray B. Tacoma to the company’s board of directors.

Tacoma has more than 25 years of senior management experience with organizations such as Netezza, MicroStrategy, FileNet and Oracle. The board will look to Tacoma to provide it with extensive domain and industry knowledge so it can optimize Market6’s strategy and execution as it provides retailers and consumer goods companies with SaaS-based retail analytic applications.

“Market6 is transforming how retailers make use of information and analytics to drive their businesses,” said Tacoma. “With a deep understanding of retail business processes and a unique set of skills around advanced analytics, big data and SaaS delivery models, the company is moving quickly to expand their product set and customer base. I am delighted to be joining the board and look forward to helping Market6 realize their full potential as a leader at this important moment in the retail industry.”

Tacoma’s career in enterprise software has focused on helping companies develop effective sales models and then deploying them at scale through the development of sales organizations. Prior to joining the board of directors at Market6, Tacoma served as VP of worldwide sales at Netezza, where he grew sales from $5 million to $250 million annually (between 2003 and 2013), which helped position the company for a successful sale to IBM. Prior to Netezza, Tacoma served as VP of sales at CoreChange and MicroStrategy. At MicroStrategy, Tacoma built the management structure to support 450 sales teams, led sales during the transition from a private to public company and grew product and services sales revenue to more than $400 million annually. His career in technology, which spans 40 years, also includes time with companies such as DEC, Tandem, Sequent and nCube/Oracle.

“Ray brings tremendous experience and has a strategic and customer focused view of the business,” said Jim Kelly, Market6 CEO. “His proven record of helping analytics companies succeed by delivering products that provide measurable value for customers makes him an ideal addition to Market6’s board as we grow our business.”

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