SUPPLY CHAIN

Hudson’s Bay Co. expands robotics to U.S. operations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Hudson’s Bay Co. is bullish on robotics.

The department store chain has called its robotically managed distribution center in Toronto “a giant leap forward” in fulfilling its digital orders. Now the company hopes to gain similar successes here in the United States when it rolls out similar technology in its Pottsville, Pa., facility during 2017, to serve both its Lord & Taylor and Saks Off 5th online businesses, the chain’s CEO Gerald Storch said during the company’s third quarter earnings call on Dec. 6.

Hudson’s Bay Co.’s robotic technology can fulfill orders 12 to 15 times faster than manual processes in its Toronto-based distribution center. The technology also has helped the department store chain optimize the vertical space within the facility.

Once in place in Pottsville, “this improved technology will help us increase the speed of our order fulfillment, optimize utilization of space in our distribution center, and reduce expenses associated with our rapidly growing digital sales, which grew by 12.9% in our legacy businesses during the third quarter,” Storch said.

The U.S. expansion dovetails into the company’s plan to reduce operating costs and increase efficiencies among an increasingly evolving omnichannel model.

“We continue to focus on delighting our customers by building a digital and brick-and-mortar platform that will allow them to shop whenever, wherever and however they choose,” Storch added. “While we’ve made considerable progress in this area over the last year, we continue to look for areas in which we can improve efficiencies and reduce our cost structure.”

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REAL ESTATE

Georgia town mulls ideas to aid failing centers

BY Al Urbanski

Town administrators in Newnan, Georgia, have proposed offering incentives to owners of local shopping centers to re-invigorate them.

Municipal staff this week invited a group of community leaders to brainstorm about what could be done with the number of dilapidated centers in Newnan. Obstacles preventing owners from re-investing, the group said, included lack of cash flow, fear of selling due to capital gains taxes, and a reluctance to invest until neighboring properties improved.

No decisions were made, but an opinion piece in the Newnan Times-Herald posed that incentives such as property tax abatements, streetscaping, locating a police precinct nearby a center, or committing to lease space for a city agency.

“The city has its own reasons for upgrading these properties,” read the editorial. “Increased property values means increased property tax revenue, and not just for the city but also for the school system.”


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ECOMMERCE

Amazon price changes less ‘dynamic’ Thanksgiving weekend

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon knows Thanksgiving weekend shoppers are typically bargain hunters, yet the company became increasingly less price dynamic as the weekend wore on.

That’s according to an infographic from 360pi, which examined the promotional and pricing strategies of Amazon, Walmart and Target, among others, during Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

When comparing pricing behavior across more than 23,000 electronics products, Amazon, Walmart and Target all became progressively less price dynamic over the course of Thanksgiving weekend. However, when looking at the home good category, Amazon was less price dynamic on this category compared to Black Friday 2015, data showed.

When analyzing pricing on 400 small appliances, Bed Bath & Beyond narrowed their pricing gap with Amazon from 43% on Nov. 22 to 21% on Nov. 28 (Cyber Monday). Meanwhile, Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond were lockstep in their price changes from Nov. 20 to Nov. 28 (Cyber Monday).

The infographic is part of the pricing technology provider’s annual “Holiday Insight Series,” which delivers subscribers weekly holiday product and pricing trends across several major retailers.

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