FINANCE

Kantar Retail: December same-store sales edge higher

BY Marianne Wilson

Columbus, Ohio — A slowing trend in retail same-store sales leveled out at 3.6% growth in December as shoppers’ spending plans firmed up in time for the holidays while remaining value-focused, according to Kantar Retail.

The sales-weighted composite for the 24 retailers reporting — most of them apparel retailers — was up modestly from the 3.1% same-store sales gain last month and the 3.2% gain in December of 2010. “The holiday results reflect trends we can continue to expect into the New Year. We’re seeing weak-to-modest growth overall that hides pockets of strength skewed toward upscale retailers and value-focused retailers that win over shoppers at the expense of their competitors,” said Frank Badillo, senior economist, Kantar Retail.

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OPERATIONS

Kronos Retail Labor Index indicates hiring recovery

BY Marianne Wilson

Chelmsford, Mass. — Monthly hires in the retail industry remain well above the lows reached during the recession and suggest retail hiring is continuing to improve following sharp declines in 2008 and 2009, according to the January Kronos Retail Labor Index.

The Index dipped to 3.5% in December, reflecting a 7.6% drop in hires made. (The January report includes data for December 2011. The analysis and write-up is prepared by Macroeconomic Advisers LLC).

“The December decline in hires followed a strong 8.0% increase in hires in November, which could indicate retailers made hiring decisions earlier in the year in anticipation of increased traffic and stronger holiday sales,” said ” Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers.

On average, retailers in the Kronos sample made nearly 34,000 hires in November and December, broadly consistent with the number of hires made over the previous six months.

“This suggests retail hiring has stabilized following sharp declines during the recession,” Varvares said. “However, retail hiring in this sample remains far below pre-recession levels, when firms made roughly 55,000 hires per month.”

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News

Guess implements VeriFone GlobalBay iPad Retailing Solution

BY Staff Writer

San Jose, Calif. — Apparel retailer Guess has implemented the VeriFone GlobalBay iPad Retailing solution, from VeriFone Systems, in a dozen stores in the United States, taken the technology on the road to Asia, and plans to expand the deployment widely in 2012. The apparel retailer is using the VeriFone solution to enable consumer interaction with iPads mounted on rolling stands that serve as self-service kiosks to its online and in-store products to enhance the overall shopping experience and generate additional sales.

“VeriFone’s GlobalBay iPad Retailing solution provides Guess with the flexibility to easily configure, customize and deploy multiple customer engagement capabilities and staff training content on the fly,” said Guess executive VP and CIO Michael Relich. “Consumers can access our online resources in the store and sales associates can roll the iPads into the dressing room to visually display options and accessories to make shopping more fulfilling and enjoyable.”

The VeriFone GlobalBay iPad Retailing App is powered by an easy-to-use web-based content management console that allows the retailer to easily design, brand and manage iPad Apps. No programming skills are required. Apps deployed via the VeriFone GlobalBay solution sync rich content locally to the device so that users experience an optimized iPad shopping experience. Online connectivity allows for real-time interface to web-based assets and e-commerce transactions when required.

Within the store, the VeriFone GlobalBay iPad application allows shoppers and store associates to browse various styles via the LookBook functionality and to select products for either immediate purchase or order online if the product is not available in the store. After hours, the iPad is used for distribution of training videos to store associates and managers.

Outside the store, Guess has deployed the VeriFone GlobalBay iPad solution to events, including the recent Jingle Ball at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and on a six-week roadshow in Asia that leveraged customer loyalty enrollment in Chinese as well as local sizing explanations and related product imagery.

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