FINANCE

Kohl’s Q1 profit falls 5% but beats Street

BY Marianne Wilson

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s Corp. reported a 5% drop in first-quarter profit on weak sales fell due to unseasonably cold weather in large parts of the United States.

Kohl’s net income fell to $147 million in the quarter ended May 4, down from $154 million a year earlier.

Sales fell 1% to $4.2 billion. Comparable-store sales fell 1.9%.

“After a slow start, sales improved considerably in April as the weather finally improved in our most weather-sensitive regions,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO. “Despite the lower than expected sales, we outperformed our earnings guidance as gross margin results and expense management were better than expected. Our inventory levels are consistent with our expectations."

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OPERATIONS

SDL Survey: Consumers expect same pricing, discounts and sales across channels

BY Marianne Wilson

Maidenhead, United Kingdom — Sixty-nine percent of shoppers expect a brand’s online store, mobile app and physical store to offer same pricing, discounts and sales, according to a survey by SDL that looked at the mobile and social media habits of consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore.

The survey also found 62% of respondents use a mobile device at a brand’s physical location to compare products and prices. And, nearly one third of respondents in all locales use a brand’s mobile app or web site when looking to learn more about a brand from their mobile device. These results confirm that consumers function seamlessly across channels when interacting with brands and as part of their experience is an expectation of consistency and value.

SDL Campaign Management & Analytics also found the “showrooming” trend is still very much relevant, with 77% of respondents confirming they “showroom.”

The online survey also looked at how consumers are using social media when interacting with brands. Key findings include:

  • A third of U.S., U.K., Australian and Singapore respondents have claimed promotions on social media.
  • More than half of respondents (58%) share positive experiences and seek advice from friends and family when they talk about brands on social media.
  • U.K. respondents complain about service on social media more than U.S., Australian or Singapore respondents.
  • When they do express feedback, Facebook is the most popular choice across all locations.

“It’s clear from the survey results that consumers want brands to improve the dynamic between online, mobile and in-store to meet up with their expectations of a consistent experience,” said Joe Stanhope, chief strategy officer, SDL Campaign Management & Analytics.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Swedish retailer taps Starcounter to power supply chain management application

BY Staff Writer

Stockholm, Sweden — Starcounter announced that its high performance in-memory NoSQL database powers the supply chain management application utilized by Gekas, a superstore in Sweden visited by 4.5 million customers each year. With 100,000 different products in stock and all items in its warehouse sold out more than three times per week, Gekas uses the low-cost system from Heads, a real-time retail application vendor, to integrate and streamline its entire supply chain, from procurement and its central warehouse to customer sales.

“Big standard supply chain management solutions are too complex and expensive, and most other systems are focused on financials and bookkeeping. We wanted an ERP system that focuses on our critical business processes, and the Heads solution based on Starcounter’s NoSQL database fit the bill,” said Johan Armfelt, CIO of Gekas. “In addition to centralizing all of our retail items in real time, the solution lowers our maintenance costs, as all data is stored in just one central server. It also cost less to develop compared to buying a big standard system and having to customize it to meet our needs.”

Starcounter’s database enables Heads to provide Gekas with a high performance system that processes large volumes of ACID-compliant database transactions per second on a single server. The database also offers continuous traceability of all retail items in real time. For example, for each product, Gekas’ procurement officer can see how much has been sold and how much remains in stock, both in real time.

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