FINANCE

Kroger ventures into Silicon Valley, purchases digital coupon leader YOU Tech

BY Marianne Wilson

Cincinnati — The Kroger Co. announced it has purchased the assets of YOU Technology Brand Services, the Silicon Valley-based provider of digital coupons and promotions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2008, YOU Tech’s retailer-centric, cloud-based platform bridges the gap between online engagement and in-store purchases, creating a measurable way for retailers and brands to drive consumer purchase decisions online, in-store, and on-the-go. Its network, which includes Kroger.com/digitalcoupons, includes over 10,000 retail stores representing over $100 billion in retail sales and 100 million U.S. households. YOU Tech will continue to serve existing and future retail customers

"YOU Tech’s nimble and innovative digital coupon platform has enabled Kroger to deliver hundreds of millions of digital coupons to Kroger customers," said Jeff Talbot, Kroger’s VP of customer loyalty. "This transaction is consistent with our digital customer growth plan and provides Kroger a significant opportunity to expand its presence in Silicon Valley, enhancing our exposure to new technologies. YOU Tech will benefit from Kroger’s strong balance sheet as it continues to expand its digital platform to many other retailers and CPG partners."

Kroger’s accelerated growth strategy includes targeted capital investments to increase its store base and square footage in both new and existing markets, and to strengthen its connection with customers through the growing digital and mobile channels.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Retail imports expected to drop in February

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Import volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to drop 8.4% in February from the same time last year as the shipping cycle reaches its slowest month of the year, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Ports and distribution centers are getting the break they deserve after the busy holiday season, but it won’t last long,” VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers will be moving spring merchandise toward their shelves in just a few weeks, and early numbers point to a busy season ahead.”

U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.3 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) in December, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 3.3% from November as the holiday season came to an end but up 0.6% from December 2012. The December numbers brought 2013 to a total of 16.2 million TEU, up 2.3% from 2012’s 15.8 million TEU.

January was estimated at 1.37 million TEU, up 4.5% from January 2013. February, historically the slowest month of the year, is forecast at 1.17 million TEU, down 8.4% from the same month last year. March is forecast at 1.29 million TEU, up 13.7% from last year; April at 1.39 million TEU, up 6.9%; May at 1.45 million TEU, up 4.2%; and June at 1.43 million TEU, up 5.6%. Those numbers would total 8.1 million TEU for the first half of the year, up 4.3% over last year.

The import numbers come as NRF is forecasting 4.1% sales growth in 2014, contingent on how Washington policies on economic issues affect consumer confidence.

“On the consumer side, there is continued hesitancy in spending as net disposable income remains virtually flat,” Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett said. “As a result, the inventory-to-sales ratio remains stubbornly high.”

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

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News

Pizza Patron selects Revel Systems’ POS solution

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Revel Systems, providers of enterprise iPad point-of-sale (POS) solutions, announced that pizza chain Pizza Patrón has selected Revel Systems as its POS solution for 100 plus store locations.

With the implementation of Revel Systems iPad POS across the Pizza Patrón franchise, stores can tap into cross-store metrics such as sales and inventory reports from one secure cloud based portal.

Pizza Patrón selected Revel Systems to manage inventory across storefronts as well as easily manage revenue and employees to ensure each neighborhood location is providing the best service and food to its customers. Additionally, Revel Systems POS solution provides a simple interface that allows managers to easily customize menus and functionalities as well as train new employees in little time.

Pizza Patrón executives also stated that they were attracted to Revel’s PCI compliance in the wake of malware attacks on POS Systems.

"Revel Systems is a simple, cost-effective solution that provides us real-time access to data for our entire chain of restaurants," said Antonio Swad, founder and CEO of Pizza Patrón. "We were looking for better analytical data ranging from product mix behavior to sales by day-part reports. Revel’s POS system provides user-friendly features that can handle the challenge of tracking inventory and reporting across multiple stores simultaneously and will also be beneficial in training new employees and managers at each location."

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