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Making Stores Accessible

BY CSA STAFF

By Alan Gettelman and Richard Duncan

It’s a fact: Safety awareness and accessibility compliance translates into ease of use for all customers. The Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Standards (ADAS) and ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) requirements not only make store spaces accessible, but should also help owners/operators avoid complaints and possible penalties.

Here are some key points:

ENTRANCE: For convenience and safety, a 2% maximum slope in any direction is allowed in doorway areas. All doors must provide at least a 32-in. clear opening with a closing speed of no more than five seconds. Thresholds may be no more than a ½-in. high.

ROUTES: A 36-in.-wide route of travel should be available to all areas with nothing projecting more than 4 ins. between 27 ins. to 80 ins. above the floor.

Accessible routes to racks, displays and kiosks should also provide 36 ins. of clear width. The aisle at check-out must allow a clear route of travel to and through, and the counter surface at check-out must be no more than 38 ins. high.

Accessible dressing/fitting room should have the same access aisle of 36 ins. or more, entry doors of 32 ins. or more, and a wall-mounted bench 20 ins. to 24 ins. deep and 42 ins. long, located at 17 ins. by 19 ins. above the floor. If provided, the mirror should be 18 ins. wide with the bottom no more than 35 ins. high, and the top not less than 74 ins. high.

RESTROOMS: Being ADA-compliant in retail restrooms is as important as cleanliness. Operators risk fines and closures for men’s and women’s facilities that do not adhere to specified mounting heights, reach ranges and operable parts located not more than 48 ins. above the finish floor for accessories, such as dispensers, receptacles and baby-changing stations. Requirements also pertain to restroom layouts for the lavatory area and toilet compartments.

In planning an accessible retail restroom, it’s important that entrances and exits are laid out to minimize congestion and for universal access. Passageways and access aisles should be at least 42 in. to 48 in. wide. Protrusions should be limited to between 27 ins. and 80 ins. in all circulation routes — passageways and access aisles are no more than 4 ins.

It’s also important to provide wheelchair turning spaces wherever required. The increased use of large wheelchairs and scooters requires larger maneuvering spaces. All accessories, faucets and flush values should be reachable and usable with one hand and not require more than 5 lbs. of force. There should be centered, minimum clear floor space of 30 ins. by 48 ins. provided at each accessory.

If six or more toilet compartments or urinals are used, there must be at least one ambulatory accessible toilet compartment in addition to the standard accessible compartment. Lastly, make sure to locate baby-changing stations so that they do not block passageways to accessible compartments.

DIVERSE USERS: The needs of people who use wheelchairs are fundamental factors for determining floor space, turning diameters, mounting heights and reach ranges. Accommodating the characteristics, needs and equipment required by a wide range of users takes into consideration the following factors:

• Stability and balance issues;

• Very short and very tall stature;

• Large and heavy;

• Illness/surgery recovery; and

• Senior citizens.

Alan Gettelman is VP external affairs, Bobrick Washroom Equipment, North Hollywood, Calif.; Richard Duncan is executive director, Mace Universal Design Institute, Chapel Hill, N.C.

As a special courtesy to architects and planners/operators of all types of retail establishments, Bobrick has been publishing and routinely updating the Planning Guide for Accessible Restrooms since the early ’90s. The latest version is available at Bobrick.com.

<!–{13939606732461}– By Alan Gettelman and Richard Duncan It’s a fact: Safety awareness and accessibility compliance translates into ease of use for all customers. The Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Standards (ADAS) and ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) requirements not only make store spaces accessible, but should also help owners/operators avoid complaints and possible penalties.

Here are some key points:

ENTRANCE: For convenience and safety, a 2% maximum slope in any direction is allowed in doorway areas. All doors must provide at least a 32-in. clear opening with a closing speed of no more than five seconds. Thresholds may be no more than a ½-in. high.

ROUTES: A 36-in.-wide route of travel should be available to all areas with nothing projecting more than 4 ins. between 27 ins. to 80 ins. above the floor.

Accessible routes to racks, displays and kiosks should also provide 36 ins. of clear width. The aisle at check-out must allow a clear route of travel to and through, and the counter surface at check-out must be no more than 38 ins. high.

Accessible dressing/fitting room should have the same access aisle of 36 ins. or more, entry doors of 32 ins. or more, and a wall-mounted bench 20 ins. to 24 ins. deep and 42 ins. long, located at 17 ins. by 19 ins. above the floor. If provided, the mirror should be 18 ins. wide with the bottom no more than 35 ins. high, and the top not less than 74 ins. high.

RESTROOMS: Being ADA-compliant in retail restrooms is as important as cleanliness. Operators risk fines and closures for men’s and women’s facilities that do not adhere to specified mounting heights, reach ranges and operable parts located not more than 48 ins. above the finish floor for accessories, such as dispensers, receptacles and baby-changing stations. Requirements also pertain to restroom layouts for the lavatory area and toilet compartments.

In planning an accessible retail restroom, it’s important that entrances and exits are laid out to minimize congestion and for universal access. Passageways and access aisles should be at least 42 in. to 48 in. wide. Protrusions should be limited to between 27 ins. and 80 ins. in all circulation routes — passageways and access aisles are no more than 4 ins.

It’s also important to provide wheelchair turning spaces wherever required. The increased use of large wheelchairs and scooters requires larger maneuvering spaces. All accessories, faucets and flush values should be reachable and usable with one hand and not require more than 5 lbs. of force. There should be centered, minimum clear floor space of 30 ins. by 48 ins. provided at each accessory.

If six or more toilet compartments or urinals are used, there must be at least one ambulatory accessible toilet compartment in addition to the standard accessible compartment. Lastly, make sure to locate baby-changing stations so that they do not block passageways to accessible compartments.

DIVERSE USERS: The needs of people who use wheelchairs are fundamental factors for determining floor space, turning diameters, mounting heights and reach ranges. Accommodating the characteristics, needs and equipment required by a wide range of users takes into consideration the following factors:

• Stability and balance issues;

• Very short and very tall stature;

• Large and heavy;

• Illness/surgery recovery; and

• Senior citizens.

Alan Gettelman is VP external affairs, Bobrick Washroom Equipment, North Hollywood, Calif.; Richard Duncan is executive director, Mace Universal Design Institute, Chapel Hill, N.C.

As a special courtesy to architects and planners/operators of all types of retail establishments, Bobrick has been publishing and routinely updating the Planning Guide for Accessible Restrooms since the early ’90s. The latest version is available at Bobrick.com.

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ECRM: Retail circular advertising trends, February 2014

BY CSA STAFF

ECRM compared retail circular advertising in February 2013 versus February 2014 and noted trends occurring across top retail chains. The home improvement retailers have continued to reverse trends from 2013. Home Depot doubled its page count and slightly decreased ads per page, leading to longer, slightly less dense circulars. Despite this, Home Depot still ran less than a quarter of the number of pages that Lowe’s ran, largely due to Lowe’s running three circulars to Home Depot’s one.

Within the grocery channel, both Kroger and Safeway saw a moderate increase in ads per page. Safeway decreased its page count year-over-year, although it still leads Kroger, which continued to increase its page counts. The number of pages per circular was similar for the two retailers as well, with Kroger circulars being six to eight pages long, while Safeway’s were four to seven pages long. Kroger released only four circulars for the month however, compared to Safeway’s seven.

Outside of these channels, the largest change came at Toys “R” Us, which saw a large year-over-year increase in page count, largely due to a mid-month “Deals of the Week” circular, which was not run last year.

About ECRM’s Business Intelligence

ECRM’s Ad Comparisons technology captures promotional data from the top U.S. and Canadian retailers in all major markets. Ad Comparisons captures more than 40 metrics for each ad block and provides hundreds of analytic reports to put the advertising data in context. Ad Comparisons takes an individual approach to ensure all data and reports fit the needs of each user.

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Home Depot advancing omnichannel agenda

BY CSA STAFF

The nation’s leading home improvement retailer is no stranger to e-commerce, but its efforts to offer a more robust omnichannel experience took a major step forward recently with the opening of the company’s first direct fulfillment center.

The approximately 1 million-sq.-ft. facility less than an hour south of Atlanta in the community of Locust Growth is the first of three new direct fulfillment centers (DFCs) Home Depot plans to build in the next two years. The other two facilities, strategically located in Perris, Calif., and Troy, Ohio, will stock more than 100,000 items, which are capable of being shipped to 90% of zip codes in the United States within 48 hours.

“We tried to look at it from the customer’s perspective of how they want to be supported instead of designing a facility based on how we want to support customers,” said Scott Spata, Home Depot’s VP of distribution. “These facilities are designed for same-day order picking and they will also allow us to experience out of stocks less often.”

In addition to accelerating shipments to customers and more reliable in-stock levels, Spata said the DFCs combined with a network of more than 2,000 stores will help the company more effectively satisfy shoppers’ expectations for a seamless experience. Currently, about one third of Home Depot’s e-commerce volume results from shoppers who buy online and have their goods shipped from DFCs to stores, or shoppers who buy online and pick up goods that are already stocked at the stores.

An even more extensive assortment of more than 500,000 items is available from what Spata called the long tail of the Home Depot’s product offering. While the company can satisfy the majority of shoppers’ needs between the 35,000 items in stores and the 100,000 items in DFCs, a more extensive assortment is available from the company’s vendor-direct program.

“It is a seamless experience for the customer,” Spata said, referring to orders placed on HomeDepot.com that are fulfilled directly by suppliers.

To further develop its omnichannel capabilities, Home Depot expects to pilot this year ship-from-store capabilities and refine the processes on how products ordered online and returned to stores are returned to distribution centers or made available for sale.

“Buy online, return in stores has been an absolute homerun for customers,” Spata said.

However, those items are then accumulated in stores for shipment back to the DFC since Home Depot doesn’t allow non-store SKUs returned to stores to be sold in stores. That may change over time as the company’s e-commerce volume builds, but for now the approach involves leveraging back haul capabilities and the creation of regional reclamation centers to more efficiently process returns.

While Home Depot has considerable work ahead to execute its omnichannel vision, the company has enjoyed tremendous e-commerce growth. About the time the DFC opened last month, Home Depot CEO Frank Blake reported the company’s U.S. stores produced a 4.9% comp increase and e-commerce sales grew by 50%.

“Our online customer satisfaction scores improved as we continued to enhance the experience across our full site, mobile and tablet and we’re seeing accelerated improvement in our conversion rates,” Blake said.

Those metrics are poised to improve going forward as the company integrates its new DFC into the supply chain and takes the locations in California and Ohio online.

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