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Manthan Systems releases price optimization tool

BY Dan Berthiaume

Phoenix – Manthan Systems is introducing its ARC Pricing Optimization application. ARC Pricing Optimization offers capabilities designed specifically for the retail environment and is a part of the company’s latest release of its ARC Merchandise Analytic application, MA6.4
Specific capabilities include:

Auto Recommendation: Identify products at group or individual store level that are candidates for price changes based on performance objectives and pricing strategies.

Optimization Capabilities: Forecast and simulate scenarios based on changes to inputs like pricing strategies applied or targeted performance on metrics.

Execution Capabilities: Implement price recommendations through an automated or governed process to reflect the changes with minimal human intervention.

Guided Analytics: Use workflow-driven analytics to execute specific business processes, from discovery and auto-recommendation, to decision-making and execution in real-time.

Rich Visualization: See the impact of price changes and spot exceptions that need specific action, without having to browse rows of data.

Predictive Analytics: Close the loop between “analyze” and “act” with predictive and simulation innovations including write-back capabilities to source systems.

“The price optimization solutions offered in the market today are not meant for industries like retail that have specific pricing requirements with high functionality.” said Raj Nellutla, senior VP merchandise analytics for Manthan. “On the other hand, we have developed this very unique application that is custom designed for retail pricing scenarios with features like auto recommendation, discovery, forecasting, simulation, and visualization that provide the business user a guided experience in a user friendly environment.”

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Wintry weather affects Pier 1 Dec. holiday results

BY CSA STAFF

Pier 1 president and CEO Alex W. Smith expressed extreme disappointment over the company’s December sales results, which came in well below expectations despite having kicked off the holiday selling season with a record post-Thanksgiving weekend.

The disruption caused by wintry weather in the first half of December, which the company addressed in its third quarter earnings call, continued to affect its results throughout the balance of the month and into January. Store traffic in key markets was significantly affected by adverse weather in fiscal December, with the majority of the days concerned falling on all-important weekends.

“Our holiday assortments were excellent and our execution both in-store and online was first class — making it all the more upsetting to have our results impacted by forces beyond our control,” said Smith.

The company’s comparable store sales for the five-week period ended Jan. 4 increased 1.3% compared to the five-week period ended Jan. 5, 2013.

The company’s e-commerce business remained strong for the period, however, and continues to outperform the company’s expectations, generating approximately 4% of total sales in fiscal December. In fact, the sales contribution from Pier1.com was substantially higher in weather-impacted areas and reflects the increasing importance of the company’s omnichannel strategy, 1 Pier 1.

“Once again we reached new monthly highs in terms of both traffic and conversion through Pier1.com, with the site averaging 2.2 million visitors per week in December,” added Smith.

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Survey: Landscaping top DIY project for 2014

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta — Landscaping is the most popular outdoor do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement New Year’s resolution project. According to a recent online survey of 540 homeowners by the Home Projects Council (HPC), homeowners selected landscaping (15.2%), planting a garden (13.5%) and building a deck (6.3%) as the top three outdoor DIY home improvement New Year’s resolution projects.

Landscaping is defined as improving the appearance of an outdoor area with design elements like stepping stones, benches, fountains, waterfalls, and other hardscapes features. By comparison, planting a garden pertains only to transforming an outdoor area into a space where plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables are grown. Nearly 43% of the survey respondents plan to spend more money and nearly 45% plan to spend more time on outdoor DIY home improvement projects in 2014 when compared to last year.

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