Maxima selects Galleria for merchandising solution
Chicago — Galleria Retail Technology Solutions said Tuesday that Lithuanian retailer Maxima Grupe will use a range of Galleria solutions to automate and optimize its merchandising strategy.
Maxima plans to implement Intelligent Store Optimization, Behavioural Cluster Planning, Customer Centric Merchandising and Galleria Foundation Services in more than 400 stores across Eastern Europe, according to Edvinas Volkas, chief food purchaser at Maxima group.
"With an ever expanding range of stores in different markets, Maxima’s goal is to optimize our selling space in every store and ensure that we have an appropriate assortment to meet our individual customer needs," Volkas said. "Galleria offers us a complete, single-source solution to automate our merchandising processes across our whole store estate."
Smartphones shown to drive demand for mobile banking and payments
New York — Research by ACI Worldwide and Aite Group has identified a new group of smartphone fanatics – coined Smartphonatics – are driving demand for mobile banking and other financial services.
The study, which examined mobile banking and payment adoption rates in 14 countries, identified a stark difference between mobile adoption among Smartphonatics (whose behaviors are changed from smartphone use) and other consumers: while 80% of Smartphonatics have used their smartphones for mobile banking, only one-third of non-Smartphonatics report doing so.
Similarly, 70% of Smartphonatics have used their smartphones for mobile payments, while less than a quarter of non-Smartphonatics have done so.
“Smartphonatics enthusiastically use their smartphones when they shop for products and services as well as when they interact with their banks,” said Ron Shevlin, senior analyst, Aite Group. “They exist around the world and while they may be more concentrated in some countries it is quite clear they are an emerging consumer force.”
Smartphonatics are driving the adoption of mobile banking and payments, added Shevlin, and will be an agent for change.
The survey found that Smartphonatics are more common in India and China than in the United States and Europe. But, globally, nearly 25% of consumers can be classified as Smartphonatics.
The researchers assured that mobile will not replace traditional banking or payment systems. The study also determined that the emergence of Smartphonatics will not result in the demise of traditional banking or payment systems. The findings indicate that while using a mobile device is the preferred method of payment and banking in many groups, it is not expected to be the only method. Smartphonatics are more willing than other consumers to experiment with different approaches to mobile payments and banking. Also, simply owning a smartphone does not make one a Smartphonatic.
“Consumers expect to shop and transact anywhere, at any time, making mobile the hottest area of opportunity for financial institutions, processors and retailers today,” said Ralph Dangelmaier, president, Global Markets and Services, ACI Worldwide.
J.C. Penney loses $163 million in Q1; same-store sales slide 18.9%
Dallas — J.C. Penney Co. on Tuesday reported a wider-than-expected loss of $163 million, or 75 cents a share, for its fiscal quarter ended April 28, 2012, compared with a year-earlier profit of $64 million.
Excluding markdowns to reduce inventory levels, restructuring costs and pension-plan expenses, the loss was $55 million or $0.25 per share, compared with a year-earlier profit of 36 cents.
Same-store sales declined 18.9% in the quarter. Total sales dropped 20.1% to $3.15 billion, which J.C. Penney said included the effects of exiting its outlet business. Internet sales through Jcp.com were $271 million in the first quarter, plunging 27.9% from last year.
The company said that while sales were slower than expected, its transformation was ahead of schedule.
“Sales and profitability have been tougher than anticipated during the first 13 weeks, but the transformation is ahead of schedule,” said Ron Johnson, CEO of J.C. Penney. “While we have work to do to educate the customer on our pricing strategy and to drive more traffic to our stores, we are confident in our vision to become America’s favorite store. We fully expect that the bold and strategic changes we are making to our operations will result in improved profitability and sustainable growth over the long term.”
J.C. Penney is in the midst of a major transformation, which includes a new everyday low pricing strategy that was launched on February 1, 2012. The strategy replaced Penney’s previous heavy reliance on promotions and discounting.
Gross margin narrowed to 37.6% from 40.5% due to lower-than-expected sales and the impact of deeper seasonal markdowns to clear inventory.