OPERATIONS

McAlister’s Deli names franchise vet chief development officer

BY Dan Berthiaume

Alpharetta, Ga. – McAlister’s Deli has named Jeff Sturgis as chief development officer. Sturgis has more than 17 years of experience in the franchise industry, including working as a consultant as well as senior management and development positions with Fantastic Sams Hair Salons and Focus Brands.

Sturgis will lead development functions including franchise sales, real estate, store design and construction.

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FINANCE

Report: Indie bookstores rebound

BY Dan Berthiaume

Atlanta – Independent bookstores are reportedly growing sales at a healthy rate despite stiff competition from Amazon.com. According to an article in Fortune, American Booksellers Association figures show that independent bookstore sales in the U.S. grew 8% last year and are on track to grow at a similar pace this year.

Independent bookstores are competing with Amazon using strategies such as personalized recommendations from store employees rather than from automated tracking software. In addition, the stores, which generally cannot compete with Amazon on price, frequent offer community events and café sections to provide a destination for customers. They also often operate their own e-commerce businesses.

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FINANCE

Deloitte: U.S. holiday sales to rise 4% to 4.5%

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — Holiday sales are expected to climb to between $963 and $967 billion, representing a 4% to 4.5% increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) this year from last year’s season, according to the new Deloitte holiday sales forecast. The growth rate is on par with last year’s 4.5% gain.

In addition, Deloitte forecasts a 12.5 to 13% increase in non-store sales. Nearly three-quarters of non-store sales result from the online channel with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.

Deloitte also anticipates that mobile-influenced retail store sales will account for 8%, or $66 billion, in retail store sales this holiday season, driven by consumers’ store-related smartphone activity such as product research, price comparison or mobile application use.

"We anticipate non-store sales growth will continue to surpass overall retail sales growth," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail & Distribution sector leader. “In addition, shoppers researching their purchases electronically, via their PC, tablet or mobile phone, are increasingly influencing in-store sales, particularly as we see greater integration across retailers’ store, online and mobile channels. More retailers are offering services such as ‘buy online and pick up in store,’ as well as inventory from other locations and price matching on the spot. The store is still a core element of holiday shopping, and retailers leading the way this season will be those that effectively bring together their pricing, promotions, merchandise and inventory management across both their physical and digital storefronts."

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