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Metro Group’s Real hypermarket chain deploys IBM couponing app

BY Marianne Wilson

Armonk, N.Y. — Hypermarket chain Real, part of Metro Group, worked with IBM to launch a new electronic coupon system throughout its 320 German stores. This first-of-a-kind digital coupon system, developed with IBM Research scientists, enables consumers to use their mobile phones to find and redeem e-coupons as they shop in stores. It delivers a convenient and personalized service to shoppers, even if they left their paper coupons at home.

Real hypermarkets, which carry about 80,000 items, already conducts the largest coupon program in Germany through the company’s "Payback" program. The retailer cites such customer loyalty programs as an important part of its business strategy. Real’s coupon program enables in-store Payback members to use their mobile phones to browse online coupons as they walk through the aisles. Shoppers can choose their favorite coupons from the REAL homepage or a Payback app on their smartphones. In a maximum of 500 milliseconds, the system confirms their choice and transfers an eCoupon to the store’s "3V – Value Voucher Validation" coupon system in real time. To redeem the eCoupon, customers display their Payback membership card upon check-out and the transaction is processed automatically.

"In essence, we are simplifying and improving the coupon redemption process," said Bernd Hasenbank, head of point of sale solutions at Real.

Real expects that it will be receiving several hundred thousand eCoupon queries and eCoupon redemptions per day at the cash registers of its 320 stores.

The new 3V coupon system at Real is based on existing IBM solutions at Metro Group, which are compliant with the EPC Information Services Standard (EPCIS) of EPCglobal. The system is based on IBM InfoSphere Traceability Server, a high-performance data storage device, that is able to manage and analyze large amounts of data, integrate master data systems and provide data in real-time for internal and external applications.

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OfficeMax swings to profit in Q2

BY CSA STAFF

Naperville, Ill. — Office Max Inc. reported Thursday net income of $10.7 million for the second quarter, besting Wall Street predictions and representing a strong turnaround from last year’s $3 million loss stemming from store closures and severance expenses.

Revenue for the quarter slipped 2.7% to $1.6 billion, missing analysts’ forecasted $1.64 billion in revenue. The office supply retailer said it will reinstate its quarterly common stock dividend, which it suspended more than three years ago.

As reported previously, OfficeMax’s full year outlook includes a net reduction in store counts with as many as 35 store closures and one to two store openings in the United States, as well as eight-10 store openings and one to two store closures in Mexico.

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Rite Aid same-store sales edge up in July

BY Staff Writer

Camp Hill, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. reported Thursday that July same-store sales rose 0.5%.

Total sales dipped 0.1% to $1.88 billion.

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