OPERATIONS

New England retailer closing stores early for presidential debate

BY Marianne Wilson

The CEO of Jordan’s Furniture wants folks to watch the upcoming presidential debate, which is scheduled for Sept. 26 from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. EST.

“This is a very important election for our families, for our children and for future generations,” said Eliot Tatelman, president and CEO, Jordan’s Furniture, which his owned by Berkshire Hathaway. “By watching the debate live, it will give people the opportunity to make an educated decision and cast a responsible vote, so we are closing all Jordan’s Furniture stores at 8 p.m. next Monday.”

Jordan’s Furniture is known for its mega-stores which combine furniture and home furnishings with entertainment attractions. Its newest location, a 200,000-sq.-ft. store in New Haven, includes an elaborate indoor rope course, a water show with light and sound effects, a pizzeria and ice cream counter.

The company operates six locations in New England.

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WORKFORCE

Walmart pays out $200 million in cash bonuses to hourly workers

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart hourly employees are being rewarded for helping to improve customers’ satisfaction with the discounter’s stores.

The world's largest retailer said Wednesday it awarded more than $200 million in second quarter cash bonuses to more than 900,000 hourly workers across the United States.

The bonuses, which were based on stores’ performances from May through July of this year, are part of an overall incentive plan designed to reward associates whose stores have met their performance and customer service goals.

Eligible associates can earn the bonuses four times a year. The most recent one amounts to about $222 for each hourly employee.

The bonuses come as the chain reported its eighth consecutive U.S. same-store sales increase, with a gain of 1.6% during the second quarter. Earnings came in at $1.07 a share, which was better than expected.

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TECHNOLOGY

Target’s start-ups make their pitch

BY Marianne Wilson

Eleven retail tech startups took the stage at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall on Tuesday in front of nearly 1,000 people. The goal? Deliver the pitch of a lifetime.

The start-ups were part of the first-ever Target + Techstars accelerator program. They made their pitch at the program’s Demo Day, the culmination of an intense 14-week program. In rapid-fire, five-minute sessions, each startup pitched their hearts out to sell venture capitalists and retail and tech influencers on their business.

A recap of the outcomes can be found here on A Bullseye View. Some highlights:

• Inspectorio, the Hong Kong-based company bringing transparency to global supply chains, will begin a six-month pilot with Target this fall and open its U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis.

• MakerBloks, which creates interactive, app-connected STEM games for kids, announced it will be available in more than 700 Target locations nationwide.

• Branch Messenger, the mobile app that lets hourly workers easily swap shifts, view schedules and message one another, ran a successful pilot in 10 Target stores and announced it is moving its U.S. headquarters to Minneapolis.

• DIY flower kit startup ItsByU announced it will be an affiliate on Target’s wedding registry starting this fall.

• AddStructure, whose technology helps guests use voice search to search for products, told the audience it’s gearing up to run pilots with six of the nation’s biggest retailers, including Target.

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