New Payment Plans
With locations seemingly on every street corner across the nation, large coffeehouses and small coffee shops alike are looking at new ways to attract shoppers in need of a caffeine fix. For Woods Coffee, a six-store chain based in Lynden, Wash., a new RFID-based solution is helping the company identify customers, and enabling them to electronically, contactlessly and securely pay for orders.
Woods Coffee cafes’ comfortable atmosphere invites visitors to sip a coffee as they sit and relax, or catch up on work with the help of free broadband wireless Internet access. The company’s SpeedBean payment option is the newest reason for customers to return to the cafes.
Shoppers can get RFID-enabled key fobs at any of the chain’s locations. Then shoppers are directed to sign onto www.speedbean.com, where they link their checking or savings accounts to electronically load the IR SpeedBean accounts with a pre-determined amount.
As shoppers pay for orders, they simply wave the key fob over a dedicated payment terminal to complete the sale. The solution, which is provided by Accelitec, Bellingham, Wash., can also be programmed to link an electronic photo of the user to the tag, further securing the transaction.
“Receipts can be sent to an e-mail or mobile phone, freeing up the visitor to just pay and go,” explained Tom Bartz, CEO at Accelitec. “Retailers can also opt to have users input their cell-phone number or a PIN to further secure the transaction.”
The program currently processes approximately 22% of Woods’ daily transactions, and Speed-Bean has helped the chain increase market-basket sizes by 26%, he noted.
Woods, which installed the solution about two years ago, also acts as “Accelitec’s test lab,” Bartz said. “We are currently in discussions with two supermarket chains, a national company and a regional chain, as well as other retailers in the coffee-house space.”
Winn-Dixie team honored for turnaround
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The team that lead Winn-Dixie Stores’ successful turnaround initiative is being honored by the Turnaround Management Association for the best ‘Mega Company Turnaround’ for 2007. Comprised of financial experts from The Blackstone Group, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Smith Hulsey & Busey, the team helped Winn-Dixie regain the market share and profits it started to lose in the mid 1990s and early 2000s to competitors Publix and Wal-Mart.
Winn-Dixie filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2005 after reporting year-to-date losses of $552.8 million or $3.93 per share of common stock and a decline of 4.9% in identical-store sales in its second fiscal quarter over the same period in 2004.
Despite the difficulty of achieving a succesful turnaround, Winn-Dixie began its reorganization effort, while still continuing to operate its core business and preserving jobs. According to the Turnaround Management Association, it created new common stock for five classes of unsecured creditors, with recoveries ranging from about 96% to 53%. The company emerged from bankruptcy on Nov. 21, 2006.
For its fiscal year ended June 27, Winn-Dixie reported adjusted EBITDA of $85.9 million compared to a loss of $27.8 million last year and an identical-store sales increase of 1.6%
Sears ends deal with maternity retailer
PHILADELPHIA Sears and Mothers Work, the world’s leading maternity apparel retailer, will not be renewing their agreement, Mothers Work announced today. Under their current agreement, Mothers Works operates the maternity apparel department in 502 Sears stores through the sale of its Two Hearts Maternity branded merchandise.
Mothers Work said it expects its partnership with Sears to end on June 20, 2008, when it current deal with the company is expected to expire.
Rebecca Matthias, president and ceo of Mothers Work, noted, “While we are disappointed about the end of our relationship with Sears, we feel the decision not to proceed with a renewal is in the best interest of our stockholders since we were unable to reach terms on a renewal which would be favorable for Mothers Work and our stockholders. “