INVENTORY

Oakley selects 7thonline planning and assortment solution

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Cross-channel merchandise planning and assortment solution provider 7thonline said Thursday that sports brand Oakley has selected 7thonline Merchandise and Assortment Management to increase the productivity of its inventory and merchandising process.

The solution includes merchandise financial planning, visual and analytical assortment planning, in-season OTB management and forecasting, and embedded business intelligence, based on powerful optimization engines.

“With 7thonline, we will be able to move to a proactive buying model, with stronger transparencies between ownership of inventory and store demand,” said Erik Searles, VP Oakley Retail. “We expect improved product margins and profits by executing localized, demand-driven store assortments.”

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An interesting development in warehouse club comps

BY CSA STAFF

A funny thing happened on the way to Costco reporting a 6% increase in November same-store sales.

The warehouse club operator noted that sales in the electronics area increased in the high single digits and, in a reversal of prior year trends, attributed the gain to higher average selling prices as opposed to strong unit volume. In fact, unit volumes of televisions declined, but the drop was offset by strong sales of pricey big screen LED models as opposed to the prior year when sales were still dominated by LCD and plasma models that were experiencing deflationary pricing.

Whether Sam’s Club experienced a similar phenomenon depends on if it had the inventory in place to capitalize on demand among its affluent shoppers for LED models or if it continued to chase sales of LCD and plasma models where prices again hit new lows this year. For example, on Black Friday Walmart offered a 40-inch Emerson LCD for $248 and a 32-inch Emerson for $188.

Aside from the trends in the electronics space, Sam’s Club likely experienced favorable trends in other aspects of its business which tend to mirror the performance of Costco. For example, Costco noted that comps in the food and sundries and softlines categories increased in the high single digits. Gas was also an area of strength and if included in Costco comp calculations the figure was 9% instead of 6% as the average selling price of gallon was $3.44 this year compared to $2.85 last year.

As for areas where Costco was strongest, it highlighted Texas, California and the Midwest. Sam’s has it highest concentration of clubs in Texas so it is noteworthy that Costco single out that state as an area of outperformance.

Costco ended the period with a total of 596 clubs globally, including 433 in the United States and Puerto Rico compared to Sam’s Club 610 domestic units.

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NEW names conference co-chairs

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — Eva Kohn of Valassis Inc. and Subriana Pierce of Supervalu were named co-chairs of the Network of Executive Women CPG Retail Diversity Forum 2012 scheduled for March 6 to 8 in Dallas. The NEW Diversity Forum, formerly the Multicultural Workforce Conference, is the consumer products and retail industry’s leading diversity and inclusion event.

“Eva Kohn and Subriana Pierce are well recognized by their industry peers as thought leaders on the subject of workplace diversity and its bottom-line benefits,” said NEW president and CEO Joan Toth. “They both bring significant real-life experience to the table, which has enhanced the NEW Diversity Forum’s program, making the event relevant and valuable for women and men across CPG retail functions.”

Kohn serves as SVP strategic accounts at Valassis where she is responsible for more than $1 billion in revenue and oversees the firm’s largest retail clients. Pierce serves as SVP sales and merchandising for Albertsons Southern California Division, leading a team of more than 50 people responsible for developing sales and merchandising strategies at 258 stores throughout Southern California and Las Vegas.

As co-chairs of the CPG Retail Diversity Forum, Kohn and Pierce will oversee an event focused on such pillars of workplace diversity as managing diverse work teams, marketing to multicultural consumers and leveraging supplier diversity. Speakers scheduled to participate in the event include Tom Greco, president of Frito-Lay North America, Anthony Carter, global chief diversity officer for Johnson & Johnson and Linda Clement Holmes, chief diversity officer and SVP of global business services for Procter & Gamble.

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