ECOMMERCE

Office supplies giant improves visibility across its supply chain

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Office Depot is positioning itself to remove friction throughout its customers’ shopping experiences.

The office supplies giant is partnering with Elementum, which provides a real-time supply chain platform that unifies procurement, logistics, manufacturing and inventory operations. By leveraging the company’s cloud-based Product Graph solution, Office Depot will gain global visibility across every segment of its business operations.

The platform enables Office Depot teams to interact proactively across functions as issues arise. It also keeps users abreast of production functions, shipping and inventory based on data aggregated from all integrated Elementum apps.

Armed with these details, Office Depot can shrink lead times and ensure material availability; as well as proactively adjust to issues in real time to deliver on-time and prevent stockouts. In addition, the technology will accelerate decision-making among cross-functional teams.

“Utilizing Elementum is a game-changer for our operations and performance,” said Gerry Smith, CEO of Office Depot. “With this sophisticated technology, we will transform our company, as we fully leverage this tremendous asset to better serve our existing customers and seek new opportunities.”

The solution will support merchandise moving through approximately 1,400 retail stores and Office Depot’s e-commerce operation.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Walmart jump starts the holidays with layaway return; reveals 25 must-have toys

BY Marianne Wilson

The nation's largest retailer is gearing up for the holidays with the early return of its popular layaway program and stocking up on exclusive toys.

The program went into effect on Sept. 1. Again this year, there is no opening fee for customers to start a layaway account, and they only need to put down 10% (or $10, whichever is greater).

Customers can put items as low as $10 on layaway with a $50 minimum basket, and they have until Dec. 11 to pay off their account. Approximately 40,000 items are available for layaway.

Walmart on Wednesday also announced its list of what it predicts will be the "hottest" toys this holiday season — and nearly a quarter will be available only at Walmart (see list at end of story). To come up with its list, the discounter said it enlisted the help of hundreds of kids, from 18 months to 12 years old, to play with hundreds of contenders.

Between Walmart stores and Walmart.com, the retailer will offer more than 1,000 new toys this holiday season, including more than 300 exclusive items.

Here are Walmart's top 25 holiday toy picks:

Hatchimals Surprise (details to be released Oct. 6)

Fingerlings

littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

Num Noms Nail Polish Maker

FurReal Friends Roarin’ Tyler The Playful Tiger

Barbie DreamHorse and Doll

Fisher-Price Zoom ’n Crawl Monster

L.O.L. Surprise Fizz Factory

Soggy Doggy Board Game

Mayka Toy Block Tape

Frozen Sleigh (Walmart exclusive)

Adventure Force Light Command Light-Up Motorized Blaster (*Walmart exclusive)

Monster Jam Grave Digger (Walmart exclusive)

Huffy Electric Green Machine Trike

Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K

RECOIL Starter Set

New Bright Radio Control Tumblebee

VTech Pop-a-Balls Drop and Pop Ball Pit (Walmart exclusive)

Radio Control DashCam (Walmart exclusive)

Dusty the Super Duper Garbage Truck

Imaginext DC Super Friends Batman Batbot Xtreme

Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower

Disney/Pixar Cars 3 Ultimate Florida Speedway

Mickey and the Roadster Racers Transforming Hot Rod Mickey

Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Baby All in One Nursery

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News

E-commerce leader to open robotics-based depot in the Big Apple

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is expanding its distribution fleet to the Empire State.

The online giant plans to open a new 855,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in the New York City borough of Staten Island. The facility, which is Amazon’s first fulfillment center in the state, will pick, pack and ship customer items, such as household essentials, books and toys.

The warehouse will create more than 2,250 new, full-time jobs, and employees will work alongside advanced robotics. These solutions, developed by Amazon’s wholly-owned subsidiary Amazon Robotics, will assist employees in fulfilling customer orders.

The project is being developed by Matrix Development Group.

“We are excited to bring our first fulfillment center to New York and work alongside the state’s incredible workforce,” said Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s VP of customer fulfillment. “The support of local leaders has been instrumental in our ability to come to New York, and we are grateful for the welcome we’ve received to bring thousands of new jobs with benefits starting on day one.”

This is the newest facility expected to feature advanced robotics technology. Amazon also plans to feature the technology in its new facility in South Florida, dubbed a “mega warehouse,” which is set to open in 2018. The online giant is also opening robotics-based distribution centers in Colorado and in Connecticut.

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