Orchard Supply loss widens in Q4
San Jose, Calif. — Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. reported Monday a loss of $33.6 million for the quarter ended Feb. 2, widened from a loss of $7.3 million in the year-ago period.
Sales for the quarter rose to $153 million from $141.6 million, and same-store sales edged up 1.6%.
For the full year, the company lost $118.4 million, compared with a loss of $14.5 million in the prior year. Sales dipped to $657.3 million, compared to $660.5 million for fiscal 2011.
“The past year was one of significant progress in our ongoing efforts to reposition the Orchard brand and execute our strategic priorities,” said Mark Baker, president and CEO. “We are continuing to work productively with our lenders to reach an agreement that will address our capital structure and allow us to build a stronger platform from which we can deliver improved results.”
Orchard said it continues to expect to open at least four new stores and to remodel at least six existing locations this year.
Town Shoes teams with Jesta I.S. on e-commerce solution
Montreal — Jesta I.S. said Monday it has expanded its relationship with Canadian shoe store operator Town Shoes, parent to the Sterling Shoes, Shoe Warehouse and Freedman Shoes banners, to include the implementation of the multichannel order management capabilities delivered by Vision E-DOM.
In deciding to implement Jesta I.S., Town Shoes will further leverage its existing IT infrastructure, at the backbone of which are Vision’s foundational Merchandising ERP and POS systems.
“We were looking for a fully integrated and dynamic multi-channel order management solution to efficiently fulfill our web orders by drawing from our in-store inventory,” said Peter Gerhardt, CFO, Town Shoes.
The implementation of Vision E-DOM will improve Town Shoes’ web order fulfillment and shipment time matrices to increase customer loyalty, added Gerhardt.
Town Shoes required a multichannel order fulfillment solution that would seamlessly leverage a common pool of inventory for both online and brick and mortar channels. Vision E-DOM reduces shipping times by executing orders from store locations closest to the customer while providing real-time visibility and tracking to both Town Shoes and their customers.
Smart Payments, Social Networking, and Buying Habits Merging Rapidly
By Rana K. Williamson, PhD, Better Merchant Accounts
While chip-based credit cards have become the standard in Europe, the "smart" cards have been slow to catch on in the United States. In this country, both companies and users seem more inclined to opt for payment strategies linked to their smartphones. Regardless, however, chains are finding ways to leverage credit card payments for social networking through a variety of creative strategies.
Perhaps the best news for chains is that consumers are starting to use their credit again. Delinquency rates are down by 20%, and charge-offs by 37%. In part, this may be due to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 or Credit CARD Act of 2009, which put an end to many of the aggressive tactics card companies previously used to sign up young customers.
Credit card companies opt for social media strategies
Instead, card companies have ramped up their social media strategies, and chains have piggy backed their own marketing efforts on to those programs. For instance:
American Express has a program called "Link, Like, Love" which offers discounts based on users’ Facebook and Twitter activities. Chase held a $1 million Facebook sweepstakes and did similar giveaways for $1000 Amazon.com gift cards. The company’s LivingSocial Credit Card is tied to a $20 introductory bonus and five "points" per dollar spent on qualified LivingSocial purchases that can then be redeemed.
In an even more "virtual" approach, Discover ran a promotion through the popular Farmville gaming community offering new customers $100 in virtual game currency. Citi customers who are also Facebook members have the option of pooling their rewards points to redeem gifts or to make charitable contributions.
Merchants cash in on social strategies
On the other end of the spectrum, local merchants and chains are cashing in on the impetus for social marketing by offering deals through communities like Facebook, Twitter, and Living Social. For many people, the double lure of getting a credit card discount (or accruing points) as well as a "deal" from the merchant is almost irresistible.
Consumers who visit the LivingSocial page are prompted to supply their location and give an email address to opt-in for a free membership. They are then asked to specify their gender, family status, and home ZIP code, which customizes the results even more specifically.
The LivingSocial page, which, as a Pinterest-like interface, makes it easy for consumers to browse deals, and the benefit for chains is clearly evident in the section for Takeout and Delivery, where restaurants listed include Subway, Quiznos, and Schlotzsky’s are prominent among various local eateries.
As a further example, the Quizno’s Facebook page offers links to specials and free offerings. Pair that with a LivingSocial deal and pay for it with a LivingSocial card? You begin to see how the overlap not only drives consumer behavior, but links multiple benefits. The Quizno’s Facebook page constitutes free advertising with every “like” or comment. The chain makes money. The credit card companies make money. The consumer is more inclined to use the card based on a trusted recommendation and with a real-time savings involved.
As social networking and payment strategies continue to become more intertwined, predictions suggest Americans’ buying behavior will become even less cash-based and more socially driven. In 2012, 81% of all money spent in restaurants, for instance, was placed on debit, credit, or prepaid cards. The merger of all these technologies is not only inevitable, but ripe with potential for both the card companies and chain entities.
Rana K. Williamson, PhD, a freelance writer and researcher, covers a wide range of topics for Better Merchant Accounts, with a particular interest in technology, the Internet, and the emerging business systems of the 21st century.