OPERATIONS

OSHA proposes $236K in safety fines for Forever 21

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited fashion retail chain Forever 21 for exposing employees to safety hazards at its stores in Paramus, N.J., and Manhattan. OSHA inspected both stores in July after receiving complaints alleging violations and proposed $236,500 in penalties.

Inspectors cited the company for four repeat violations at the Paramus store, including obstructed exit routes; a fire extinguisher that was not mounted and readily accessible; stored material that was not secured against sliding or collapse; and fluorescent lights that had no cover to prevent accidental contact or breakage.

Inspectors issued citations for two repeat violations to the Manhattan store, including obstructed exit routes and fluorescent lights with no covers. A serious citation was also issued because the store was not kept clean and orderly.

“It is unacceptable for Forever 21 to continue repeating these violations, which are common among retailers, and put workers at serious risk,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “Retail managers have a legal responsibility to inspect their stores, identify potential hazards and quickly eliminate them to ensure worker safety and health.

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Symphony EYC introduces category management platform

BY Dan Berthiaume

Palo Alto, Calif. – Symphony EYC is introducing Symphony EYC Insights 2 Execution, a new cloud-based category collaboration platform that enables retailers and CPG manufacturers to adopt best practices in category management. The platform’s initial release, iAssort, provides users with browser-based access to their information to build strategic localized assortments that are space-aware.

With assortment driven by customer behavior and segmentation aligned with physical store constraints and merchandising rules, the Symphony EYC solution integrates assortment and space to make planning more relevant to customers and the overall store. Specifically, it enables planners to:

  • Create customer segmentations informing store clustering and localized assortment plans.
  • Utilize customer metrics and preferences to drive localized assortments and planograms via the Web.
  • Identify cross-category dynamics that generate revenue opportunities.
  • Build optimized and relevant product assortments that are customer, space and inventory aware.
  • Achieve full insight into the retail execution lifecycle.

“Symphony EYC’s new space-aware assortment solution iAssort harnesses customer preferences together with product sales, loyalty and segmentation information so that retailers can make it easier for customers to find what they need,” said Ellen Dixon, global senior VP of marketing, Symphony EYC. “Our new cloud-based Insights 2 Execution platform helps retailers and FMCG manufacturers overcome multiple space and assortment challenges by integrating disparate data sources, assortment and space localization goals, task automation and vendor collaboration effectively in one location.”

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OPERATIONS

Report: U.N. seeks inquiry into deaths of striking Cambodian factory workers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – The United Nations reportedly wants the Cambodian government to investigate the use of force against striking garment factory workers in the country’s capital city of Phnom Penh on Jan. 3. According to Reuters, police opened fire on workers striking over their pay, wounding 20 and killing five.

In addition, 23 striking workers were detained and their whereabouts remain unaccounted for. The Cambodian police say three people were killed and they are sorry for the incident.

In an open letter dated Jan. 7, international apparel and retail brands including Adidas, Gap, H&M, Inditex, Puma, Levi Strauss and Columbia Sportswear expressed deep concern and an opposition to all forms of violence. The U.N. also released a statement on the matter.

"We are following the situation in Cambodia with serious concern and are deeply alarmed by the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officials in responding to demonstrations," U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement dated Jan. 7. "We urge the Cambodian authorities to launch a prompt and thorough investigation and to ensure full accountability of members of security forces found to have used disproportionate and excessive force.”

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