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Papa John’s touts online ordering in TV ad

BY Marianne Wilson

Louisville, Ky. — Papa John’s is launching a television commercial starring iconic sportscaster Jim Nantz, and Papa John’s founder, chairman and CEO, John Schnatter, touting the company’s online ordering platform. The commercial also reminds consumers that Papa John’s was the first national pizza company with online ordering at all of its U.S. delivery restaurants in 2001.

“This commercial does a great job reminding consumers that Papa John’s has been, and continues to be at the forefront of technological advances that meet the rapidly evolving demands of tech savvy consumers,” said Bob Kraut, Papa John’s chief marketing officer. “As a visionary, our founder recognized very early on that customer ordering habits were likely going to change with the rapid growth of the internet. As a result, we were not only the first with online ordering, but a slew of other technological advances that continue to help drive the category.”

Some of those other technological firsts include the first national pizza company to offer SMS text ordering in 2007; the first to launch a nationwide digital rewards program in 2010, Papa Rewards, which remains the only program of its kind in the category; and earlier this year the first national pizza company to offer mobile-optimized gift cards. All of these technological advances have helped the company generate more than 45% of its orders through its digital channels, a higher percentage than any other national pizza company.

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Sleepy’s taps Demandware cloud commerce platform

BY Marianne Wilson

Burlington, Mass. — Sleepy’s, one of the nation’s leading mattress retailers, has deployed a cloud commerce platform as the backbone of its digital operations. The company has launched new web and mobile commerce sites new web and mobile commerce sites on the Demandware platform. Sleepy’s switched from an on-premise platform to Demandware’s cloud solution as part of a strategic move to advance its omni-channel initiatives and provide consumers with consistent experiences across all channels, including web, mobile and the physical store.

Sleepy’s abandoned its legacy on-premise platform because the cost of ownership had become a barrier to innovation. The retailer needed to continually upgrade hardware to keep up with its growth; software upgrades were laborious and cost-prohibitive; and in-house control was lacking.

“We made the decision to move to a cloud platform because we needed a more agile solution for our growing business,” said Christopher Cucuzza, VP of technology for Sleepy’s, which has more than 1,000 locations. “Although we are a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, we recognize that consumers are increasingly connected and that we need to evolve to meet the needs of our customers. With our on-premise platform, we just couldn’t move fast enough. Demandware is a much more flexible solution that gives us full merchandising control along with smarter economics.”

Sleepy’s turned to Demandware’s cloud solution because it provides a better model to support the company’s growth strategy and enables the speed, agility and innovation necessary to keep pace with continually evolving consumer demands. With the solution, Sleepy’s now has a flexible and scalable platform to support its holiday intensive business, without the burden and cost of infrastructure management.

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Five Below Q4 tops estimates; 62 stores planned for current year

BY Marianne Wilson

Philadelphia — Five Below on Tuesday reported better-than-expected results for its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Feb.1. The tween/teen retailer also said it is on track to open 62 stores in 2014

The company posted net profits of $24.8 million, slightly higher than estimates of $24.6 million, up from $19.2 million in the year-ago period.

Sales jumped 22.1% to $212 million, beating analysts’ expectations for $207.78 million in sales. Same-store sales increased by 0.3%.

"Despite the adverse weather impact during the most important shopping weeks of the year, we are pleased to have ended the fourth quarter with improving trends," said Five Below CEO Thomas Vellios.

The company ended the quarter with 304 stores in 19 states, an increase of 25% from the year ago period.

Vellios sounded a positive note about 2014.

“Our new stores continue to generate strong performance and returns on investment. We have 62 openings planned this year across new markets like Houston and the state of Tennessee, as well as existing markets that allow for densification opportunities. We are focused on building a solid infrastructure with our investments in people, technology and distribution. This will position our company to execute at the highest levels while solidifying our foundation for the substantial growth that lies ahead.”

For the full fiscal year, Five Below’s net sales increased by 27.8% to $535.4 million from $418.8 million in fiscal 2012, which consisted of 53 weeks. Same-store sales increased by 4.0% on a 52-week basis.

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