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Paper Store leverages on-demand enterprise solution

BY Dan Berthiaume

Acton, Mass. – Regional specialty gift retailer The Paper Store is leveraging the Epicor Retail SaaS solution, a hosted enterprise software suite that includes Epicor Retail Store, CRM, Merchandising, Sales Audit, and Loss Prevention applications.

Benefits The Paper Store has received from switching management of these functions to an on-demand, hosted enterprise solution include enhanced customer engagement and streamlined POS transactions, more precise and cost-effective inventory management, improved associate productivity and efficiency, ability to respond faster and more effectively to operational demands, and reduced IT infrastructure, staff, and associated costs.

“If we didn’t have Epicor we probably wouldn’t be in business,” said Tom Anderson, CEO of The Paper Store. “It’s not only saved our business but has given us the ability to grow. Every day we employ it more and more.”

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ShopperTrak: October 2013

BY CSA STAFF

Shopper activity increased this October, in line with ShopperTrak expectations. Total retail store shopper traffic increased 2.4% compared to September 2013. Consumers who were off work for the Columbus Day holiday (Monday, Oct. 14) took advantage of store promotions to update their cold-weather wardrobes. Many others hit the stores to gather costumes, candies and other necessities for Halloween (Thursday, Oct. 31).

The 16-day federal government shutdown during the first half of the month cast a shadow that ultimately led to a year-over-year decline in traffic. Shopper traffic for October 2013 decreased 12.5% compared to the same month last year.

Mobile-savvy customers are increasingly researching products online and deciding ahead of time which store offers the best value rather than browsing from store to store. Thus, retailers can expect a continued decrease in store shopper traffic during this year’s holiday season compared to 2012.

“Consumers today may visit fewer stores per shopping trip, but they come to stores ready to buy,” said Bill Martin, ShopperTrak founder. “Retailers that focus on the customer experience will be most successful this holiday season. We expect retail sales and store shopper traffic to experience a major boost in November compared to October with Black Friday — the busiest shopping day of the year.”

ShopperTrak’s data and analyses in this article are based on counting billions of shoppers in more than 60,000 locations across 90 countries. ShopperTrak counts more retail foot traffic than any other company in the world. The retail technology company collects and analyzes anonymous foot traffic, queue times and shopper demographics to identify revenue opportunities. Find out more at http://www.shoppertrak.com.

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Durability = sustainable style for Levi Strauss & Co.

BY CSA STAFF

A new process for sustainable sourcing called Dockers Wellthread was unveiled by Levi Strauss & Co. which integrates product design, environmental practices and worker well-being.

The Dockers Wellthread approach, which Levi Strauss contends is ground-breaking, was unveiled at the clothing company’s new innovation lab next to its San Francisco headquarters. The Wellthread approach combines sustainable design and environmental practices with an emphasis on supporting the well-being of the apparel workers who make the garments and marks the first time the company has combined all three elements into one process.

“How you make a garment is just as important as the garment itself,” said Michael Kobori, vp of social and environmental sustainability at Levi Strauss. “Our company has been guided by the same principles since its founding 160 years ago. We believe that we can use our iconic brands to drive positive sustainable change and profitable results. Progress is in our DNA. We invented a category and with that comes the responsibility to continually innovate for each new generation of consumers.”

According to Levi Strauss, disposable, fast fashion is the antithesis of sustainability. Conversely, sustainable style starts with durable materials that last. That’s why the Dockers Wellthread design team studied garments from the company’s historical archives to see how clothing has held up over time, and from there created a pilot collection of khakis, jackets and T-shirts. The team engineered lasting value into the design process by reinforcing garments’ points of stress and making buttonholes stronger and pockets more durable.

The Dockers design team and suppliers worked together to find ways to reduce water and energy use, knowing that small changes can result in big savings. This new process utilizes specialized garment-dyeing to reduce both water and energy consumption with cold-water pigment dyes for tops and salt-free reactive dyes for pants and jackets. In addition, the apparel is dyed in the factory, not in the mill – which allows for greater inventory agility because the garments are dyed-to-order.

The designers also considered responsible use and re-use with the end of the garment’s life in mind. Though recycling facilities are not widely available, the company anticipates that one day they will be. Extremely long staples of cotton can be more easily recycled, so the brand developed a unique, long-staple yarn for its premium Wellthread twill. In addition, every garment in the collection uses 100% cotton, thread and pocketing. The sundries include compressed cotton or metal that can be easily extracted by magnets. Using a drying cycle is tough on fabric and hard on the environment, so the design team also added care instructions to wash in cold and a locker loop on the khakis to encourage line drying.

The company is also piloting a new approach with factories to support programs that will improve the lives of workers in factories around the world. The Dockers Wellthread khakis are made exclusively at one of the Improving Workers’ Well-Being pilot sites.

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