REAL ESTATE

RadioShack opening ‘retro’ store in Fort Worth, Texas

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fort Worth, Texas – RadioShack has pulled out all the stops for its new hometown location in Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, opening a retro-styled store that speaks to the heritage of the brand and locale. Set to open Oct. 30, it will be the tenth RadioShack concept store to open nationwide, but the first to feature a custom design.

“We are thrilled to open our first and only custom concept store in Fort Worth, our home, and where so much of our spirit of innovation and customer service originates," said Joe Magnacca, CEO of RadioShack. "Sundance Square provides an amazing location for this completely unique shopping experience, and we invite those who work, play and visit downtown Fort Worth to come and experience the new RadioShack."

The 2,357-sq.-ft. store has a mid-century modern feel. Features unique to the Fort Worth location include:

  • Brand evolution banners on the outside of the store with logos dating from 1921 to the present day, interactive projections at the entrance and outside;
  • Historical videos in store windows highlighting the heritage of RadioShack and history of Fort Worth;
  • Interactive projections at the entrance and inside where movement sweeps away the retro RadioShack logo to reveal the new logo introduced in July 2013;
  • One-of-a-kind interior design features including elements of a "radio shack" – a ship’s communication center and inspiration for the brand – at the checkout counter as well as retro product displayed throughout the store; and
  • Custom Fort Worth uniform shirts featuring a retro logo.

Similar to the company’s other new format stores, the new location will also sport an upgraded shopping experience, with such features as a speaker wall where customers can shop and compare 13 different speakers using music installed on in-store tablets or played from their own Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, interactive displays that enable shoppers to find and compare products, and a do-it-yourself area where consumers can plan projects.

By the end of 2013, RadioShack will have more than 100 concept and brand statement stores open and will have made improvements to nearly all 4,300 stores throughout the nation.

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OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart kicks off holiday with employee promotions

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Gearing up for the holidays, Wal-Mart announced that it expects to promote more than 160,000 associates to jobs with higher pay and more responsibility this year, including 25,000 promotions during its fourth quarter.

"Our success from day one is a direct result of our associates and the hard work they do in taking care of our customers. We are proud to provide our people with additional opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for their families," said Bill Simon, Wal-Mart U.S. president and CEO. "Like most Americans, our associates want good jobs and access to a better life. Whether you are a cashier in Charlotte, or a stocker in Dallas or an assistant manager in Los Angeles, Walmart wants to see you succeed."

The promotions are in addition to Wal-Mart’s announcement in September to move 35,000 associates from temporary to part time and another 35,000 associates from part-time to full-time by the end of the year.

Also this year, as part of an effort to give greater flexibility to employees, Wal-Mart is providing associates with access to open shifts, giving them the opportunity to pick up extra hours that fit with their personal schedules. The company is also providing priority status for existing employees to fill open positions, so current associates have the first opportunity to apply for open store positions, and access to supervisor roles at stores throughout the country.

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OPERATIONS

SAP survey: Retailers see lack of skilled managers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Waldorf, Germany – Retailers see a need for functional competencies leaning toward technology and data skills, even more than general business and people management. But a new survey of 76 retail managers from top retailers conducted by SAP during the recent SAP Retail Forum North America in Dallas, Texas revealed that 84% of retailers are worried that it will be challenging to find employees with these skills.

Exacerbating the problem is the overall hiring trend: 93% of survey respondents said hiring will not decrease during the next two to three years. When asked to specify which skills are in high demand, retailers indicate they are focused on filling management-level roles that have a strategic impact on the business, such as understanding and applying business analytics and big data in retail (80%), optimizing the retail business for omni-channel commerce (72%), and analyzing consumer buying behavior for improved operations (55%).

Within these functional competencies, 97% of the retailers surveyed are aware of the challenge of finding and training employees for new skill sets. Retailers plan to approach this challenge using a mix of activities. The majority, 75%, plan to hire new people from outside the organization to fill these roles, if they can find them. More than half said they plan to use in-house educational resources or organically develop new skills through experience and training. And, 53% plan to offer external education opportunities to current employees to improve skills.

Other skills of note that are top of mind for retailers include mobile commerce management (50%), merchandise buying/planning (37%), and digital and social branding skills (37%).

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