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Red Robin completes acquisition of 32 franchised restaurants in United States, Canada

BY Marianne Wilson

Greenwood Village, Colorado — Red Robin Gourmet Burger announced it has completed the acquisition of 32 Red Robin franchised restaurants in the United States and Canada, for approximately $40 million from Mach Robin, LLC and Mach Robin, LLC’s Canadian affiliate.

“This acquisition is a significant step in support of our expansion strategy,” said Steve Carley, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. chief executive officer. “Our plan is to employ the same strategic approach to enhance the acquired operations that we utilized so successfully across our corporate-owned restaurants.”

The 14 U.S. restaurants are located in Illinois, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. The 18 Canadian restaurants are located in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. The company plans to maintain the Canadian office in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Omnichannel emphasis prompts Wolverine store closures

BY CSA STAFF

Leading footwear manufacturer and retailer Wolverine World Wide plans to close 140 stores in the next 18 months as part of a strategic realignment plan focused on strengthening omnichannel capabilities.

Most of the stores to be closed operate under the company’s Stride Rite banner. Sixty of the units will close by year end with the remainder to close next year, the company said. The disclosure was made in conjunction with the release of solid financial results for the company’s second quarter ended July 14.

The strategic realignment plan and related store closures are intended to optimize the fleet of retail locations, right-size the supporting infrastructure, address a fundamental shift in consumer shopping behavior and allow for greater focus on important omnichannel initiatives, according to the company.

"The strategic realignment plan announced today is an important step in the evolution of the company’s consumer-direct operations to meet the changing behavior of today’s consumer," said Blake Krueger, Wolverine’s chairman and CEO. "We are confident that these actions will set a new foundation for our consumer-direct business, help position our company for future growth and increase shareholder value."

The company expects to take a pretax charge related to the plan in the range of $30 million to $37 million. The company noted that once the plan is implemented it expects to realize annual pretax benefits of approximately $11 million and intends to redeploy what it characterized as “a meaningful portion” of the benefits to further build out consumer-direct omnichannel capabilities and accelerate growth in its wholesale operations.

During the second quarter Wolverine’s sales increased 4.4% to $613.5 million and earnings per share increased 50% to 27 cents.

"We are extremely pleased to deliver a record quarter in what continues to be a volatile global retail environment, particularly in the U.S.,” Krueger said. "All of our operating groups achieved a revenue increase in the quarter, which was spread across nearly every region of the world.

Wolverine World Wide is the company behind some of the best known brands in footwear including Merrell, Sperry Top-Sider, Hush Puppies, Saucony, Wolverine, Keds, Stride Rite and Sebago.

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How to Create a Data Sharing Program that Stands the Test of Time

BY CSA STAFF

By Marie Jackson, CMO of Retail Solutions Inc.

Data sharing as it exists today between retailer and supplier is not enough. The industry is changing at a rapid pace. Everyone is competing. Players that used to occupy discrete areas of retail are now overlapping and challenging one another for the same set of customers — think Wal-Mart entering the grocery business. Consumer expectations have never been greater — they want, and demand a consistent and unified experience across all channels. Many best-in-class retailers are experimenting with new and innovative ways to share data and address the competitive threat. I like to call this, the next generation of data sharing. It's where collaboration occurs on a near real-time basis and customer needs are immediately satisfied.

This next generation of data sharing begins and ends with the sharing of daily POS data and requires much collaboration and joint planning and execution in between. By sharing data daily, producers can learn what the consumer really wants, on a near-real-time basis. They can also respond more effectively, ramping up production and distribution of popular items, while cutting back on those that aren't selling so well. They can rapidly identify out-of-stocks or predict what will go out of stock and minimize their impact. It's during this process of real-time, daily data sharing and collaboration that retailers and suppliers increase the lifetime value of customers, deliver faster inventory turns in-store and create higher margins through reduced out-of-stocks or finding and correcting pricing and promotional errors.

At its core the next generation of data sharing requires turning data into action. Avoiding the gaps, variances, lags and uncertainties that have historically plagued the retailer/supplier relationship, the next generation of data sharing is rooted in real-time demand signals and not a lagged indicator like previous orders. This new form of data sharing is about tying retailer goals to daily execution and joint business planning based on a single version of the truth — which is predicated on the sharing of data on a daily, not weekly or monthly basis.

So, how do you incorporate the next generation of data sharing into your organization? First, define what data sharing means to the organization: the adoption of end-to-end collaborative processes between retailer and supplier based on a single version of the truth. Then decide on the program parameters: set strategic goals, determine collaborative business processes and agree-on rules to measure ROI and program success. Like with any new initiative, the key to success is having a good support structure and plan behind it. Here's a step-by-step guide to help get things started.

Step 1: Educate Executives and Create Advocates

Having executive champions is critical to the success of your data sharing program. It’s key to educate the C-suite about how the company can achieve major ROI and stay steps ahead of the competition through the next generation of data sharing. It also puts executives at ease to learn that the new trend in data sharing doesn't cost millions in overhaul or require a lot of IT resources to implement. In fact, it's about making better use of the resources you already have. Your data.

Step 2: Identify the Top Business Problems that Need to be Solved

Every organization has its set of problems, both big and small. But to kick off a state-of-the-art data sharing initiative, you must first identify, with your suppliers, the top two to three business problems that must be solved this year. Keep it scoped to challenges that impact the organization as a whole and, once solved, will provide measurable value across the enterprise and help with Step 1.

Step 3: Understand the Data Needed for Each Use Case and the Role of Each Party

Each use case has specific data requirements that need to be shared. For example, reducing out-of-stocks require different data elements than improving promotion allocation or reducing unsaleables. To streamline efficiencies and avoid conflict, define the role of the retailer and the supplier in each specific use case — who will take what action to bring the use case to life. If an out-of-stock condition is predicted early on in a promotion, what is the supplier supposed to do — and what does the retailer do? Does the supplier suggest an order quantity and the retailer send that order for immediate replenishment? Or does the supplier have permission to send a DC order directly? If excess inventory remains at a planogram changeover or for a seasonal item, who can authorize a temporary price reduction? Forward-looking data sharing takes the friction out of the sharing process by automating next steps, ensuring action is taken quickly and efficiently.

Step 4: Bring Suppliers on in a Phased Approach

Cutting-edge data sharing programs are best designed with a small group of key suppliers forming a joint advisory committee to ensure that collaborative business processes can be implemented and scaled by both sides. It's best that the advisory supplier group conduct pilot programs first — to both hone the processes and demonstrate ROI. With the competitive advantage proven, the program can then be rolled out to the next group of suppliers to find and fix any issues at scale. From there, it can be rolled out as quickly as desired.

Step 5: Replace Feeds/Portals with Advanced Data Sharing that Scales

Once you have all of your plans and support systems in place, nothing is stopping you from making the transition. Most retailers will find that this process can be fairly seamless, with little-to-no disruption to day-to-day operations. In time, daily data sharing will expand to include new data sets i.e., social and hyper-local data served to the in-store workforce and field operators via intra-day alerting on a mobile device. While this scenario is almost a reality, putting in place a progressive data sharing program today will help retailers be prepared for tomorrow.

In the end, the next generation of data sharing is a win/win for everyone. Suppliers optimize their product mixes and avoid excess inventories. Retailers slash out-of-stocks and avoid empty shelves. And, most importantly, shoppers get what they want — a seamless, better shopping experience.

Marie Jackson is the chief marketing officer at Retail Solutions Inc., a Mountain View, California-based company that provides big data analytics and real-time intelligence for the consumer goods industry. She can be reached at [email protected].


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