MOBILITY

Regional furniture retailer modernizes front-end

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

City Furniture sales associates are moving away from the cashwrap, and completing transactions directly on the show floor.

The furniture retailer based in South Florida, is upgrading is point-of-sale (POS) network across its 15 City Furniture and 12 Ashley Furniture HomeStore showrooms. All locations will be getting a mobile POS system from Ingenico, which encompasses transaction processing software, and decryption and EMV solutions that securely process all forms of payment, including EMV chip & sign, EMV chip & PIN, magstripe and NFC/contactless, as well as City Furniture’s private-label credit cards and gift cards.

The solution is also integrated with the retailer’s tablet-based program that enables its 400 sales associates to streamline the shopper’s in-store path-to-purchase. The ‘ASAP (Sales Assist)’ program, powered by IBM, delivers associates the insights and flexibility needed to deliver a more efficient, personalized shopping experience for their customers as they make their purchase decisions.

“Our goal at City Furniture has always been to provide consumers with the best customer service and in-store experiences, so partnering with Ingenico Group and IBM was an easy decision,” said Steve Wilder, CFO and CIO at City Furniture.

“Their solutions allow us to accept different forms of payment from anywhere in the showroom, while offering a more engaging sales experience,” he added. “This gives us a significant competitive advantage because not many retailers are using mobile payment systems, especially in furniture retail.”

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DEALS

Phillips Edison acquires Bakersfield center

BY Al Urbanski

Phillips Edison has acquired another grocery-anchored center, this on in Bakersfield, California.

Riverlakes Village is a 92,212-sq.-ft. neighborhood center anchored by Von’s Supermarket and augmented by a classic necessity-based mix of CVS, Verizon Wireless, Bank of America, Supercuts, Steak and Grape’s, and Chipotle.

The center is 97% leased, according to broker CBRE, which did not disclose the sale price.

"The yield premium in the secondary markets such as the Central Valley is compelling for investors in today's low cap rate environment and Riverlakes Village’s excellent grocery and restaurant sales,” said CBRE Executive VP Phillip Voorhees.

Built in 1997, Riverlakes Village consists of six parcels totaling 9.5 acres at the southeast corner of Coffee Road and Hageman Road in Bakersfield.


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C-SUITE

Costco co-founder, chairman dies

BY Marianne Wilson

A retail legend has passed.

The co-founder and chairman of Costco Wholesale Club, Jeff Brotman, 74, died Tuesday morning. He died in his sleep at his home and the cause of his death wasn’t immediately known.

Brotman's death came as a "complete shock," according to the Seattle Times. On the Monday night prior, he had attended a dinner for about 2,000 Costco warehouse managers from around the world who are gathered this week at the Washington State Convention Center, the report said.

"The thoughts of Costco’s board, management and employees are with Jeff’s wife and family,” Costco said in a statement. The company did not say who would succeed Brotman as chairman.

Brotman had retail in his blood from an early age. His father, Bernard Brotman, founded several specialty stores in the Tacoma Washington area. Brotman co-founded Costco Wholesale with Jim Sinegal, who served as the company's CEO until he stepped down in 2011. The two opened the first Costco warehouse club location in 1983, in Seattle, and built it into a global retail powerhouse. The company currently operates 736 warehouses, including 511 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 97 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 25 in Japan, 13 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, eight in Australia, two in Spain, one in Iceland and one in France.

Brotman previously served as chairman of the company's board from Costco's founding until 1993, when he became vice chairman of the company. Since December 1994, he served as chairman.

Brotman was famous for his philanthropy, which spanned the educational, medical and cultural arenas. He and his wife were major donors to the Democratic Party. Brotman also supported other entrepreneurs, and was an early investor in Starbucks.

“I will miss Jeff immensely. He was a dear friend, mentor and a brother,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ executive chairman, said in a statement. “He was one of the earliest believers and investors in Starbucks and in me.”

Schultz also commented on Brotman's charitable endeavors, describing him as "a shining light in the community contributing so much to Seattle and the nation. We have lost a titan of our community.”

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