SUPPLY CHAIN

Report: DIY major players deploy truckloads of supplies

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — A Tuesday report by the Wall Street Journal said that Home Depot and Lowe’s Cos. had deployed hundreds of truckloads of storm-recovery inventory Tuesday into areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The range of merchandise being deployed varies by the nature of the issues faced. For example, said Aaron Flowe, Home Depot’s Northern Division president, areas with brief power outages tend to have more need for cleanup items like trash bags and chain saws, while those with long-term power outages continually need more generators. Flowe told WSJ that the company is still figuring out what areas have need for what kind of product.

Lowe’s said all its stores were equipped with backup generators. Of 200 stores in the affected area, four stores are still closed, including one in Rosedale, N.Y., that was flooded, according to the report. The other three — one in Pennsylvania and two in New Jersey near waterways that experienced storm surge — have problems with their backup generators, and are expected to be resolved by the end of Tuesday.

Home Depot has about 12 stores still shut after 44 closed earlier than usual Monday. The ones that remain unopen are in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan are

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REAL ESTATE

Claire’s to make retail debuts in Venezuela and Panama

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — Claire’s Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it has opened its first stores in Venezuela and Panama; the Venezuelan store opened on Oct. 12 in Sambil Paraguna Mall in Punto Fijo and the Panama store opened Oct. 27 at Metro Mall.

Claire’s has partnered with locally headquartered Grupo David Enterprises as the single franchisee across 16 countries in Latin America. Over time, Claire’s said it expects these countries to present a minimum 100 stores market opportunity.

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News

Survey: Consumers open to restaurant technologies

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — Survey results released Tuesday by Technomic found that restaurant goers are increasingly open to trying new technologies in the dining environment.

According to the survey, a majority of consumers expect to use technology to order food at restaurants more often in the coming year, and very few (just 3%) expect to use it less than they currently do.

Consumers expressed the most interest in tableside touchscreen devices that enable them to self-order and pay, iPad/tablet menus and digital rewards tied to loyalty programs.

"Technology can be used as a point of differentiation within the restaurant industry…especially with Millennials," said Technomic executive VP Darren Tristano. "Operators who stay ahead of the curve, in an increasingly competitive market, will need to evaluate the best use for the latest tech trends and decide how to integrate them into their operations in a way that’s efficient and beneficial to consumers.”

Other key survey findings include:

  • More than half (51%) consider it important for restaurants to integrate technology into their ordering capabilities.
  • Technologies related to ordering, coupons or special offers sent via email or text message have the highest usage rates. Nearly 60% of panelists say they use these at least once a month.
  • Among technologies designed to entertain restaurant-goers, Wi-Fi access and LCD flat-screen TVs are used the most.
  • Out of all restaurant segments and types of retail stores, consumers are most receptive to technology-based orders at casual-dining restaurants.
  • In general, younger consumers are more interested in technology at restaurants than older diners. Consumers from 18–44 years old are far more likely than those over 45 to say they might connect to their favorite restaurants via a mobile app and order using a touchscreen kiosk. Interest is highest among 25- to 34-year-old Millennials.
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