OPERATIONS

Report: Lawsuit filed over escalator death in Sears store

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — The family of a 4-year-old Massachusetts boy who died after falling from an escalator at the Auburn Mall, in Auburn, Mass., have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit that alleges the escalator was "dangerous and defective" and did not follow state codes or the blueprint for its installation.

The child, Mark DiBona, fell from a second-floor escalator onto a display case on the floor below in a Sears store on March 11 while shopping with his family. He suffered head injuries and died the next day. The family says he would still be alive if the companies involved in the installation and operation of the escalator followed state rules and their own construction plans in 2009.

The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages for negligence and gross negligence. It names Sears, Simon Property Group, Mall at Auburn LLC, Schindler Elevator Corp., and Botany Bay Construction Co., the contractor that oversaw the installation of the escalator, as defendants.

The boy slipped through a gap between the escalator and railing that was wider than allowed by state law, according to W. Thomas Smith, a lawyer for the family, the Associated Press reported. The gap was 6-inches wide while state building code says the gap should be no more than 4-inches wide, Smith said.

The suit alleges that the escalator’s condition was in violation of state building codes, escalator safety standards and the industry standards established by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

According to Smith, the installation plans of the escalator originally filed with the town called for a barrier to close the gap, Smith said.

"Those plans were either not followed or were not required by Sears or Simon," he said, the Associated Press reported.

The boy’s death sparked re-inspections of escalators around the state.

The Department of Public Safety fired two inspectors, suspended six and reprimanded 26 others after a sweep of all escalators in Massachusetts found 7.5% lacked barricades required to cover the gap between the moving staircases and walls or rails, according to the report.

None of the parties targeted in the suit would comment on the pending litigation.

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OPERATIONS

Cisco report details best practices in global e-commerce

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — With global e-commerce estimated to reach nearly $1.4 trillion in 2015, more and more retailers are looking to gear up or expand their online operations. A new report by Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) sizes up the challenges and opportunities — and outlines best practices — for retailers who want to take advantage of e-commerce growth by going global.

The report, “The Global E-Commerce Gold Rush: How Retailers Can Find Riches Overseas,” is based on in-depth interviews with leading e-commerce executives at many of the top global retailers and suppliers.

“The No. 1 mistake retailers make in their globel e-commerce operations is not doing sufficient homework into local customer needs and expectations before opening their website,” Joanne Bethlahmy, director, retail and consumer goods practice, Cisco IBSG, and co-author of the report, told Chain Store Age.

Every country, for example, has very different cultural sensitivities around payment options based on their history as a country, and to unlock potential revenue in a particular country you have to allow for local payment norms, according to Bethlahmy.

“The No. 1 way to pay online in Germany is via online bank transfer,” she said, “while in Japan, Taiwan and Mexico, a lot of e-commerce is paid via COD.”

The best practices detailed in the report include:

  • Picking the best markets for success;
  • Determining the right mix of operations to have at headquarters versus locally;
  • Choosing the right buyers to meet local tastes;
  • Using local marketing resources to ensure customer relevancy;
  • Developing a core global platform that can be modified by country management to appear local;
  • Selecting the best method for fulfillment and delivery; and
  • Building an IT architecture for scalability and worldwide e-commerce.

To read the report go to cisco.com/web/about/ac79/globalecom.

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