FINANCE

Report: Walmart gaining big share in grocery

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart is on fire in grocery and capturing a bigger share from traditional supermarkets.

That's according to Loop Capital analyst Andrew Wolf, who estimates Walmart currently has a 21.5% market share in the U.S. traditional grocery market, reported CNBC.

"Wal-Mart is taking back share from the traditional supermarket at an accelerating rate," Wolf said.

The chain's strong performance is being helped partly by lower deflation, and also by food price cuts by Walmart as it looks to gain a pricing advantage over such competitors as Kroger, Aldi and other supermarkets, the report said.

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FINANCE

Jewelry giant to outsource credit portfolio

BY Marianne Wilson

Amid slumping first quarter sales, Signet Jewelers on Thursday announced the first phase of the strategic outsourcing of its in-house credit program, in partnerships with Alliance Data and Progressive Leasing, a subsidiary of Aaron's.

The jeweler, whose banners include Zales, Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, will outsource its in-house credit portfolio in two phases. In the first phase, Signet will sell $1.0 billion of its prime-only credit quality accounts receivable to Alliance Data Systems Corp. Additionally, under a seven-year agreement, Alliance Data will become the primary provider of private-label credit card services and associated card marketing and servicing functions to Signet USA’s brands. Signet will retain the existing non-prime accounts receivable on its balance sheet and continue to originate new accounts, while outsourcing the credit servicing functions of those accounts to Genesis Financial Solutions for an initial term of five years.

In addition, Signet will form a seven-year partnership with Progressive Leasing, a subsidiary of Aaron’s, to provide a lease-purchase payment program to Signet customers who do not qualify for Signet’s credit programs, or do not wish to pursue a credit option to access Signet’s merchandise. The plan will be available at U.S. stores beginning in July.

Once the first phase is concluded, expected by October 2017, Signet will have completed the sale of approximately 55% of its credit portfolio to Alliance Data, and established long-term third party relationships to service its full credit programs.

As part of the second phase, Signet intends to fully outsource its secondary credit programs, including the sale of the remaining receivables on its balance sheet, as well as funding for new non-prime account originations. The company said it will enter into discussions with capital providers to finalize the fully-outsourced structure.

"Our board is extremely pleased with the progress our management team has made in structuring a strategic, phased outsourcing of our credit program," said Todd Spitzer, chairman, Signet. "By rolling out tailored outsourcing solutions for various tiers of our in-house credit program, we believe we will be able to substantially meet the strategic priorities we initially set for Signet: eliminating material credit risk from our balance sheet, maintaining net sales and streamlining our business model, while minimizing the potential impact on our operations and creating value for our shareholders.”

Also on Thursday, Signet released its results for the first quarter. Total sales dropped 11.1% to $1.4 billion, from $175.5 million in the year-ago period. Same-store sales fell 11.5%.

The company reported net income of $78.5 million, or $1.03 per share, down from $146.8 million, or $1.87 per share, last year.

Earlier this months, Signet announced it had reached an agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to resolve issues related to allegations of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination. Signet said there were no findings of liability or wrongdoing.

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News

Footwear retailer improves ship-from-store service

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Knowing efficient in-store fulfillment is key to omnichannel success, Browns Shoes has just taken a big step toward optimizing these orders.

Browns Shoes, a family-owned business established in Montreal in 1940, owns and operates more than 60 retail stores throughout Canada. When the retailer merged its e-commerce channel with its brick-and-mortar operations, Browns was ready to use its retail network as another fulfillment avenue.

However, to ensure this complex operation would be successful, the chain recognized the need to update their current order management system (OMS). Its top requirement: a system that could consolidate orders, and bring the right products to key ship-from-store optimized locations.

Working with Deloitte Consulting, Browns evaluated all major order management providers before ultimately selecting an OMS from OrderDynamics. The solution will allow Browns to consolidate a customer’s complete order into a single shipment while leveraging in-store inventory to fulfill consumer purchases.

“We ran a very rigorous and detailed review of what each order management vendor could offer to meet the requirements of our demanding business,” said Alexandre Hubert, director of supply chain and logistics, Browns Shoes. “Many vendors simply did not offer the robust capabilities our business requires. With OrderDynamics, we were most impressed with their willingness to work with us as a true partner and adapt to meet our needs.”

Browns especially liked the configurable nature of the out-of-the-box OrderDynamics solution. This will enable the retailer to deploy the system to their specific requirements without the need for expensive scripting or coding. In addition, OrderDynamics demonstrated flexibility and agility in working with Browns to accommodate their industry leading omnichannel strategy.

Besides positioning the company for current and future omnichannel fulfillment needs, the new OMS will support a seamless brand experience, according to Browns.

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