OPERATIONS

Report: Walmart to raise healthcare premiums

BY Staff Writer

New York — Walmart’s U.S. employees will pay between 8% and 36% more in premiums for its medical coverage in 2013, Reuters reported.

For its most popular plan, which covers individuals, the payment per bi-weekly paycheck is going up by $2, or 13%, the report said. Some other plans would have higher increases.

The chain said average costs its employees will bear should only increase about 4.4% in 2013, due to the elimination of some high premium plans, its move to offer free heart and spine surgery to most employees at six health care centers, and provision of other services, such as access to a healthcare advisor. That is less than the 9% average increase expected for all American workers next year, according to a study by human resources firm Aon Hewitt, though it isn’t clear whether the figures are comparable.

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J.C. Penney to celebrate Black Friday with its ‘only sale’ of the year

BY Marianne Wilson

Dallas — J.C. Penney announced it will celebrate Black Friday with its only sale of the year. The retailer said more than 1,100 J.C. Penney stores will open their doors at 6 a.m. on Black Friday to offer low prices on gifts for the entire family — with no coupons or rebates required. Associates throughout the store will be equipped with mobile checkout devices.

“Black Friday is America’s greatest shopping tradition and we’re celebrating the occasion with our only sale of the year,” said Ron Johnson, CEO. “It’s our way of kicking off the holiday season and saying, ‘Merry Christmas, America!’”

Throughout the holiday season, J.C. Penney associates will hand out more than 80 million buttons to customers at J.C. Penney stores — no purchase required. Each collectible button features one of 50 classic designs and whimsical expressions reflecting wonderful holiday traditions. A unique code on the back can be entered online at jcp.com/christmas for a one in four chance of winning a gift.

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Woolworths extends agreement with Retalix

BY Staff Writer

Ra’Anana, Israel — Woolworths Limited, Australia’s leading retail group, has signed a five-year system integration (SI) services agreement with Retalix Ltd.

Under the agreement, Retalix will provide Level 2 and Level 3 support for more than 3,000 Woolworths locations and 25,000 point-of-sale terminals, serving more than 24 million customers every week across Australia and New Zealand.

Retalix will also provide IT installation at new stores and manage ongoing system configuration for all stores. The Retalix SI services team will include a group of dedicated retail IT experts from Retalix in Australia and other Retalix locations, which will allow for "follow the sun" operations, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We are pleased to extend our relationship with Retalix due to our long partnership and their depth of knowledge of the retail industry. This expertise extends beyond technical systems to include a clear appreciation of retail culture, which makes a real difference to our business," said Chris Stanley, head of customer technologies across the Woolworths group.

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