OPERATIONS

Retail hiring down in April

BY Marianne Wilson

Chelmsford, Mass. — The Kronos Retail Labor Index edged down to 3.8% in April from a March level that was revised three-tenths lower. Even with declines over the last two months, the Retail Labor Index remains above levels seen over the last few years, averaging 4.0% over the first four months of this year, up from 3.5% last year. (The Index is defined as the ratio of hires to applications within a given month, expressed as a percentage. A level of 3.0) means that for every 100 applications received, three hires occurred)

“This was the second consecutive decline in hires, following a strong, nearly 11 percent gain in February,” said Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, which prepares the analysis and write-up of the Kronos report. “Hiring in February may have been boosted by the unseasonably warm weather experienced this winter, pulling some spring hires forward and helping to explain some of the subsequent declines in March and April.”

“In addition, readings on retail sales and chain-store sales through March were strong and above expectations, suggesting business conditions for retail firms are improving,” Varvares added.

“We look for the pace of hiring at retail firms to pick up in the coming months as this sector continues to strengthen,” he said.

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STORE SPACES

Von Maur to debut redesigned lingerie department

BY Staff Writer

Davenport, Iowa — Von Maur Department Store will premier its newly redesigned lingerie department at its soon-to-be-opened location at Atlanta’s Perimeter Mall. The 234,000-sq.-ft. store is set to become one of the chain’s largest stores to date.

Conceived through direct customer feedback, the newly redesigned department will aim to evoke a more enhanced shopping experience and better showcase the variety of selections and price points Von Maur has to offer. The department will feature a romantic aesthetic, with such features as a custom-designed chandelier, Italian tile flooring, and easy to access display tables

According to a survey conducted by Nielsen in first quarter 2012, the vast majority (79%) of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners have used their mobile devices for shopping-related activities. Smartphones are used more often than tablets for activities on-the-go: “Locating a store” (73% versus 42% for tablets), “using a shopping list while shopping” (42% versus 16% for tablets), or “redeeming a mobile coupon” (36% versus 11% for tablet owners). However, tablet owners are much more likely to use their device for online shopping: 42% of tablet owners have “used their device to purchase an item,” compared with just 29% of smartphone owners.

One of the most popular activities among both smartphone owners and tablet owners is “researching an item before purchase” (66% for tablet owners versus 57% for smartphone owners). Comparatively, few mobile shoppers have used their devices for payments (27% of smartphone owners and 28% of tablet owners), but that number is expected to rise in the years to come as more mobile payment systems roll out nationwide and U.S. consumers get more comfortable with the idea of mobile payments.

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News

Deb Shops launches e-commerce suit built on Demandware Commerce platform

BY Staff Writer

Chicago — Deb Shops announced it has launched a new e-commerce site, built on the Demandware Commerce platform that uses improved design and enhanced functionality to give shoppers an optimal online shopping experience.

Deb Shops required a new e-commerce platform that could scale with its growing business and fully integrate into the other areas of its operations. By selecting Demandware, Deb Shops was able to leverage the benefits of Demandware’s cloud-based commerce platform to eliminate the need to source and maintain costly infrastructure for e-commerce and instead focus on delivering a superior shopping experience to its customers.

The new site was built by Lyons Consulting Group, an ecommerce strategy, design, development and support firm in less than three months. In a tight timeframe, the company was able to help Deb Shops rebrand and redesign onto the Demandware platform.

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