OPERATIONS

Ron Johnson sticking with J.C. Penney’s new pricing strategy; will test RFID tags on merchandise

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson said that he is sticking with the chain’s new pricing strategy and that the company’s board of directors was “totally supportive.”

In remarks at Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Col., Johnson acknowledged that J.C. Penney initially confused customers when it came to explaining the new pricing strategy.

"Our execution wasn’t what we needed," he said, according to a Reuters report. "Our pricing is kind of confusing. Our marketing kind of overreached."

Johnson also highlighted some of the improvements he is bringing to the stores. He announced that the chain was replacing its outdated technology infrastructure with an Oracle-based system (see related story), and, beginning this fall, would start to test the use of RFID tags on store merchandise. Other planned enhancements include the use of self-checkouts and mobile checkouts. All stores will be equipped with Wi-Fi.

The J.C. Penney chief executive told the audience he was a strong believer in physical stores. He said that online retailing would level off similar to the way catalog shopping did a few decades ago.

"Online retail is going to level off by category, by business," Johnson said.

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OPERATIONS

Macy’s in national rollout of Shopkick mobile rewards

BY Staff Writer

Palto Alto, Calif. — Shopkick, the location-based shopping app that rewards shoppers for walking into stores and interacting with products, and Macy’s, announced a full national rollout in more than 800 Macy’s stores of the shopping application.

The rollout was made possible through a first-time execution with Mood Media Corp., a leading in-store media solutions provider. Through its existing Mood Media audio system, Macy’s was able to instantly activate the patent-pending "Shopkick Signal," allowing Shopkick users nationwide to start receiving rewards and offers.

“We were one of Shopkick’s inaugural partners, initially offering this innovative application in select markets in 2010," said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer. "With this national roll-out less than two years later, we are continuing to bolster mobile efforts that enhance the shopping experience in our stores while creating an immediate and personal interaction with our customers.”

The national expansion brings Shopkick from five regions during Macy’s initial launch in 2010 to the full footprint of more than 800, adding more than 50 new markets to the program.

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Food Lion expands brand strategy

BY Staff Writer

Salisbury, N.C. — Food Lion on Wednesday expanded its new brand strategy to 269 stores in North Carolina and South Carolina. With the expansion, Food Lion has more than 700 locations operating under rebranding, representing more than 60% of its store base.

The new strategy offers customers lower prices on 6,000 items, a greater emphasis on private brands, enhanced produce and an easy and convenient shopping experience, such as faster checkout. To support its new strategy, the company created approximately 800 new jobs.

“We are very pleased with the reaction from our customers since we introduced our new brand strategy,” Cathy Green Burns, president of Food Lion, said in a statement. “During the past year, we have continued to refine the strategy based on additional customer feedback and have made new enhancements for our customers. We look forward to winning new customers and continuing to serve our existing customers with enhanced Food Lion stores in our home markets.”

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