MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Safeway, Giant Eagle to roll out iBeacon location sensing platform

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pleasanton, Calif. — Safeway and Giant Eagle are rolling out the inMarket Mobile to Mortar iBeacon location sensing platform at more than 150 grocery stores in Seattle, San Francisco, and Cleveland, with additional retailers and markets launching in the coming months. iBeacons are micro-location technology that use a low-energy Bluetooth signal to enable unique mobile app experiences based on the customer’s location in the store.

As inMarket rolls out its iBeacon network, it will provide shoppers with features including custom coupons, loyalty rewards, and grocery list reminders. For example, shoppers who opt-in can be reminded of items a spouse just placed on their shared list, earn loyalty rewards, or be directed to a custom special offer.

"We are thrilled to be making history by writing the first chapter of micro-location iBeacons helping shoppers’ everyday lives,” said Todd Dipaola, CEO and co-founder of inMarket. "Today is just the first wave of this exciting movement, and inMarket has several additional platform announcements that we will take the wraps off in 2014.”

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FINANCE

Container Store Q3 net income slightly drops

BY Dan Berthiaume

Coppell, Texas – The Container Store Group Inc. saw its net income drop about 2%, to $5.2 million from $5.3 million, during the third quarter of fiscal 2013. This occurred while net sales grew 7.3%, to $188.3 million from $175.4 million, and same-store sales increased 4.7%.

An 8.7% in selling, general and administrative expenses, primarily due to increases in expenses incurred in preparation for the company’s IPO, expenses associated with operating as a public company and a timing shift in direct mail expenses. Net interest expense also increased compared to the same quarter in the prior year.

“We are pleased with our operating results in the third quarter,” said Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO of The Container Store. “Our net sales increase of 7.3% was fueled by our retail business at The Container Store, where sales increased 10.8%. We saw strong performance across new and existing stores as comparable store sales increased 4.7%; our fourteenth consecutive quarter of comparable store sales increases. These results demonstrate the strength of our differentiated business model, brand awareness, unique employee-first culture and solid execution by the entire team at The Container Store.”

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OPERATIONS

Staples expands Staples Connect

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. – Staples and Zonoff are expanding the Staples Connect platform in stores and online, including new ecosystem device partners, support for additional wireless protocols, and the opening of a Manhattan in-store display. Companies announcing support for the 2014 expansion of the Staples/Zonoff ecosystem include Kwikset, Netgear, Radio Thermostat, Centralite, Withings, Waxman, Goji, Koubachi, and Rachio.

These join existing partners already available in Staples stores or online at Staples.com including Lutron, Philips, Linksys, Honeywell, First Alert, Yale, GE, D-Link, Cooper, Leviton, Schlage, Ecolink, Aeotech, Ivee and Doorbot.

The Staples Connect platform is also planning to expand support for ZigBee, Bluetooth and Insteon based products, which will join Z-Wave, Lutron ClearConnect and Wi-Fi as radios/protocols supported.

"Staples Connect is already the most aggressive and interactive retail initiative to bring the connected home and office to the mainstream consumer," said Peter Gerstberger, director, technology merchandise, new business development, Staples. "We look forward to continuing to expand the device support and system capabilities over the coming weeks and months."

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