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Saks to deploy mobile-robotic fulfillment system in new DC

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Saks Inc. will expand its distribution and fulfillment capacity, adding a new facility in Tennessee in 2012.

The new center will occupy approximately 564,000 sq. ft. of leased space and will be located in LaVergne, Tenn. It will be equipped with a sophisticated mobile-robotic fulfillment system that has been successfully deployed in Saks’ Maryland facility.

Saks expects the Tennessee facility to be operational by August 2012.

Steve Sadove, chairman and CEO of Saks, noted, “In order to support our omni-channel strategy and our continued sales growth, some time ago we recognized that we would need additional distribution and fulfillment capacity beginning in 2012.”

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NPD unveils kids’ top play items

BY CSA STAFF

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — The NPD Group unveiled the top current favorite play items among children ages 14 years and younger.

After compiling 2,958 mentions, NPD revealed the top items included Lego, laptop, Nintendo Wii, toy cars, Xbox, books, video games, Nintendo DS, Barbie and iPod, while the top five product categories included toys (54%), video games (20%), consumer electronics (12%), sporting goods (5%) and books (3%).

The top five properties included Lego, Barbie, Crayola, LeapPad and Thomas & Friends. What’s more, new, never-before-mentioned brands, such as Lightning McQueen from "Cars 2," LeapFrog LeapPad, Exersaucer by Evenflo, Dinosaur Train and VTech InnoTab, also were featured as answers.

“Kids clearly have a wide variety of types of products at their disposal to entertain them during their free time,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst at NPD Group. “Not long ago, the image of play was dominated by thoughts of kids playing only with toy items, but now consumer electronic devices and video games play a prominent role in their ‘play’ time. That said, toys were mentioned more than twice as much as any other category in this survey.”

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Former Longs Drug Stores CEO Roath joins Altierre’s board

BY CSA STAFF

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Altierre, a provider of ultra low-power wireless solutions for retailers, has announced that retail industry veteran and former Longs Drug Stores CEO Steve Roath has joined the company’s board of directors.

“The addition of Steve Roath to our board affirms that industry leaders who understand the power of our technology believe in its ability to solve critical problems and deliver productivity improvements for large retail chains,” Altierre CEO Sunit Saxena said. “In addition to his wealth of contacts, we will benefit tremendously from Steve’s insider’s perspective into the complexities of retail management, both at the store and the chain level.”

Altierre recently announced several key milestones achieved in 2011, including record revenue growth and surpassing the one million mark in both RF chips and digital signs shipped. Altierre’s proprietary wireless technology is operating in more than 1,000 retail stores across the country. This technology delivers cost savings, additional revenue opportunities and other important benefits for several of the largest national chains representing department stores, grocery, drug and convenience stores.

“Online retailing is adding a dynamic element to the already highly competitive retail environment,” Roath said. “Bricks-and-mortar retailers have to become more nimble and dynamic in their promotional offerings without further increasing the complexities of store level execution. Even with traditional weekly offerings, most retailers are challenged to maintain price accuracy and customer service in the face of shrinking resource availability. It is time for retailers to leverage the latest developments in technology and bring the stores into the digital age. Altierre’s wireless platform and applications offer sophistication and innovation that far surpass anything else I’ve seen in their ability to cost effectively enable promotions, reduce paper waste, assure price accuracy and impact the bottom line. I’m truly excited to be associated with what I consider to be a revolution for retail.”

Roath joined Longs as an intern in 1964 and held increasingly responsible positions within the company, including store manager, pharmacy manager, manager of marketing operations and VP pharmacy. He was named president in 1991 and CEO in 2000. He is credited with moving Longs into e-commerce by establishing the company’s first email prescription refill system. He retired in 2002. He is now associated with Encore Associates, a food and consumer products consulting firm based in San Ramon, Calif.

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