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SAP report: Top IT Trends in Retail

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Four broad IT trends — Big Data, social media, seamless retailing and disruptive technologies — are transforming the way retailers conduct business and engage with consumers, according to a new study by SAP.

The study notes that the four trends all share a common theme: Retailers need to understand their customers more intimately than ever before.

To read the full report, which includes overviews and analysis of each key trend, http://chainstoreage.com/confirmation-top-it-trends-retailchainstoreage.com/confirmation-top-it-trends-retail.

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Omni-channel exec makes unlikely career move

BY CSA STAFF

After helping brands such as Michael Kors, Coach, J Crew and Victoria’s Secret develop and execute digital strategies, Ian Cohen has joined the nation’s largest rent-to-own company as vp of omnichannel.

Rent-A-Center, operator of nearly 3,200 stores, named Cohen to the omnichannel role where he will work cross functionally to create a seamless approach to the shopper experience across a variety of channels. His responsibilities include the design, development, and implementation of a digital-commerce solution that ensures customer demands are met, according to the company. He will report to Joel Mussat, the company’s EVP and chief omnichannel officer.

Cohen most recently served as a principal with CapGemini and prior to that he was with Deloitte Consulting and IBM Business consulting. In those roles, Rent-A-Center said Cohen developed and executed omnichannel strategies for notable brands such as Michael Kors, Coach, Kellogg, J Crew, Victoria’s Secret, Disney, American Express, AT&T Wireless, The New York Times, Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

“Ian brings a wealth of knowledge to a key role,” said Mussat. “His expertise is certain to pay dividends as we strive to better meet the demands of today’s consumers.”

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Things heat up between Family Dollar and Carl Icahn

BY CSA STAFF

Just two weeks after Family Dollar adopted a “poison pill” shareholder’s rights plan, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who recently disclosed he has a 9.4% stake in the discount retailer, has fired back.

In an open letter to Family Dollar chairman Howard Levine, Icahn demanded that the company be put up for sale immediately. Icahn also said in the letter that he wants three of his representatives added to the Family Dollar board immediately and will take his proposal for a sale directly to shareholders if management doesn’t support it.

“Bringing our proposal for an immediate sale of Family Dollar directly to stockholders will allow them to evaluate the merits of our suggestion and permit them a say in the future of their company, an approach that all responsible fiduciaries should support,” Icahn wrote. “Nevertheless, we view that as a last resort. We welcome an opportunity to engage directly with you and your financial and legal advisors to discuss constructively the merits of our ideas. But time is of the essence. We hope to hear from you shortly.

Family Dollar’s board has since responded.

“As previously announced the company is undertaking an in-depth business review to identify opportunities to strengthen our value proposition, increase operational efficiencies and improve financial performance,” said Family Dollar in a statement. “While this business review is ongoing, we continue to take immediate, strategic actions as appropriate to improve our performance. We are confident that these steps will position Family Dollar to deliver stronger returns for our shareholders.”

Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated is acting as financial adviser to Family Dollar and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is acting as legal counsel.

Icahn most recently engaged in a high-profile effort to force eBay to separate its PayPal business.

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