OPERATIONS

Sears Canada banks on a new category to boost sales

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

To inject new life into its struggling chain, Sears Canada hopes its newest venture will lure in shoppers — especially foodies.

A new partnership with two specialty supermarket operators is enabling Sears Canada to run high-end markets at dedicated locations. The chain is banking on grocery shoppers’ frequent store visits to bolster foot traffic, Canadian Grocer reported.

“A grocery store, you might go to two or three times a week," executive chairman Brandon Stranzl said. "A department store you might go to once a month … once a quarter."

The concept comes on the heels of other initiatives launched to breathe new life into the ailing company, including the introduction of a new store concept. Called Sears 2.0, this revamped smaller store features new layouts, store designs and assortment, as well as a new technology platform that incorporates its new website and logistics systems, according to IGD Retail Analysis.

Unlike other chains that have tried to break into the highly competitive Canadian food marketplace, Sears Canada’s partnership with an existing operator provides a stronger foundation, IGD said, adding that success still requires the chain’s continuous investments in the store environment, processes, systems and product knowledge training.

The chain hopes these innovations can positively impact Sears Canada’s latest revenue loss, which rose to $120.0 million from $53.2 million, another loss, during the same period last year. Its same-store sales also slipped for the third quarter to $507.5 million — a drop from $616.8 million last year.

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OPERATIONS

Warehouse club giant says online initiatives starting to take off

BY CSA STAFF

Costco Wholesale Corp. has been playing catch up with its competitors in the online space — and its efforts may be starting to bear fruit.

The retailer has been adding more higher-end brands to its online merchandise mix and also improved stock levels for high volume items, Bloomberg reported.

“We’re clearly taking the offense,” said CFO Richard Galanti told analysts on a conference call on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported. “Again there are some things that perhaps we should’ve done earlier but we’re already seeing some improvement.”

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OPERATIONS

Women’s specialty retailer tries on self-checkout

BY CSA STAFF

Rebecca Minkoff is looking to bring self-checkout to fashion retailing.

The fashion retailer has debuted a self-checkout system at its Manhattan flagship, Fastcodedesign.com reported, developed by tech startup QueueHop.

Here’s how it works, according to the report: An RFID security tag is attached to all merchandise in the store, and when an item is put on a checkout table, it appears on an iPad screen, allowing the customer to pay. Once the item has been paid it, the customer places the tag on an unlocking device another table, which automatically unlocks the tag from the merchandise.

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