OPERATIONS

Sears Holdings equipping store associates with iPads and iPod Touch devices

BY Marianne Wilson

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings has begun the staged roll out of Apple iPads and Apple iPod Touch devices, starting with nearly 450 stores nationwide. The move is designed enhance the relationship between customers and associates while improving the overall in-store shopping experience, Sears said.

"Leveraging wireless access and mobile technology and putting new tools into the hands of our associates and customers is another step toward becoming a truly integrated retailer," said Deidra Merriwether, senior VP and president, Retail Services, Sears.

The devices and their applications will immediately help associates improve customer service and create a more personalized shopping experience, according to Sears. Associates will be able to help customers check available inventory, order products online, access product information and videos, and utilize enhanced purchasing tools to buy products they want.

The rollout is being significantly supported by the company’s Information and Technology Group.

"We are upgrading the entire network and technology infrastructures, including enhanced wireless coverage, to provide our customers with free Wi-Fi access," said Keith Sherwell, senior VP and CIO. "This will provide our associates with innovative tools and applications to support our customers at the highest levels of personal engagement while also offering customers a uniquely rich, integrated retail experience."



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OPERATIONS

Tom Ryan, former CVS Caremark CEO, joins private equity firm

BY Staff Writer

Boston — Global private equity firm Advent International announced that Thomas Ryan, former chairman and CEO of CVS Caremark Corp., has joined the firm’s Operating Partner Program. He will advise and work closely with Advent’s investment professionals to identify attractive opportunities and generate post-investment value at retail and healthcare companies globally.

Ryan, who joined CVS Caremark in 1974 as a pharmacist, was appointed chief executive in 1994.

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STORE SPACES

Ikea plugs-in two electrical vehicle charging stations, with more to come

BY Staff Writer

Portland, Ore. — Ikea officially plugged-in two Blink Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations at its Portland, Ore., store as part of its partnership with ECOtality, a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies.

The initiative is the first such project for Ikea in the United States. Similar installations aa planned at eight other Ikea stores in the Western United States.

To charge an EV at Ikea Portland, drivers pull into a designated parking spot, swipe their Blink InCard (RFID card), plug the charger into the EV, and then shop while the vehicle is charging.

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