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Spears named new face for Candie’s at Kohl’s campaign

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Iconix Brand Group announced that its junior brand, Candie’s, which is exclusive at Kohl’s Department Stores signed an exclusive partnership with Britney Spears. Spears will appear in the Candie’s Only at Kohl’s 2009 print, television, in-store and online marketing and advertising campaigns. Candie’s and Kohl’s also will be heavily integrated into all of Spears’ upcoming promotional activities.

“I’m so excited to be the face for Candie’s Only at Kohl’s. Candie’s and Kohl’s are doing such great things with my tour. It’s great to work with a line that has such cool clothes and accessories,” states Britney Spears about the partnership.

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Positioning for a Turnaround

BY CSA STAFF

It’s no secret that retailers are tightening IT budgets and that the technology projects that do get a green light must produce a strong return on investment to make it worth a chain’s while.

Point-of-sale systems are no exception, especially as more retailers strategize to get “back to basics” in light of the down economy, according to Chris Moreira, director of marketing for the retail division of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Radiant Systems, a provider of POS technology.

Associate editor/Web editor Samantha Murphy spoke with Moreira about how the economy is affecting the POS industry. Moreira also discussed how retailers should be positioning themselves today so they can remain strong once the economy finally turns around.

How is this economy different from other downturns? 

Retailers, and Americans in general, have not experienced this type of an economy in decades. What that means for retailers is that they need to be more practical and sensible when spending their IT budgets. They are shying away from selecting providers that require an extensive implementation process. Long-term implementations only delay their ROI and ties up their capital.

They are seeking affordable solutions with uncomplicated and rapid implementation processes and promise an undisputable ROI. Retailers have to learn how to get the most of out of their IT investments. Even as the economy improves, I think this trend toward maximizing dollars spent will continue.

Given the state of the economy, what trends are you seeing in the POS systems industry? 

Most retailers are looking to partner with technology companies that are strong financially and can provide value with a proven ROI. Retailers want best-in-class technology in every area of their business while minimizing the cost, time and risk associated with technology implementation. In this economy, retailers are especially determined to find store technology that can be rapidly deployed at a competitive price. The days of POS systems being linked to complex, high-risk enterprise application deployments are behind us. Retailers just want results.

Given that we are in an environment where many technology providers are barely surviving or are closing their doors, it is also important for retailers to take a long, close look at the company that will be manufacturing and developing their hardware and software.

Since the economy is forcing many retailers to “get back to basics,” where does POS fit into the mix? 

Inventory management is at the core of every retailer’s “back to basics” strategy. It is imperative retailers have the right inventory at the right time, in the right place and at the right cost.

A robust POS system provides retail management with the key data they need to optimally manage inventory and make business decisions. Whether it is inventory turn rates, sales-to-stock ratios, customer-loyalty patterns, or vendor purchasing advice, having this data empowers a retailer to make proactive decisions that improve business efficiencies and optimize capital usage.

Another fundamental is to focus on increasing sales from loyal customers. We are seeing more interest in offerings targeted to specific customer preferences, loyalty promotions and a wide use of gift cards across all markets. Loyalty programs and customer tracking built into the point-of-sale workflow is very critical to make this happen.

What are the key elements retailers should be focusing on as IT budgets tighten? 

Retailers should focus on implementing and growing solutions that offer a low total cost of ownership and that provide a quick ROI. It is also important that retailers choose versatile solutions that provide key metrics and can help them measure the health of their business. Again, it’s extra imperative that they partner with strong companies that will continue to develop features, provide support and remain dedicated to the success of their business.

How will using certain solutions help retailers move forward once the economy turns around? 

For one, retailers will see an ROI by the time the economy turns around so they will be in a much better position. Plus, their business will be healthy. Retailers that take advantage of this slower time to effectively manage their inventory, cultivate loyal customers and negotiate superior pricing with their vendors will be in a position to be very profitable and grow as the economy improves.

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Painting Provides Low-Cost, High-Impact Update

BY Marianne Wilson

A fresh coat of paint is a cost-effective way to keep a store looking bright, well-maintained and appealing. Mike Liszka, CFO, ISP Painting, Naperville, Ill., spoke with

What are common mistakes retailers make when it comes to painting? 

Many retailers make the mistake of trusting their company’s image to the nonprofessional “jack of all trades.” Finding professional and local reliable painters is time-consuming and in many cases virtually impossible. Painting, especially in a retail environment, requires training, experience and expertise. Insist that the company has the means to understand and cater to your individual needs, as well as create a trusting relationship with proper security measures like background checks and picture I.D. badges.

Another common mistake is not following up on the product that is being specified. Don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of the receipt to verify that the product being used is the one that was specified. The wrong product can reduce the number of years a job will last.

Any suggestions for retailers when it comes to selecting the right color? 

The colors selected should coordinate well with point-of-sale material and signage and reflect the “mood” of the merchandise being sold. For example, a store selling bath and body products would benefit from clean, fresh shades like white and blue. Feminine shades like pink or rose are a great choice for lingerie stores. Remember color choice is only half the battle; the right product determines how long your surface will last.

How do your services fit into retailers’ green strategies? 

Being “green” is important to our clients for a variety of reasons, and it’s a big priority for ISP. As many people are aware, when paint dries it emits VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These emissions are harmful to the environment. Many states have regulations in place that limit or restrict the use of high-VOC emission paints. These regulations can vary within individual states, affecting what products, and sometimes even colors, you have specified for a job.

Are you noticing any trends with regard to colors? 

Vivid, cheerful colors are definitely in for 2009. People are using color to fight off the gloom brought on by the struggling economy. Happy shades like pink, yellow and green are very popular. Benjamin Moore has selected a beautiful yellow shade called “Elmo’s Fire” as this year’s top interior design color.

When working with dynamic colors like these, it’s important not to overdo it. Designers recommend pairing vivid colors with more subtle hues.

Are there any cost-effective options available to help deal with the problem of dated or dirty cabinets and woodwork? 

Replacing dated or dirty cabinets or woodwork is not only extremely expensive, it also creates a significant amount of land waste. Fortunately, there’s an environmentally friendly alternative that costs up to 80% less than replacement. ISP uses a special high-tech coating to recoat existing stained or laminated cabinets and woodwork.

What can retailers do to clean up storefront graffiti? 

ISP finds the best solution is to apply a high-tech product that allows the store manager to wipe off graffiti quickly, easily and completely by the manager. The product can usually be wiped clean up to five times prior to needing a new coat applied. This will reduce the expense and the time wasted with call-backs for maintenance work like power washes and repaints.

What services does ISP provide? 

Our services include but are not limited to: interior/exterior repaints, EIFS repair, FRP recoating, ceiling-tile restoration, wood repair, wallcovering installation, parking-lot line striping, maintenance calls, problem solving and graffiti control. We look at ourselves not only as painters but also as partners who are here to assist in the solutions and needs of each customer. We are willing to go the extra mile to take the pain from painting.

How does ISP keep retailers updated as to the ongoing status of projects? 

There have been many milestones for ISP over the years, but perhaps the most significant is the implementation of our proprietary, collaborative online project management system, the Extranet.

The Extranet is designed and maintained by ISP’s in-house IT department, giving clients quick and easy access to project-related communications and documentation from any computer and most Web-enabled mobile devices. Pre-job surveys, post-job sign-offs, schedule information, before/after pictures, job specifications and more are just a click away.

In addition to the Extranet, clients can feel free to call their dedicated project manager at any time. All of our project managers are available 24/7 should issues arise outside of normal business hours.

For more detailed information, visit www.chainstoreage.com/csa/guestcom .

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