OPERATIONS

Study: Retail employee turnover increasing

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Philadelphia — Management consulting firm Hay Group reported Tuesday that employee turnover levels in the retail industry are on the rise.

According to a new survey from Hay Group, an improving job market and solid first quarter sales are impacting turnover. Retailers report a median turnover rate of 67% for part-time store workers, a 33% increase over 2011. One in five retailers report that they have experienced more turnover in the first part of 2012.

“Higher employee turnover is a double-edged sword,” said Maryam Morse, national reward practice leader of Hay Group’s Retail practice. “On one hand, it’s a harbinger of an improving economy, but on the other it’s a significant challenge for retailers who will need to devote more time and resources to retention and recruiting. Retailers are very focused on profitability right now, which is likely leading to an increased demand for part-time workers, who can be scheduled to work at only the highest traffic times.”


For the remainder of 2012, 82% of retailers surveyed expect to see the most turnover among their store hourly workers. Nearly one-third of respondents say they expect to see high levels of turnover among hourly workers at distribution centers.


Hay Group’s survey analyzed responses from 54 major U.S. retailers including Ascena Retail, Carter’s, Meijer, OfficeMax, Petco, PetSmart, Ross Stores, The Limited and Zale Corp. to determine the rate of turnover for key positions within retail organizations, and related retention strategies.


The survey also found that growth in e-commerce and mobile channels is escalating a talent challenge at both corporate offices and distribution centers. With more retail and technology companies competing for the same talent, turnover rates in corporate e-commerce positions are nearly double 2011 levels. E-commerce growth has led to the development of more online fulfillment centers, creating greater opportunities and turnover among both hourly workers and management positions at distribution centers.

Over the past year, the turnover rate for hourly workers at distribution centers increased by 29%.

When asked about key tactics for reducing turnover, 61% of retailers cite career pathing and 54% point to training. Only 30% cite changes to compensation plans.

Although compensation is not the top strategy for retaining employees overall, Hay Group’s March 2012 survey of retailers’ salary budgets found that it is one of the tools used to hold on to high performers. Retailers have budgeted an average of 3.6% in merit increases for top performers this year, up from 3.2% in 2011 and notably more than the 2.8% planned for employees overall this year.

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Lowe’s realigns leadership toward improved customer experience

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s Cos. said Tuesday it has realigned corporate personnel and responsibilities to focus the home improvement retailer more closely on customer experience strategies.

Lowe’s established a Customer Experience organization, led by chief customer officer Gregory M. Bridgeford, charged with creating customer experiences that will best serve customers and differentiate Lowe’s from its competitors.

Reporting to Bridgeford will be customer experience design executive Bob Gfeller, former executive VP merchandising; chief marketing officer Tom Lamb, former as senior VP marketing and advertising; and digital interfaces executive Mike Mabry, former executive VP logistics and distribution.

The newly named operations organization will be led by COO Rick Damron. Direct reports include: Dennis R. Knowles, U.S. stores executive, formerly senior VP specialty sales and store operations support; Brent G. Kirby, sales & service fulfillment executive, formerly senior VP store operations – north division; and Gary E. Wyatt, real estate executive.

Other personnel changes include: Richard D. Maltsbarger is now business development executive, previously serving as senior VP strategy; Brian Peace is now corporate administration executive, previously serving as senior VP corporate affairs; and Doug Robinson is now head of international operations and development, previously serving as senior VP international operations and customer support services.

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F.Dallson says:
Apr-21-2013 01:44 pm

Leadership is the main feature if you want to be successful and have a power. I think that it is very important if you want to improve customer experience strategies. I totally agree with your arguments and I have to admit that I really respect your opinion about this question. It would be really interesting to hear other people opinion about it. Sincerely, Frank H. from relationship problems

F.Dallson says:
Apr-21-2013 01:44 pm

Leadership is the main feature if you want to be successful and have a power. I think that it is very important if you want to improve customer experience strategies. I totally agree with your arguments and I have to admit that I really respect your opinion about this question. It would be really interesting to hear other people opinion about it. Sincerely, Frank H. from relationship problems

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NASFT: Five hot specialty food retailers

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — A New York City gourmet emporium and a Bay Area nine-store natural/specialty food supermarket chain are among the recipients of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s Outstanding Retailers of 2012 awards.

The annual awards, which will be presented on June 18 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., recognize excellence in customer service, product sourcing, merchandising, quality assurance and a passion for presenting top-quality food. They were selected by a national panel of specialty food experts including previous honorees, manufacturers, distributors and editors of Specialty Food Magazine

Here is a rundown on the winners:

• Caviar & Bananas: Opened in 2008 by husband-and-wife team Kris and Margaret Furniss, this gourmet market and café features a sushi bar, prepared foods all made on site and a wide-ranging product mix from, indeed, caviar to bananas. Located in downtown Charleston, S.C., the store takes its aesthetic cues from New York City’s top specialty food markets.

• City Feed and Supply: This natural foods grocery, café and deli, with two locations, is far more than a purveyor of quality natural foods. Owners Kristine Cortese and David Warner are deeply involved in their Massachusetts community, and source local and regional products from small farms and artisan producers. The couple had no retailing experience when they decided to open a specialty food store in 2000.

• Eli’s Manhattan:
Opened in 1998 by noted merchant Eli Zabar with inspiration from the food halls of Europe, Eli’s Manhattan has become a neighborhood institution on the exclusive Upper East Side. With 20,000 sq. ft. of space, the store is packed with baked goods made on site, prepared foods, fresh fish, aged meat and cheeses and a changing array of the latest specialty foods.

• Mollie Stone’s Markets: College pals Dave Bennet and Mike Stone opened their first store in 1986 to bring natural foods to a larger market in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Since then, they’ve expanded to nine locations with more than 30,000 products in the largest units. The retailer is known for its in-store demonstrations and lively social media program to connect with customers.

• Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine: With three locations in Chicago, this retailer is known for its carefully edited selection of artisanal foods, including more than 150 cheeses, as well as its Artisan Producer Festival at Chicago’s French Market. Owners Greg O’Neill and Ken Miller opened the first location in 2004, taking inspiration from years of traveling and living abroad and finding a scarcity of market-driven shopping at home.

The NASFT, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, is a not-for-profit trade association established in 1952 to foster commerce and interest in the specialty food industry. It has more than 2,900 members in the United States and abroad.

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