MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Consumers wary of spending

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – While attitudes haven’t changed overwhelmingly since December 2013, some shifts in plans for the next six months may indicate that Americans are questioning their financial prospects during the next few months, according to a new Harris Poll. The survey of 2,234 U.S. adults shows that Americans are more likely than in December to say that they plan on decreasing their spending on eating out at restaurants (59%, up four points) within the next six months.

Consumers are also less likely to say they will save or invest more money within the next six months (52%, down six points), that they will have more money to spend the way they want (34%, down four points) and that they will buy a new computer (23%, down four points) when compared to December 2013.

Looking back at activities done during the past six months to save money, numbers haven’t changed much from December findings. Six-in-10 Americans (59%, up one point) say they have been purchasing more generic brands, just more than four-in-10 (42%, holding steady from December results) say they’ve been brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it and just more than a third say they’ve switched to a refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottles of water (34%, up one point).

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OPERATIONS

AT&T plans more than 3,000 retail hires

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas — AT&T will hire more than 3,000 retail sales and sales management employees nationwide during the next several months. The retailer said the new employees are needed to meet increased customer demand in the company’s growing retail business.

"AT&T’s award-winning retail team is focused on delivering an extraordinary customer experience with every interaction," said Paul Roth, president of retail sales and service for AT&T Mobility. "We are pleased to invite more people to join the AT&T family and add to an already amazing team."

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News

Kroger debuts Retail Site Intelligence, new enterprise IT architecture

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cincinnati – The Kroger Co. is collaborating with EInfochips and Wincor-Nixdorf to introduce a new enterprise IT architecture called Retail Site Intelligence (RSI). The architecture uses uses ZigBee wireless mesh networks to integrate long battery life sensors, handheld devices, point-of-sale devices and video management software into a next-generation platform for retail applications such as loss prevention, store automation and analytics.

The introduction of the RSI architecture, and the deployment of new retail business solutions by Kroger, culminates two years of global collaboration between Kroger and EInfochips to develop the underlying technology solutions. The results of this phase of development are new wireless devices, including cameras, scanners and scales, featuring ZigBee wireless technology, and Vigil360, a new video management software kernel designed specifically for RSI.

In an exclusive interview with Chain Store Age, Dion Perkins, R&D engineer for Kroger, said the ultimate goal of RSI is to make the shopping experience better for the customer while using the proliferation of Bluetooth and WiFi technology to reduce infrastructure costs.

“Store solutions are costly if deployed individually,” said Perkins. “We use cameras with a ZigBee radio interface that handle the security aspect and video analytics. They can also enable queue management and mobile shopping, and serve as temperature sensors. The cost of ongoing maintenance is lower with lower complexity and a simplified environment.”

Commercial versions of the RSI solutions being piloted by Kroger will be available later in 2014 with support and customization services delivered globally.

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