OPERATIONS

Survey: Two out of three U.S. consumers surveyed want self-service options when shopping

BY Marianne Wilson

Duluth, Ga. — A majority of U.S. consumers believe that self-service technologies such as self-checkout and kiosks improve the store experience, with almost half of younger shoppers preferring to use self-checkout in stores, according to a new survey by The NPD Group for NCR Corp.

In the report two out of three U.S. consumers surveyed want self-service options when shopping, and nearly half of shoppers surveyed under 45 want stores to offer self-checkout. In other findings, almost 46% of consumers surveyed want stores to offer more self-service options, like self-checkout or kiosks, to improve the shopping experience.

“Survey results highlight how consumers are embracing self-service and their growing preference for self-service options when shopping,” said Scott Kingsfield, senior VP and general manager of NCR’s retail line of business. “By offering consumers the choice of self-checkout as part of their full-service portfolio, retailers can offer consumers a convenient and enhanced shopping experience.”

Additional NCR research data shows that U.S. grocers who implement self-checkout see self-service usage rates of approximately 35% of all transactions.

“The option of self-service, when delivered as part of a strategic customer engagement program, can help many retailers cater to today’s time-starved and on-the-go consumers,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group. “This survey demonstrates that self-checkout is a popular choice for these shoppers, who appreciate the speed and convenience of self-service.”

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REAL ESTATE

J.C. Penney plans in-store holiday shops

BY Staff Writer

New York City — J.C. Penney is adding holiday shops on its main floor, the Associated Press reported.

The "Wrapt" shop concept will debut in the company’s Manhattan store this week. It will be rolled out to the chain’s stores nationwide on Oct. 24.

The in-store shops will carry about 300 items, with the majority exclusive to J.C. Penney, according to the report.

"Our customer is pressed for time. We wanted to pull it together for her to make it easier," said Jan Hodges, senior VP and general merchandise manager of women’s accessories, J.C. Penney, in the report. "This won’t overextend her budget. These are impulsive gifts. We are creating a wow factor."

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REAL ESTATE

Saks to close downtown Pittsburgh store

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Saks Fifth Avenue will close its store in downtown Pittsburgh in 2012, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. The news follows negotiations between the retailer, the store’s landlord and city officials over funding for renovations to the building.

“In order to remain in downtown Pittsburgh, we communicated to the landlord and city representatives that it was imperative that we secure funding toward a much-needed comprehensive model and upgrade of the store in order to meet competitive pressure and the expectations of our customers and vendors," said spokeswoman Julia Bentley said, in a report by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Saks received an offer to renew the store’s lease which expires on Sept. 21, 2012, and it included a funding proposal, the report said. However, the company decided it would not be practical to accept the offer.

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