OPERATIONS

Tesco signs eight-year, global agreement with Microsoft

BY Marianne Wilson

Reading, England — Tesco has committed to the Microsoft platform in an eight year, world-wide agreement. The deal is designed to enable the U.K.-based retailer to improve productivity, decision-making, knowledge sharing and operational excellence across the 14 countries in which it currently operates.

The agreement will underpin Tesco’s strategic objectives of growing its international presence; expanding its non-food business; and offering a broad selection of retail services such as banking, online and mobile.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tesco and its affiliates will have access to the latest versions of Microsoft products and services in their head offices, stores, distribution and data centers, including Windows, Office, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, System Center, BizTalk and SQL Server.

In addition, the deal also includes Microsoft Services’ Enterprise Strategy program, which is helping Tesco set strategy and priorities and deliver projects so risks are minimized and time-to-value is accelerated.

“We have lots of colleagues in Tesco, doing lots of jobs all over the world,” said Mike McNamara, group CIO, Tesco. “These technologies can help bring us together to share learning and expertise, views and opinions, thoughts and ideas.”

Tesco is expecting to see value immediately through the deployment of SharePoint, Exchange and Lync to create a new global collaboration platform. This will allow all employees to find specialist skills and share and access knowledge whenever and wherever they need..

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Report: Apple hires search firm to recruit retail chief

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Apple has hired executive search firm Egon Zehnder International to help it find a replacement for its retail head Ron Johnson, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

The reports suggest that in hiring Egon Zehnder, which has offices around the globe, Apple may be looking for an executive with international retail experience. Apple is set to open nearly 30 stores this year outside of the United States.

Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior VP in charge of retail, will leave the firm to become CEO J.C. Penney Co. on Nov. 1. He departs as the computer maker expands internationally, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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J.D. Power Study: Lowe’s highest among appliance retailers in customer satisfaction

BY Marianne Wilson

Westlake Village, Calif. — Lowe’s ranked highest in customer satisfaction among appliance retailers for a second consecutive year, achieving a score of 807 on a 1,000-point scale, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study. The study measures satisfaction based on performance in six areas: sales staff and service; store facility; merchandise (i.e., variety of brands/models offered and availability of merchandise and product information); price; delivery service; and installation service.

Lowe’s scored particularly well in four of the six factors: store facility; price; delivery service; and installation service. It was followed in the ranking by Hhgregg (799) and Sears (793).

The survey found that service-related aspects of major appliance retailers — including sales, delivery and installation services — are slightly more important to overall satisfaction than facility, product and price.

“Appliance retailers often try to compete on price and merchandise, but the main differentiator when it comes to satisfaction is having knowledgeable and courteous staff available to assess and help meet customer needs," said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

The 2011 Appliance Retailer Study is based on responses from more than 4,400 customers who purchased a laundry or kitchen appliance within the previous 24 months from a major appliance retailer. The study was fielded between March and April 2011.

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