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Tile Shop swings to profit in Q1; on track for 20 new stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – Tile Shop Holdings Inc. reported net income of $3.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, a substantial improvement from a net loss of $44.7 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The retailer plans to open 20 new stores during fiscal 2014.

Helping drive the return to profitability was net sales growth of 13.3% to $64.4 million, compared with $56.8 million for the first quarter of 2013. The $7.5 million increase in sales was driven by incremental net sales of $8.8 million from stores not included in the same-store sales base, partly offset by a modest decrease in comparable store sales of 2.3%. Sales results were impacted by harsh winter weather conditions.

For the full fiscal year, Tile Shop expects net sales of $280 million to $290 million and same-store sales growth of 4%-6%.

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Tommy Bahama implements Medallia customer experience software

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Tommy Bahama has selected customer experience management (CEM) software from Medallia to help better understand and improve customer experience. Using Medallia¹s real-time CEM software, Tommy Bahama will build the vendor’s “Voice of the Customer (VoC)” customer feedback and reporting program into its operations to improve customer experience and drive loyalty.

In the initial stages, Tommy Bahama will use Medallia¹s CEM software to capture experience data from customers who buy in retail stores, at outlet locations, and through in-store kiosks. The system integrates this data with data from its POS system and ultimately sends it to all employees in real time. Closed-loop alerting will also enable Tommy Bahama associates to immediately reach out to guests who want to be contacted.

“We are always looking for ways to improve on how we create experiences that our guests will love,” said Michael Barrow, VP of retail for Tommy Bahama. “We chose to work with Medallia as their software enables our guests to easily and quickly provide us with feedback about their needs and wants. By proactively embedding the Voice of the Customer inside our business, we can directly take action on the issues and services that are most important to our guests and to us.”

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Ugam unveils new pricing engine

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Analytics solutions provider Ugam is enhancing its pricing intelligence solution with a new pricing engine that delivers real-time, on-demand pricing data for millions of products. The pricing engine monitors online retail prices and consumer signals, and combines that information with proprietary and third-party data to enable retailers to dynamically price items.

“It’s critical for retailers to have real-time data in order to make timely pricing decisions that make an impact on their business,” said Ugam CTO, Sridhar Sharma. “If price data isn’t current, retailers may be perceived as not being competitive, which can be especially damaging on high-volume traffic days like Black Friday. Ugam is the only company delivering real-time pricing intelligence. Our competitors are pulling dated information from static databases.”

Ugam’s pricing intelligence solution delivers intelligent recommendations based on self-learning rules that help retailers identify opportunities to make pricing changes that align with their business. The solution’s intuitive dashboard and configurable rules logic enable retailers to create complex pricing rules in plain English based on multiple parameters, including price, margins, revenue, inventory levels, price elasticity, product categories, zones and more. Ugam also provides a library of default rules that help retailers optimize for multiple variables. Rules-based pricing actions can be automated or can trigger alerts that require additional oversight from a pricing manager, providing granular pricing control.

“True on-demand, real-time data is no easy task,” said Ugam co-founder and CIO Mihir Kittur. Pulling pricing data and consumer signals about millions of products within seconds is definitely a challenge, but this is the information that retailers need to know to remain competitive. They need to be able to see what’s happening from both a competitor and consumer standpoint in real-time and leverage historic data to take action that can positively impact their business. This is the benefit we deliver to our customers.”

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