REAL ESTATE

Trabocco Kitchen signs into Alameda South Shore

BY Michael Fickes

Alameda, Calif. — Trabocco Kitchen and Cocktails, a new restaurant founded by Alameda residents Chef Giuseppe Naccarelli, a native of Palombaro, Italy, and his wife Christine, will open Nov. 18 at South Shore Center in Alameda. The 4,700-sq.-ft. restaurant is located in Center Court, the shopping center’s main plaza.

Trabocci are a type of fishing pier unique to the Adriatic coastline of Italy’s Abruzzo region. “The distinct architectural imagery of the trabocci as well as Alameda’s waterfront location, helped us refine the restaurant’s design and gave a sharper focus to the final materials, colors, and art work,” said Lev Weisbach of Weisbach design | architecture, who oversaw the restaurant’s architecture, interior design and construction.

Trabocco has a 90-seat main dining room, 16-seat private wine room, 30-seat bar area and 56-seat outdoor dining patio. The main dining room features a soaring 35-foot tower crowned by a large skylight and light sculptures inspired by fishing nets, and opens to a contemporary exhibition kitchen. The outdoor patio will be heated so it can be used year round.

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REAL ESTATE

Poll: Retailers expect shoppers earlier this year

BY Michael Fickes

North Plainfield, N.J. — Levin Management’s annual pre-holiday retail sentiment survey has found that retailers expect consumers to begin their holiday shopping sooner this year. Specifically, Levin said that 43.3% of responding retailers believe that holiday sales will peak prior to and during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend sales period.

Only 13.5% believe that sales will peak later — during the weekend before Christmas, a significant drop from last year’s 29.2%.

Levin conducted the survey during October, polling store managers within its 90-property, 12.5-million-sq.-ft. shopping center portfolio on this and other topics related to the upcoming holiday selling season, ecommerce, year-to-date sales and more.

The survey uncovered fears among retailers that the recent government shutdown would affect holiday spending. Nevertheless, more than three quarters of the respondents (77.5%) indicated that they plan to bring in as much as or more inventory than last year. A larger 85.7% of clothing, shoe and accessories retailers indicated that they plan to bring in as much ore more inventory than last season.

Levin noted that this trend lines up with the National Retail Federation’s forecast for a 3.9% sales increase during November and December compared with last year. This exceeds the 3.3% 10-year average holiday sales growth as well as 2012’s 3.5% holiday sales growth.

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News

All Data Leads to the Customer

BY Dan Berthiaume

Workforce management data, such as time and attendance and payroll, is generally seen as information pertaining to the back end of retail operations. Managing employees is an activity that generally does not involve front-end customer interaction and data generated from this activity is usually siloed from the data retailers use to help guide their customer-facing activities.

However, while this viewpoint may be understandable, it is also short-sighted. As pointed out by numerous industry speakers at the recent KronosWorks 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla., retailers are in the business of serving customers. Therefore, every retail activity, and by extension data generated by every retail activity, is relevant to the customer experience. If in the ancient world of travel all roads led to Rome, in the modern world of retail all data leads to the customer.

Cutting Hours May Not Boost Profits
Paying store associates is a huge drain on most retailers’ profits. Therefore, retailers tend to track associate hours very closely and reflexively cut them as soon as payroll exceeds weekly or monthly forecasts. However, as David Schaub, manager of retail operations at Puma North America, explained in a KronosWorks session, reducing the number of associates on the floor to meet a short-term payroll goal may lead to the loss of sales and even customers due to shoppers who cannot receive the in-store assistance they need.

That is why Puma includes workforce data in its broader operational analysis of things like customer service levels and sales trends, and you should, too.

Know Who’s Available When
Retailers have gotten better about timing their promotions. Since the late ‘90s, they have increasingly coordinated promotions with relevant third parties like suppliers and distributors, helping to ensure that adequate stock levels are available and internal marketing efforts don’t conflict with brand-led promotions.

But internally, there is generally little coordination between marketers and workforce management personnel to ensure that stores and distribution centers will have enough workers to handle a promotional event. Coordinating promotions with suppliers to get the right number of goods to the store does little good if there aren’t enough associates to keep the shelves stocked.

In addition, retail marketers can examine data on employee scheduling in advance of promotions, so that for example if a local or ethnic holiday affects the availability of a large number of employees in a specific region, the timing of the promotion can be altered there.

The More Metadata, the Merrier
With the advent of Hadoop and other analytical platforms capable of rapidly sorting through reams of Big Data and uncovering otherwise hidden insights, retailers have taken an increasing interest in collecting and studying as much metadata as possible to improve their customer experience. The inclusion of workforce management data nicely spices up the retail metadata stew.

Maybe in-store sales improve when a certain percentage of associates have taken a paid vacation within a certain period of time. Perhaps there is a perfect mix of veteran and new employees that maximizes the efficiency of store operations. Whatever the case may be, the more data that comprises the “meta” in your metadata, the deeper the resulting analytical insight will be. All data leads to the customer, but first you have to find and then follow it.


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