OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart appoints VP Global Consumer Insights

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores named Cindy Davis as executive VP Global Consumer Insights. In the position, she will lead the newly created Global Customer Insights team, helping both Walmart and Sam’s Club understand broad consumer trends, provide insight into customers’ needs across the world and create advanced analytical tools to support the business.

Davis most recently served as executive VP membership, marketing and e-commerce at the Sam’s Club warehouse store division. A successor in that role will be named at a later date, Wal-Mart said.

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FINANCE

Report: Barnes & Noble targets Amazon affiliates involved in sales tax fight

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Barnes & Noble invited Amazon.com’s affiliates to join its program instead in an "open letter" Monday, as Amazon continues to oppose legislation that requires it to collect sales taxes in several states, the Associated Press reported.

Affiliates are website and blog operators who link to the retailers’ sites. If someone follows the link and buys a product through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, for example, the websites get a cut. Amazon says if it does not have a physical presence in a state, it shouldn’t have to collect sales taxes. The states say it does, because it has a network of local affiliates who do have a local presence.

Amazon has cut ties with affiliates in states including Rhode Island, Colorado and North Carolina over the tax issue. The company does collect sales taxes in some states, including its home state of Washington.

Barnes & Noble said it collects and remits sales tax due from its online sales, and added that terminated Amazon affiliates are "welcome to join" its affiliate program.

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News

Helzberg Diamonds selects Information Builder’s BI platform

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Information Builders, a provider of business intelligence solutions, announced that Helzberg Diamonds has standardized on the WebFocus BI platform to provide advanced analysis and reporting capabilities to managers at 230 stores across the United States.

The fine jewelry retailer implemented the BI platform to analyze point-of-sale and other operational data, respond more quickly to market trends, and boost productivity in nearly every facet of its business. Insight from its new BI environment helps Helzberg provide additional value to customers and partners, while also increasing the size of its average sale.

"We’re using our new BI system to analyze data from our network of stores, evaluate the marketplace, detect buying trends, and track promotional effectiveness," said Greg Backhus, director of data warehousing and BI for Helzberg Diamonds, North Kansas City, Mo. "By quickly responding to trends in our customers’ behavior, we can more readily understand which products they want and the type of service they need. WebFocus makes us more nimble and efficient, so we adapt more quickly than the competition."

Helzberg selected Information Builders’ BI software because of its support for interactive dashboards and its report distribution capabilities. The solution offers tremendous ease of use and extensive connectivity to a broad set of databases and applications including Microsoft SQL Server, JD Edwards Financials, Hyperion Essbase, and Netezza. The platform has enabled Helzberg to create dashboards, scorecards, and an automated environment that streamlines the delivery of numerous daily reports to management covering a variety of functions, including net sales, merchandise reports, and point-of-sale analytics.

Helzberg also used WebFocus to enhance its merchandising capabilities with new reporting and metrics, placing more flexibility and control into the hands of store managers. The platform allows key employees to examine product category sales and indentify trends in promotions and other store-specific information, such as individual associate performance, credit sales, and extended care plan usage.

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