OPERATIONS

Wal-Mart former chief retiring from board

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced Wednesday that its former president and CEO Lee Scott will not seek re-election to the company’s board of directors.

As well, current board member Chris Williams will not stand for re-election to the board of directors at Walmart’s Annual Shareholders’ meeting on June 6.

Scott will complete his service as a Director in June at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in line with Walmart’s historical practice for its prior CEOs’ board service. Williams is rotating off of the Board after 10 years of service inaccordance with Walmart’s corporate governance guidelines.

Scott served as Walmart’s president and CEO from January 2000 until his retirement on Jan. 31, 2009.

Williams is the chairman and CEO of investment bank The Williams Capital Group, L.P.

With Scott’s and Williams’ retirement, the Walmart board will consist of 14 directors, all of whom will stand for re-election to the board at Walmart’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on June 6.

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OPERATIONS

Report: Postal union plans protest at Staples stores

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Washington, D.C. — The American Postal Workers Union will stage a protest in Staples stores across 27 states on Thursday, in objection to the office supply retailer’s opening of in-store postal counters staffed by Staples employees.

In 2013, Staples launched its postal pilot program, introducing in-store postal services that today includes about 80 stores. According to a report by the Associated Press, the union objects because the program replaces well-paid union workers with low-wage nonunion workers.

The union says the program could result in postal layoffs and the closing of post offices, and said in a statement that postal workers "have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail," unlike poorly trained retail workers. The union wants the counters staffed by uniformed postal workers, according to the report.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Most app users don’t want to be tracked or receive push notifications while shopping

BY Michael Johnsen

Chicago — Survey results by location-based shopping platform Retale, which aggregates weekly circulars from more than 60 top-line retailers for mobile and digital devices, found that 71% of mobile app users don’t like the idea of being tracked into a store via their smartphones.

More than half (56%) say they are not interested in receiving push notifications while shopping.

"For retailers looking to maximize traffic and sales, understanding consumer motives and desires is the best way to improve the shopping experience," said Retale president Patrice Dermody. "And that could mean helping consumers better understand the benefits of these technologies in order to break down the barriers to widespread adoption."

The survey asked more than 3,000 iOS and Android users about their mobile shopping experiences, usage and overall awareness. And despite the growing list of mobile technologies ranging from Apple iBeacon, that sends in-store push notifications to nearby smartphone users, to mobile payment and such shopping coupon options as Google Wallet, consumer adoption has been slowed by lack of awareness and understanding, according to survey results.

As many as three-in-four survey respondents were unaware that iBeacon exists, while only 11% of Android users claim to use Google Wallet, and just 23% of iOS users have tried Passbook for coupon shopping offers.

"Just like with any new technology, it often takes time for consumers to adapt and change their buying behaviors," Dermody said.

Other Retale study key findings include:

• iOS users are more receptive to in-store push notifications;

• Only 29% of mobile app users are not concerned with being monitored;

• 56% of mobile shoppers don’t know near-field communications is a contactless payment system used for mobile payments, and the 38% who are familiar with the technology choose not to use it. Only 5% to 6% say they regularly use NFC to pay retailers;

• iOS users are nearly split in favor for and against push notifications; and

• The majority of Android users say they don’t want notifications sent to their mobile while shopping.

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