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Wal-Mart Quantifies RFID Benefits

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart Stores released statistics showing the benefits of radio-frequency identification (RFID) and the Electronic Product Code (EPC). The study was commissioned by Wal-Mart and conducted by the University of Arkansas.

Researchers found a 16% reduction in out-of-stocks at stores equipped with RFID technology. Additionally, the study also showed that out-of-stock items with EPCs were replenished three times faster than comparable items using standard barcode technology. Wal-Mart also experienced a meaningful reduction in manual orders resulting in a reduction of excess inventory.

“This is no longer a take-it-on-faith initiative,” said Linda Dillman, executive VP and CIO of Wal-Mart.

The 29-week study analyzed out-of-stock merchandise at 12 pilot stores equipped with RFID technology and 12 control stores without the technology. All Wal-Mart formats—Supercenters, Discount Stores and Neighborhood Markets—were included in the study.

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Fitch Upgrades J.C. Penney

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Good news for J.C. Penney: Fitch Ratings raised its rating of Penney’s senior unsecured debt to “BBB-,” from “BB-plus.” The new rating is the lowest investment grade rank. “The upgrade also reflects the expectation that [J.C.] Penney will make continued progress with its turnaround over the medium term while further reducing debt levels,” Fitch said.

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Playboy Enterprises Opens Overseas Boutiques

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur will both have freestanding Playboy Concept Boutiques by the end of this year. These will be the fourth and fifth locations for the concept, selling full collections of Playboy fashion and accessories.

The openings will leverage Playboy’s expansion at retail in specialty stores and department stores in the United States, Asia and Europe. Among the stores currently carrying Playboy items are Henri Bendel in New York, Selfridges in London, Colette in Paris and Seibu in Hong Kong.

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