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Walmart announces two new centers dedicated to filling online orders

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Bruno, Calif. — Walmart announced it is opening two new warehouses dedicated to filling online orders, one in Fort Worth, Texas, and one in Bethlehem, Pa., which will be its largest center to date. The new facilities are part of a next-generation fulfillment network that the retailer said will deliver U.S. customer orders faster and at a lower cost.

The Fort Worth center is already open and began shipping orders last week. It is 800,000 sq. ft. The Bethlehem operation will be more than one million sq. ft. It is scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year.

The two facilities are expected to provide more than 600 full-time positions in Pennsylvania and Texas, and would likely add another 600 workers during the holidays and other peak seasons. The Fort Worth facility will be operated by Brentwood, Tenn.-based OHL, a global supply chain management solutions company. The Bethlehem center will be fully operated by Walmart.

"With our dedicated online facilities and 4,100 stores within five miles of two-thirds of the U.S. population, we gain a significant advantage by being positioned in the most important location, close to our customers," said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com. "This unique combination allows us to get more products to our customers faster and at a lower cost."

Walmart noted that it expects its online sales will exceed $10 billion globally this year, with growth of 30% in the quarter ended July 31. In addition to the U.S., Walmart’s e-commerce sales come primarily from Brazil, China, and the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the retailer said that more than 10% of its orders are shipped from stores and more than 50% are shipped in less than two days.

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JC’s 5 Star Outlet to close doors

BY CSA STAFF

After more than 50 years in business, JC’s 5 Star Outlet/J.C. Penney Outlet will be closing all 15 outlet stores in 14 states.

"Going Out of Business" or "Total Inventory Blowout" sales will start Wednesday in each outlet store, offering consumers $70 million worth of name brand and private label products at significant discounts from the already low outlet prices of 25-75% off comparative retail.

The outlet stores trace their roots to the J.C. Penney’s 1962 purchase of a Milwaukee, Wis., mail order company, the General Merchandise Company. In 1963 the retailer opened its first outlet store in Wauwatosa, Wis. This original store, selling overstocked and discontinued merchandise, was advertised as "Penney’s Catalog Warehouse Outlet, an all-new, revolutionary type of Penney store."

The outlet stores, which had been designated for closure by J.C. Penney, were acquired by SB Acquisitions Oct. 2011.

Glen Gammons, the former head of the J.C. Penney Outlet Store Division, and CEO of JC’s 5 Star Outlet, said closing the outlet stores was a painful decision.

"The closing of the outlets was necessitated by the precipitous decline of sales," Gammons said. "After exploring all the alternatives, we could no longer incur the losses resulting from the continued operation of the outlet stores. We wish to thank all of our associates for their hard work and dedication to the company throughout the years."

JC’s 5 Star Outlet/J.C. Penney Outlet sells a wide range of private-label and national-brand apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family, as well as small electrics, domestics, housewares and other products for the home.

In addition to the inventory liquidation, fixtures and equipment from the stores also will be sold.

JC’s 5 Star Outlet/J.C. Penney Outlet locations:

Decatur Mall, 1801 Beltline Rd. SW, Decatur, Ala.

Arizona Mills Mall, 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe, Ariz.

Ontario Mills Mall, 4410 Mills Circle, Ontario, Calif.

Sawgrass Mills Mall, 12801 West Sunrise Blvd, Sunrise, Fla.

5500 S. Expressway, I-75 at Exit 237, Forest Park, Ga.

Machesney Park Mall, 8702 N. 2nd Street, Machesney Park, Ill.

9495 W. 75th Street, I-35 at 75th St., Overland Park, Kan.

3430 Preston Highway, I-65 at Exit 131B, Louisville, Ky.

Jamestown Mall, 246 Jamestown Mall, Florissant, Mont.

190 East Glendale Avenue, Sparks, Nev.

2361 Park Crescent Drive Rolling Acres Mall, 2442 Romig Road, Akron, Ohio

Fairgrounds Square Mall, 3050 N. 5th Street Highway, Reading, Pa.

Grapevine Mills Mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, Texas

Liberty Fair Mall, 240 Commonwealth Blvd., Martinsville, Va.

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Shop.org: Retail-related Internet time on mobile devices increases

BY CSA STAFF

According to Shop.org, more than half (55%) of all retail-related Internet time in June 2013 originated on smartphones and tablet devices combined, compared with just 45% originating from desktop devices.

Shop.org teamed up with comScore and the Partnering Group to generate the report, released at Shop.org’s Annual Summit, which found that smartphone Internet usage in June 2013 totaled 44% of retail Internet minutes, up from 17% in June 2010. Tablet internet usage accounted for 11% of total minutes on retail sites.

During second quarter 2013, m-commerce dollars totaled $4.7 billion or 8.6% of total U.S. e-commerce dollars that quarter. In addition, between second quarter 2012 and second quarter 2013, m-commerce grew 24%, compared to 16% growth in e-commerce as a whole.

"Since U.S. consumers now spend more than half of their time on retailers’ websites using their smartphones and tablets, mobile can’t be viewed simply as an ancillary device or action, it now epitomizes how consumers think and act when they interact with retailers,” said Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell. “Retailers have to continue to invest to make sure they get their mobile offerings right, or will increasingly risk alienating customers and leaving significant money on the table."

When it comes to popular mobile content categories, retail was one of the fastest-growing areas among consumers. From June 2012 to June 2013, retail grew 49% as a content category on smartphones, only behind beauty and fashion, home and lifestyle, and instant messaging services. As for in-store mobile activities, in the second quarter of this year nearly six-in-10 (57%) of smartphone users visited the same company’s site or app while in the store, compared to 43% who consulted another company’s site or app. The top reason consumers consulted the retailer’s or another company’s website or app was to view price differences.

Among those smartphone users who went to the same retailer’s site, 59% wanted to see if there was an online discount available. Similarly, among those who checked a different retailer’s site, 92% wanted to see if they could get a better deal on price. Smartphone owners also used their devices while in the store to take a picture of a product (23%), text or call family or friends about a product (17%), and send a picture of a product to family and friends (17%).

The following are additional highlights from the report that signal continued evolution in the marketplace:

One-third (35%) of smartphone owners in second quarter 2013 used their device to locate a store, one-quarter (24%) used it to find coupons and deals, and 19% used it to look up product availability.

Among consumers who made a purchase online in second quarter 2013, 69% of those purchases came from desktop devices, compared to 34% from tablets and 21% from smartphones.

The average spend in second quarter 2013 was higher on smartphones compared to tablets: shoppers spent an average of $97 on smartphones, compared to $76 on tablets.

Nearly two-thirds of smartphone owners in second quarter 2013 used a browser to research product features (64%), and more than half used a browser to find a store location (59%) and to find coupons/deals (53%). Seven-in-10 (72%) smartphone owners report using only apps to make shopping lists, as well as 46% who do so to view daily deals.

Apparel and accessories (37%) and event tickets (25%) were among the top products that smartphone shoppers bought with their device during second quarter 2013.

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