Walmart to make a big move—literally—in about five years
Even headquarters have a shelf life.
Walmart is planning to build a new, central headquarters — one better suited to a "digitally native" workforce — in its hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas. The discount giant revealed the news in a note by CEO Doug McMillon on the company's website.
Walmart traces its current home office back to 1971. Since then, its office footprint has grown without a holistic long-term plan, resulting in a patchwork of more than 20 buildings in Northwest Arkansas.
"For some time now, we’ve been concerned that this ad hoc office network actually inhibits our ability to compete in the rapidly changing retail landscape," McMillon wrote. "We need to be curious, collaborative, agile and accountable if we are to win in the future. We need a workplace that fosters those skills and traits."
Walmart will build its new home campus on a large tract of land located along J Street in Bentonville. McMillon said the new space would offer improved parking, meal services, fitness, and natural light. Also, it will be integrated into the community trail system, for easy walking and cycling access.
"We intend to bring most of our home office associates in Northwest Arkansas onto a central campus with accommodations for a more digitally native workforce and space that encourages greater collaboration and speed," McMillon said.
Walmart expects the new campus will take five to seven years to complete.
"There’s still a tremendous amount of planning, design and coordination to be done and the property must be readied before we even begin construction," McMillon said. "But today’s announcement formally kicks off the process of working with city and state officials, as well as other stakeholders, to move the project forward."
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Study: Consumers growing uneasy about increasing access to personal data
Despite the ramping up of global data regulations, most consumers are concerned about how companies collect and use their information.
In fact, an overwhelming 96% of consumers are "somewhat" to "extremely" concerned about data collection and usage. This is understandable, as more than 75% engage in digital payment transactions at least once a month.
This was according to “Consumer Data Privacy: Strategic Opportunities to Address Emerging Consumer Needs,” a report from A.T. Kearney.
The level and intensity of consumer digital commerce engagement will continue to increase, the report revealed. And for those transacting online, consumers are increasingly using cards-on-file, both at individual retailers and third-party payment providers (e.g., PayPal, Visa Checkout) to conduct digital purchases.
The incidence of card-on-file being the primary payment method for digital purchases grew from 38% in 2015 to 44% in 2016. Strikingly, among those who keep cards on files with retailers as primary payment method for digital purchases, 44% have already have their payment credentials on file with more than five retailers.
In terms of consumer attitudes, a clear divide exists in the consumer market where 34% of consumers consider the use of their payment/purchase data to be "an invasion of privacy that should be prohibited.” A counter-balancing 36% of consumers see some benefit from data sharing, if appropriate consumer compensation is rewarded.
However, the study reveals that the following are of real interest to all consumers:
• The monitoring and reporting of data use by third parties,
• Usage-based compensation schemes to reward consumers,
• Clear industry protocols and standards around usage and data-sharing
Against this backdrop, banks are viewed as the payments and digital commerce provider most prepared to act in consumers' best interest. Among consumers who engage in digital commerce and are prepared to share their data, 65% rated their primary bank as a provider with whom they were comfortable sharing personal information. Banks' high rating compared very favorably to lower consumer ratings for Amazon (34%), Apple (22%), Google (17%), and large national retailers (10%).
Globally — most notably in the U.K., Europe and Australia — regulators have been pushing for greater control over data collection and sharing practices by banks and tech firms. While evolving U.S. consumer attitudes could lead U.S. policy down a similar path to the U.K., Europe, and Australia, in the absence of regulation, the banking industry could provide sought-after leadership to develop standards, protocols, and service offerings to address this increasingly important consumer issue, according to the report.
“Our research shows that a significant majority of U.S. consumers have serious concerns about the privacy of their data,” said Bob Hedges, lead partner in A.T. Kearney's global financial services practice.
“A level of frustration exists over the inability to act on their concerns,” he said. “With growing consumer interest in this issue, there is the need to both have the service solutions and the public policy in place that will help protect consumer data, while allowing consumers to share it in ways they want to."
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Nordstrom’s expansion into Canada continues
Nordstrom has opened its sixth location in Canada.
The department store retailer on Friday opened its doors at CF Sherway Gardens, its third full-line location in Toronto. The two-level, 140,000-sq.-ft. store follows the retailer's openings at Toronto's CF Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre last fall. The opening comes as rumors mount that the company is about to go private in a buyout deal. http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/nordstrom-edging-closer-going-private
The Sherway Gardens opening completes Nordstrom's planned expansion of six full-line stores in Canada. But the company will still be active north of the border as it turns it focus to its off-price division. It plans to open six Nordstrom Rack stores in Canada next year, including: Vaughan Mills in Toronto; Deerfoot Meadows in Calgary; One Bloor in Toronto; The Ottawa Train Yards in Ottawa, South Edmonton Common in Edmonton, and Heartfeld Town Centre in Mississauga.
Nordstrom at Sherway Gardens offers an array of customer services, including complimentary personal stylists and beauty stylists, a beauty concierge, 'Nordstrom to You' mobile personal stylist service, a cell phone charging station, and even classes for kids on how to tie their shoe laces. It also features a first-walker shoe fitting experience, on-site alterations and tailoring, certified shoe and bra fitters, and prosthesis services.
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