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Walmart talks omni-channel on Q2 call; testing site-to-store lockers

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Walmart is expanding its omni-channel integration by testing the use of lockers to fill online orders, company officials said during the chain’s second-quarter earnings call on Thursday.

“While this test is still in the early stages, the initial read on customer satisfaction and acceptance is very encouraging, with 90% of the customers who have used the service providing positive feedback,” Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during the call.

The test is taking place in Washington, D.C., where the chain is on track to open three stores. But three additional planned locations are on hold pending the mayor’s decision to sign or veto a bill passed by the city council that would require big-box retailers to pay a minimum of $12.50 an hour.

Walmart has been vehement in its opposition to the “Living Wage” bill.

Simon said Wal-Mart views its physical stores as a significant competitive advantage for its Walmart.com business. In the past quarter the chain has expanded its “Ship from Store” program, and an increasing percentage of all items shipped to customers’ homes are now fulfilled through the program, with most orders delivered in two days or less.

Neil Ashe, CEO of Walmart Global e-Commerce, said on the call that the company is continuing to invest in its global technology platform. He also discussed Walmart’s “Pick Up Today” program, which offers customers same-day, in-store pick-up of select items. Ashe said the chain has more than tripled the items available in the program since the beginning of the year.

“We have also developed a new capability that automatically searches our broader inventory for an item if that item is not available in a customer’s primary store. That has significantly improved our fill rate,” Ashe said during the call.

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Census Bureau: U.S. e-commerce sales near $65 billion in Q2

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — U.S. retail e-commerce sales for second quarter 2013, adjusted for seasonal variation, but not for price changes, totaled $64.8 billion, an increase of 4.9% from first quarter 2013. According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, this figure represented an 18.4% jump from U.S. commerce sales in second quarter 2012.

E-commerce sales in the second quarter of 2013 accounted for 5.8% of total U.S. retail sales of close to $1.13 trillion. Total retail sales grew 0.9% quarter-over-quarter and 4.7% year-over-year.

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Jan-22-2014 02:56 pm

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Versatile reshuffles executive leadership team

BY CSA STAFF

Vancouver-based Versatile Systems announced that Robert Joyce has resigned as a director and officer of Versatile and all its subsidiary companies. Joyce will continue working with the company as a consultant, and will assist in the management transition process.

Versatile also appointed Kenneth Kahn as president of Versatile Systems Inc. and its subsidiaries. Kahn was most recently EVP and global brand officer for Mood Media.

"Bob’s vision led to an enhanced strategic focus on the companies IP based products, which has provided the foundation for future growth," said John Hardy, CEO of Versatile. "While Bob has elected to leave the business to pursue new interests, I am very pleased that he will continue to actively assist Versatile. I would like to thank Bob for his many years of service and commitment to the company."

"I am deeply committed to enhancing Versatile’s operations and focusing the organization on key growth initiatives," said Kahn. "I intend to direct Versatile on a path to a profitable, growing company that delivers on its promise of turning data into knowledge, anytime, anywhere."

According to Versatile, its business solutions enable companies to improve sales, marketing and distribution of their products. Versatile also provides information technology services for the implementation, maintenance and security of mission-critical computer environments. Versatile has the ability to architect solutions involving both proprietary and third-party components.

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