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Crate and Barrel puts mobile BI in associates’ hands

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The best way to drive a top-notch in-store experience is to give associates insight into as many real-time data sources as possible.

Crate and Barrel is improving its shopping experience with a mobile business intelligence (BI) solution that gives store-level associates immediate access to consumer trends, supply-and-demand, inventory and sales, among other metrics. The chain switched to the MicroStrategy 10 platform so business users can gain real-time access to BI tools, even while they speak with customers in stores.

The chain is currently adding the solution to power its analytics and mobility applications, beginning with its store operations, finance, and planning and allocation departments. Overall, the chain is putting the mobile analytics tools in the hands of executives, merchants, analysts and store managers in 170 Crate and Barrel stores throughout the United States.

“Because MicroStrategy 10 gives us mobile functionality, real-time data access, and self-service features at enterprise scale, we can fundamentally change business reporting and the customer shopping experience for the better,” said Mike Relich, COO, Crate and Barrel.

Store and field managers will access the BI tool via tablet apps, “giving store associates inventory and sales data precisely when customers need it,” he added. “At an enterprise level, MicroStrategy 10 also moves our organization away from static reporting, with real-time, self-service tools to unlock strategic insights.”

Crate and Barrel’s business users can also create reports on demand. For example, they can quickly access intuitive and timely reports, and mine data for insights. Additionally, store and field managers can have more impactful conversations with employees by accessing real-time data on their mobile devices.

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Dollar General enters new territory

BY Marianne Wilson

The ever-expanding Dollar General has entered its 44th state.

The discounter opened a store in Hankinson, North Dakota. The company plans to open six additional locations in the state through spring 2017.

“Celebrating today’s grand opening in North Dakota is very exciting for Dollar General,” said Todd Vasos, CEO, Dollar General, which operates more than 13,200 stores. “This is an important milestone for Dollar General as we expand into our 44th state and build our presence in the upper Midwest.

Dollar General recently announced plans to open 1,000 stores and two distribution centers in 2017.

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Report: E-commerce giant eying intimate apparel

BY Marianne Wilson

Watch out Victoria’s Secret — Amazon is moving onto your turf.

The online retail giant plans to launch a line of inexpensive bras in the United States, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The bras will be priced around $10, according to the report, which is significantly lower than the bras sold by Victoria's Secret and other lingerie retailers.

Amazon has already begun selling bras in Europe at a $10 price point under the Iris & Lilly label.

The company has been quietly expanding in the fashion-apparel category with its own in-house lines, including a women’s label, a kids clothing line, and a men’s buttoned-down shirt brand. It is reportedly working on an athleisure line.

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