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Macy’s planning for a ‘strong’ holiday

BY Marianne Wilson

Macy’s holiday hiring plans are on track with last year, although it is increasing seasonal workers in a fast-growing area of its business.

The department store giant said Wednesday it will hire 80,000 seasonal workers as it looks to a “strong and successful” holiday shopping season. While stores (Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s) still account for a majority of the hires, approximately 23,500 of the 80,000 total seasonal positions this year will be based in direct-to-consumer fulfillment facilities. This is 5,500 more positions than were hired for this area than in 2017, reflecting the growth of Macy’s omnichannel business strategy.

In addition, approximately 1,500 workers will be hired to interact with customers via telephone, email and online chat at customer service centers, and another 1,000 people will be hired across the country to support the 92nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santalands and other iconic holiday events.

“Seasonal colleagues play an especially important role in the Macy’s holiday shopping experience, whether in a store, a fulfillment or distribution center or in a call center,” said John Harper, chief stores officer, Macy’s. “We’re thrilled to offer seasonal colleagues flexibility, competitive hourly income and a merchandise discount. Additionally, the majority of our colleagues, full-time, part-time and seasonal, are eligible for our Path to Growth Incentive in 2018.”

Under the Path to Growth incentive, seasonal workers have chance to be eligible for bonuses if certain sales targets are met.

Macy’s will hold its national hiring event for the year on Thursday, Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., in local time zones. Applicants who are able to attend the hiring event are encouraged to visit all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s Backstage stores, as well as the company’s call centers and distribution and fulfillment centers.

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Burger King uses cloud platform to strengthen global supply chain

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A fast-food giant is banking on cloud-based applications to support its global supply chain, and keep operating expenses in check.

Burger King is extending its long-time partnership with SAP, and adding the company’s cloud-based procurement applications and business network. The combination will create a digital network that will more efficiently manage company spending throughout its supply chain.

Burger King is kicking off the project in Korea, where it added SAP’s business suite (S/4HANA) comprised of an operational database system and cloud-based computing platform, as well as SAP’s cloud-based procurement and supply chain platform. Using the solutions together, the company can quickly draw meaningful insights from its supply chain data, and use this information to make more intelligent decisions that will “propel their businesses forward,” according to SAP.

With the solutions installed, Burger King now has a single, integrated platform that will consolidate and control spending across all major categories, including direct, indirect and logistics to contingent labor and services, travel and capital expenditures. With analysis and insights into company-wide spending, the company is also primed to make better buying decisions.

Employees can use the digital platform to buy what they need, and stay in line with company policies. Meanwhile, real-time data enables users to transition payables from liabilities into strategic assets, a move that will boost cash flow, free up working capital, and deliver more bottom-line value.

The digital platform will also enable the company to better manage supplier relationships information, lifecycle, performance, and risk all in one place. It will also create a digital conduit to transact with qualified suppliers to support cost objectives, and align with corporate sustainability goals and ethical standards. This real-time collaboration will also enable Burger King to negotiate savings and make sure those savings are realized, SAP reported.

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NRF: Tariff ‘wild card’ threaten retail imports

BY Marianne Wilson

The threat of escalating tariffs is putting a damper on the otherwise healthy retail marketplace and has caused retailers to up their import orders.

Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports are expected to remain strong this month after setting three new records this summer, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“More tariffs could come any day, and retailers have been bringing in record amounts of merchandise ahead of that in order to mitigate the impact on their customers,” said NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retail sales are growing stronger than expected this year thanks to tax cuts and job creation, but tariffs are the wild card that threaten to throw away a significant portion of those benefits.”

The current boom in shipping can primarily be explained by importers’ response to the U.S. trade war with China, according to Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett.

“Consumers appear to be spending money on goods ahead of the tariff price increases that will eventually come,” he said. “But there could be a rocky road ahead as the impact of tariffs begins to be more fully felt.”

Ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (a TEU is one 20-ft.-long cargo container or its equivalent).

In July, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 2.8% from June and up 5.6% year-over-year.
August was estimated at 1.92 million TEU, up 4.8% year-over-year. September is forecast at 1.83 million TEU, up 2.4%; October at 1.88 million, up 5%; November at 1.79 million TEU, up 1.7%, and December also at 1.79 million TEU, up 3.6%.

August was the third month in a row to set a new record for the number of containers imported during a single month, following July’s 1.9 million TEU and June’s 1.85 million TEU. The previous record of 1.83 million TEU was set in August 2017.

The first half of 2018 totaled 10.3 million TEU, an increase of 5.1% over the first half of 2017. The total for 2018 is expected to reach 21.4 million TEU, an increase of 4.4% over last year’s record 20.5 million TEU.

Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Jacksonville on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast.

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