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News Briefs

  • 7/12/2024

    REI Co-op promotes technology executive to CTO

    REI Co-op

    REI Co-op is staying within the organization for its new technology head.

    The specialty outdoor retailer REI Co-op has named Guillaume Ledieu as CTO, effective immediately. He replaces Dan Shull, who will depart the co-op Friday, July 12, 2024 for a new opportunity as chief digital information officer of toy manufacturing and entertainment holding company Hasbro Inc.

    Prior to joining REI in October 2023, Ledieu served as VP, business transformation at McCormick & Company, as well as in leadership roles at Glatfelter and Black & Decker. 

    “I am thrilled to announce Guillaume’s promotion to senior vice president, chief technology officer,” said Eric Artz, REI president and CEO. “Guillaume joined the co-op in 2023 as our VP of foundation technology and has already had an incredible impact in his short time here. In his new role, Guillaume will be responsible for all technology at REI - delivering on current and future member, customer and employee needs, and helping to create a more modern and efficient REI.” 

    “Since joining the co-op last year, my passion for the outdoors and my commitment to enabling the co-op’s mission have grown even stronger,” said Ledieu. “Joining REI was more than a career move; it was a personal project to be part of something bigger. I am incredibly excited about serving the co-op in this new capacity.” 

    Ledieu is assuming the CTO role as REI plans to open 10 stores this year, following a disappointing fiscal 2023 when it reported net loss of $311 million.

    [READ MORE: REI revenue, income fall in 2023]

    Headquartered near Seattle, REI Co-op had 185 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia as of Oct. 11, 2023. 

  • 7/11/2024

    Ikea tailors new e-commerce site for Spanish-speaking customers

    Ikea U.S.

    Ikea U.S. is trying to better serve the needs of Spanish-speaking shoppers online.

    The U.S. subsidiary of the Swedish home furnishings giant has launched a complete, in-language e-commerce experience for Spanish-speaking customers. The new platform is designed to allow Spanish-speaking customers to shop, learn about the latest news from the brand, and discover promotional information such as how to join the Ikea loyalty program.

    In addition to the new online shopping experience, Spanish-speaking customers can also receive support before, during, and after their Ikea purchase with a Spanish-speaking associate when calling the support phone line.  

    "We are thrilled to offer this new platform to our Spanish-speaking customers," said Jessica Santiago Byrd, multicultural marketing communications manager for Ikea U.S. "At Ikea, we are committed to creating an inclusive and accessible shopping experience for all our customers. With this new platform, we hope to make it easier than ever for our Spanish-speaking customers to shop with us and become part of the Ikea family."

    [READ MORE: Walmart expands online Spanish search capability]

    Discount giant Walmart also seeks to ease the online shopping process for its U.S. Spanish-speaking customers with an expanded Spanish language search capability on its e-commerce site. 

    The Spanish translation solution, built by Walmart Global Tech associates, uses natural language processing (NLP) to detect language, discern nuances and translate queries to deliver what the retailer intends to be a seamless, intuitive experience for customers. 

    Walmart initially launched an online and mobile search translation feature, which enabled U.S. customers to search in Spanish for commonly purchased items.

  • 7/10/2024

    Macy’s names new CIO


    The chief information officer of Macy’s, Inc. is retiring. 

    The department giant said that Keith Credendino will succeed Laura Miller as CIO, effective August 4.  Credendino, who is currently senior VP of technology product development and customer experience, will join the company’s corporate strategy group, reporting to Adrian V. Mitchell, COO and CFO.

    Credendino joined Macy’s, Inc. in 2022 and his efforts have improved the customer experience both in-store and online at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, the retailer said. He and his team was instrumental in the launch and ongoing support of the company’s digital marketplace, and they also put in place the infrastructure and technology enhancements to enable the redesign of and, evolved the wedding registry and launched online baby registries for both nameplates. 

    Credendino is currently leading the company’s checkout modernization efforts.

    Before joining Macy’s, Credendino was senior VP of digital technology & enterprise data at Inspire Brands from 2018 to 2022, a multi-brand global restaurant company. Prior to Inspire Brands, Keith was a technology executive at several organizations, including The Home Depot, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and Cox Enterprises.

    [READ MORE: Macy’s to close 150 nameplace stores; expand off-mall and luxury formats]

    Outgoing CIO Miller joined Macy's, Inc. in 2021 and built a high performing, agile technology leadership team, recruiting, retaining and developing talent to ensure the company’s future success, the company stated. She has been instrumental in modernizing technology systems, operations, and the company’s omnichannel digital offerings to enhance customer and colleague experiences 

    “The entire Macy’s, Inc. family wishes Laura well on her retirement and thanks her for the many accomplishments over her transformative tenure,” said Mitchell. “As our new CIO, Keith will continue to simplify and modernize our technology stack as part of our company’s growth strategy, ‘A Bold New Chapter.’“

  • 7/9/2024

    Wendy’s to enter two new European markets

    Wendy's is partnering with Oracle to automate its finance and HR processes in the cloud.

    The Wendy’s Company is focused on growing its brand across Europe.

    The quick-serve restaurant company has signed two development agreements with franchisees in the Republic of Ireland and Romania, supporting Wendy’s expansion goals to develop hundreds of restaurants across Europe over the next decade. Both countries are new markets for Wendy's, with plans to open restaurants beginning in 2025.

    Wendy's re-entered the United Kingdom in 2021, which serves as the foothold for growth across Europe. The company expects to see up to 50 restaurants in the market by year-end, with the potential to continue growing the brand in the U.K. to 400 locations over time.

    Wendy’s said it has significantly invested in local resources to support its growth across Europe, including a robust supply chain, regional operations teams and world-class marketing and creative agency partners. It is actively recruiting franchisees in European markets to help expand its restaurant footprint across the continent.

    “We are continuing our journey to become a brand of increased global significance, and Europe is a high-priority, strategic growth market to expand Wendy's presence internationally,” said E.J. Wunch, president, international for The Wendy's Company. “To accelerate our momentum, we are focused on building relationships with franchisees who share our ambition to grow and scale Wendy's restaurant footprint across the continent..

    Wendy's international presence represents 70% of the brand's planned expansion through 2025, with several incremental and accelerated commitments in place to rapidly expand the brand's global footprint.

    Wendy's and its franchisees operate over 7,000 restaurants worldwide.

  • 7/9/2024

    Private brands make record gains in first half of year

    grocery shopping

    Private label products reached new heights in the first half of 2024.

    According to Circana data provided exclusively to the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), private label sales reached all-time highs in both unit and dollar sales. As of June 16, unit market share was 22.9% and dollar market share was 20.4%. Total store brand sales for the six months were $121 billion, while national brand sales were $472 billion.

    PLMA says the improved market shares came on the strength of private label’s superior performance at checkout versus national brands. Private label dollar sales were up 2.3%, compared to a gain of 1.1% for national brands. In unit sales, the difference was even greater, with private brands up 2.5% and national brands down 0.8%.

    “These record highs in market shares illustrate the ‘Store Brands Phenomenon’ that’s sweeping the retail industry across all channels, departments and categories,” said PLMA President Peggy Davies.

    Results in the 10 individual product departments that Circana tracks for PLMA show that private label sales were up across the store in the first six months of the year. The beauty department improved the most, up 10%, followed by liquor (+8.8%), general food (+6.9%), home care (+6.8%), pet care (+5.8%), beverages (+4.3%), frozen (+2.9%), general merchandise (+2.2%) and home (+1.7%). Only refrigerated slipped, but it was a nominal minus 0.7%.

    Founded in 1957 with offices in New York City and Amsterdam, PLMA represents more than 4,500 member companies worldwide.

  • 7/8/2024

    Survey: 84% of shoppers struggle with search filters

    online shopping laptop

    Consumers often struggle to find what they are after when online shopping, leading to “decision fatigue.”

    According to a new survey from Software Advice of more than 5,500 global consumers, most online shoppers start their product search on retailer websites (52%), search engines (67%) or e-commerce marketplaces (46%). However, unhelpful search results, including sponsored, inaccurate, or irrelevant product listings make shopping more difficult.

    Over three-quarters (77%) of consumers regularly use search filters when browsing online. Still, users told Software Advice that filters are often incorrectly applied to products (45%), lack a helpful degree of specificity (44%), or are too sparse to meaningfully narrow product selections (34%).

    “This abundance [of inaccurate results] creates a frustrating experience that leads to decision fatigue, causing many shoppers to abandon their carts or avoid e-commerce sites with poor search functionality,” said Molly Burke, senior retail analyst at Software Advice.

    Despite their importance, consumers also noted having trouble finding trustworthy reviews, contributing to overall decision fatigue. Only 34% of respondents trust reviews made by social media influencers, indicating a need for more genuine customer reviews. A similar number of consumers (30%) say they start their product search on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

    Software Advice noted two key factors that complicate the online shopping journey. First, consumers are inspired by social media trends, but most make their final purchases outside of social platforms. Second, many retailers fail to incorporate trending social media keywords into their website, including search functionality and product information.

    “Retailers need to improve their discoverability on search engines while enhancing their own website’s search functionality to better match customers with products they really want,” said Burke. “Making reviews easier to digest helps influence purchase decisions and cuts down on costly returns.”

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