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Walmart opens office in Atlanta for East Coast business unit

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart Stores said it will open a new office in Atlanta, positioning the retailer to more effectively manage nearly 1,600 stores in 20 Eastern U.S. states and focus on opportunities to grow its business in such states as New York.

The new Eastern business unit will be run by Rosalind Brewer, president of Walmart East and EVP Walmart U.S.

The states in the new Eastern business unit are Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Navarro moves ahead with growth plan

BY Antoinette Alexander

MIAMI — Navarro Discount Pharmacies signed new store leases in Homestead and Pembroke Pines and plans to add as many as 21 new store locations to its portfolio over the next three years.

The company, which is the largest Hispanic-owned drug store chain the United States, now has 28 existing store locations, and has three new locations under construction with planned store openings within the next three to nine months.

According to Paul DiBrito, Navarro’s director of real estate and construction, the company’s growth plans include adding as many as 21 new store locations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties over the next three years, as well as remodeling up to five existing store locations annually. Three existing stores, including Hialeah Gardens, were remodeled in the last 12 months.

The 11,440-sq.-ft. Homestead store will target a Hispanic demographic that includes Mexicans. The Pembroke Pines store in Westfork Plaza comprises about 16,000 sq. ft. with demographics that include Puerto Rican and Venezuelan Hispanics.

In February, the retailer signed a lease for a new 14,000-sq.-ft. store in North Miami with such demographics as Haitian, African-American and Hispanic ethnicities.

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Research: Personalization of store experience is key to retail growth

BY DSN STAFF

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Personalization of the in-store customer experience will be a key objective for retailers over the next two years, according to two new Aberdeen Group reports sponsored by HP.

According to the 100 senior retail executives surveyed from such industries as apparel, grocery and department stores, 76% do not possess the technology tools or the business processes for executing Web, catalog or special orders from stores. This challenge is being fueled by rising consumer expectations of rich, multimedia in-store shopping experiences.

The research advised retailers to make customer-centric store improvements that utilize digital signage, point-of-sale systems and kiosks to further in-store product information, promotions, sales and service personalization for customers.

“To remain competitive and profitable in today’s connected society, retailers must be able to engage with consumers at all points of service throughout the shopping experience with real-time, personalized information,” said Ray Carlin, VP retail solutions global business unit at HP. “HP’s broad technology portfolio, consumer insights and partnerships empower retailers around the world to deliver a more alluring and differentiated customer experience.”

According to the Aberdeen reports, interactive solutions located throughout a store will play an increasingly important role in delivering a highly personalized sales strategy.

In other findings:

  • Forty percent of retailers reported plans to adopt digital signage to deliver the right message at the right time;

  • Twenty-seven percent of retailers will look to deploy interactive solutions that enhance audio and video communication, which in turn will help shoppers more easily find products and provide retailers with another chance to interact with consumers; and

  • One-third of retailers surveyed also are likely to invest in kiosks designed for customers who want to experience Web commerce and check inventory while inside a store, a key reason HP continues to innovate in customer-facing in-store technology.

According to the Aberdeen research, retailers that provide customers with this type of in-store activity — e.g., the ability to place Web or catalog orders in the store — are 1.4 times more likely to see higher than 80% customer satisfaction in stores, compared with retailers that do not provide cross-channel order capabilities in stores.

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