CSA - Jan/Feb 2020

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January/February 2020

More digitally native retailers go offline Renewable energy goes virtual Spotlight on New England centers

Top 10 Women in


Gaylord Texan, Dallas March 15-17, 2020

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12/20/19 12:43 PM

We Self-Perform!



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from the editor’s desk

tech viewpoint: a retail tech column



On the Level: A real estate column




Ten female executives making their mark in retail technology.

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Expert Opinion: Finding, delighting and retaining brand “superfans” should be a key priority of retailers in 2020. A look at three direct-toconsumer brands expanding in brick and mortar




Center Stops: New England Stops on this month’s tour: The SoNo Collection, Blue Back Square, and Evergreen Walk in Connecticut; Assembly Row, Market Street, and Cambridgeside in Massachusetts; and Tuscan Village in New Hampshire.

CSA (USPS 054-410; ISSN 0193-1199), is published bimonthly by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631, on a controlled basis to qualified retailer titles and architects. Real estate and shopping center owners and developers $75 per year. All other nonqualified $125 per year. $190 per year for Canadian subscribers; $275 per year for foreign subscribers, air-mail only. Single-copy price: $20. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL and additional mailing offices. P ­ OSTMASTER: Please send address changes to CSA, Circulation Fulfillment Director, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Subscription changes may also be emailed to chainstoreage@omeda.com, or call 847-564-1468. CANADA POST: Publications Mail Agreement # 40612608. Canada returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Vol. 96, No. 1, January/February 2020. Copyright ©2020 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.


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1/2/20 9:33 AM





Increasing premium costs, greater underwriter discipline cause some retailers to consider alternative ways to finance risk.





Renewable energy goes virtual with new power purchase agreements

Toys “R” Us makes retail return with smaller, more interactive store format




Vendor Q&A: Loomis’ Lenny Evansek talks about how retailers can apply leading-edge technology to improve better cashhandling practices.

Benchmark for commercial building energy codes in U.S. has been updated with focus on energysaving measures.

Vendor Q&A: ZipWall’s Jeff Whittemore discusses how to keep stores open and dust-free during renovations.


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Shoptalk: Featured stores include Canada Goose’s new experiential retail concept — no inventory but there is snow.




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12/18/19 6:55 PM



CEO Churn: Three on the Hot Seat As the new year settles in, so does the new crop of retailer leaders. In a retail environment disrupted and transformed by digital technology, all face their challenges — some more then others. Here are three who face an uphill climb in the months ahead. • James Marcum, David’s Bridal: Marcum took on a lot of baggage when he said “I do” to the nation’s largest bridal specialty chain in June, starting with a 69-year-old company that had become increasingly less relevant in its space. David’s Bridal filed for Chapter 11 in November 2018, and emerged soon after in a debt-for-equity swap. David’s kept true to its promise that the filing would not disrupt stores or customer orders, but it still had a negative impact and sales suffered. In November, the retailer reached a deal that significantly reduced its debt, helping it avoid a likely second trip to bankruptcy court. But David’s still faces big hurdles in a category disrupted by online players and changing bridal fashions and traditions. Marcum, most recently a senior operating partner at Apollo Management and with a resume that includes stints at Circuit City, Hollywood Entertainment, Stage Stores and Marshalls, is bullish about David’s prospects. He understands that the company needs to move quickly to align itself with today’s consumers and retail trends. Whether he has the time and resources to move the dial for David’s remains to be seen. • Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1 Imports: After joining the beleaguered home décor retailer as CFO in July 2019, Riesbeck was promoted to the top spot in November. He brought with him more than 25 years of leadership experience in retail and consumer goods — all of which he will need in trying to right a company that has been on

a downward trajectory and a bankruptcy watch for some time amid increased competition from online and the likes of Target and Walmart. A turnaround plan that seems focused mainly on cost reductions has yet to bear much fruit. Notably, Riesbeck is a bankruptcy veteran. He served as CFO of plus-size apparel retailer FullBeauty until its bankruptcy filing in February. And he was CEO of HHGregg when it filed for Chapter 11 in March 2017. • Mark J. Tritton, Bed, Bath & Beyond: Tritton took a big leap — and took on a big challenge — in November when he left his post as chief merchandising officer of Target Corp., where he built one of the most successful private-label strategies in retail, to join the struggling home goods chain. Tritton, who previously held executive roles at Nordstrom, Nike and Timberland is charged with turning around a company that has seen a three-year decline in same-store sales as competitors — old and new — steal market share. One of his first moves: cleaning house. In mid-December, Bed Bath & Beyond announced the departure of six senior members of its leadership team, including the chief merchandising officer, chief marketing officer and chief digital officer. The company called the move a “bold pivot” that reflects the priorities of Tritton, who is expected to unveil his vision for the chain in early 2020. Beyond its ailing and overstored namesake division, Bed, Bath & Beyond is saddled with an array of other banners. Activist investors, who waged (and largely won) a bruising fight with the chain last year, want the company want the company to shed its non-core assets and devote its energy to fixing and turning around the main ship. It’s too early in the game to say for sure that Tritton is, as one industry put it on hearing on his appointment, “just what the company needs.” But the general consensus is that Bed, Bath & Beyond has a better chance of righting itself with him at the helm.

Marianne Wilson mwilson@chainstoreage.com


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An EnsembleIQ Publication

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Publishers of Chain Store Age, Hardware + Building Supply Dealer and Drug Store News. Subscriptions/Customer Service: For subscription problems, call (847) 564-1468, email chainstoreage@omeda.com or mail us full details, including the mailing label from the last copy you received, along with your telephone number. Write to CSA, Subscription Department, P.O. Box 3200, Northbrook, IL 60076-3200. Address changes can be made online at chainstoreage.com/subscribe. Single-copy price: $20. Reprints: To order reprints contact Wright’s Media at EnsembleIQ at wrightsmedia. com or (877)652-5295. Minimum: 100 copies. Permissions: Materials in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. Direct permission requests to Gary Esposito, Publisher, Chain Store Age, 11-43 Raymond Plaza West, 16th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102. Contact Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 646-2600 or (855) 239-3415, or on the Web at copyright.com for immediate authorization to photocopy from Chain Store Age (ISSN 0193-1199). Editorial Calendars: chainstoreage.com. Back issues: (813) 627-6707. News Tips: Call Marianne Wilson at (212) 756-5261 or e-mail: mwilson@ chainstoreage.com. Letters to the Editor: Must include name, address and daytime phone number for confirmation. We re­serve the right to edit correspondence for clarity and space. Send via e-mail: mwilson@chainstoreage.com or via mail: Marianne Wilson, Editor, Chain Store Age, 11-43 Raymond Plaza West, 16th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102

Corporate Officers Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Dan McCarthy Chief Innovation Officer Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conference Ed Several



12/20/19 9:52 AM


Time to find, delight and retain your brand superfans By Jill Standish

Retail’s holy grail is customer insight that is timely, accurate and easy to use. In a landscape that is changing fast, the leading brands are those that can identify their highest-value customers and understand how to turn them into lifelong superfans. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that retailers are focused on hoarding new insights at this time of year. The shopping frenzy of November, December and January — marked by heavy store footfall and a flurry of online activity — creates a wealth of consumer data. In principle, this data helps retailers find patterns among their biggest spenders and is like gold dust for its ability to enhance day-to-day customer interactions. Nonetheless, the sheer volume of data available can quickly become difficult to manage. If they are not careful, retailers can overwhelm their business partners with information. For good reason, therefore, we are seeing automated real-time decision-making growing in popularity across the industry. By automating the heavy lifting, retailers are empowered to segment and target their customers more forensically than ever before. And so, as they gather customer data — while adopting the tools they need to make that data more accessible — how should retailers seek to unlock new value in 2020? Find the flavor of your superfans Some of the most valuable insight for retailers is that which paints a picture of their superfans and what they want. First of all, this means differentiating between the different flavors of customers who interact with the brand — financial superfans who show their loyalty by spending money, and social superfans who champion the brand among their network. To find the top financial superfans, retailers can analyze metrics like regularity

of spend and the ratio between paying full price and buying at discount. Meanwhile, social superfans can be found by analyzing social media conversations, online product reviews and shared posts. By delving into the data generated by these interactions, brands can understand what products their superfans feel most strongly about, which channels they feel most at home on, and how they respond to specific promotions and outreach. Moreover, if retailers can employ automation, they can take action before their rivals.

“Gathering the data is the relatively easy part. The real challenge is being able to analyze that data rapidly and translate it into ‘humanfriendly’ insight.” Innovate your outreach Simply knowing the who, what and where of their superfans is not enough: Brands need to cultivate and nurture them. How? They could consider refreshing how they reward loyal customers. If they “get” customers on a deep personal level, then traditional methods — such as a pointsbased program — may start to seem unambitious. Some brands are, for example, rolling out innovative new digital experiences. One approach would be an app for loyal customers that updates them when certain products are becoming available or are on offer and allows them to pre-order and pay using their phone or watch. As a result, customers benefit from loyalty points and avoid waiting in line at the store when the new product becomes available. In turn, the retailer gathers new insight into purchasing behavior, creating a virtuous circle.

Look to the next generation Retail today never sleeps. The most influential consumers of tomorrow are interacting with brands and are steadily growing in spending power. And so, the logical step beyond nurturing existing superfans is to start looking for the next generation and asking how the brand could satisfy their needs. If retailers can understand their superfans in depth, and anticipate how they will behave and respond, they can use social media and digital profiling to find “lookey-likeys” that don’t currently have a relationship with the brand but may be open to having one tomorrow. Similarly, it’s a question of finding occasional or moderate fans among the customer base and finding ways of turning them into superfans. Conclusion: The future has already happened Most retailers are still coming to grips with customer data and the opportunities that it presents for their bottom line. There is much work to do to reach full sophistication, but there is also no time to wait. As we set out in this article, gathering the data is the relatively easy part — the real challenge is being able to analyze that data rapidly and translate it into “human-friendly” insight. The hard work is certainly worthwhile. Through customer insight, the business can orient itself around superfans with the greatest lifetime potential, while delivering a boost to the bottom line that lasts throughout the year. As retailers look to 2020, they should ask whether their competitors could already be one step ahead. — Jill Standish is senior managing director and head of Accenture’s global retail practice.


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12/20/19 9:52 AM


Taking the Plunge: More digital natives expanding in brick and mortar By Marianne Wilson Direct-to-consumer companies are increasingly opening brick-and-mortar storefronts — either on their own or in multi-brand spaces such as Neighborhood Goods and b8ta — to give shoppers a more hands-on, immersive and personal experience with the brand while also leveraging the potential for upsell and attracting new customers. Here’s a look at several e-tailers that are going offline. • Saatva: The fast-growing online mattress brand has opened its first physical location — with more to follow. Located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side of Manhattan, the 3,300-sq.-ft. Saatva flagship, billed as a “Viewing Room,” showcases the company’s full range of sleep products, including its five eco-friendly mattress types (in all 11 comfort levels), organic cotton sheets and pillows, and designer bed frames. The space has a relaxed, calming feel, enhanced by a a palette of Mediterranean hues. iPads and information stations are located throughout to allow guests to learn more about Saatva’s collection at their own pace. Associates, or “sleep guides,” are available to assist and answer questions. Founded in 2010, Saatva aims to offer luxury sleep products at affordable price points. The brand, which delivers and sets up products in the customer’s home, said it intends to roll out more stores in major design centers around the country.

• Taft: The men’s footwear brand recently touched down with its first-ever store, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. Founded in 2014, Taft has amassed a strong following among athletes, celebrities and other influencers. The company’s shoes are produced in Spain and Portugal with textiles ranging from suiting wool to woven upholstery fabric to Charles F. Stead leather. Prices run about $235 to $350. After bootstrapping $20 million in less than four years, the company took on funding for the first time in July 2018 from venture capital firms and fellow entrepreneurs — NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Andre Iguodala invested in the seed round. Fifth Wall Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on helping digitally native companies open physical stores, is also one of its backers. The SoHo store has a relaxed vibe, with a curated blend of vintage and new couches and armchairs to make customers feel as if they’re trying on shoes in a friend’s living room. The focal point of the space is an iconic shoe wall featuring 48 of Taft’s most popular styles. • Everlane: A socially minded clothing brand known for its “radical transparency” continues to expand its fledgling brick-andmortar footprint. Everlane will open a 2,300-sq.-ft. store in spring 2020, at Boston Seaport, the largest


current development project in Boston. It’s one of a reported eight locations the retailer plans to open this year. Everlane was founded in 2011 as a directto-consumer brand selling modern basics for men and women, with a promise of “radical transparency.” On its site, the retailer discloses how much it costs to make each item, breaking it down by materials, labor, duties and transport. It also reveals its markup. The company is also transparent about the factories where its products are manufactured, taking a hands-on approach to ensure each factory’s integrity. As an added assurance, the brand audits its factories above industry standard. Everlane opened its first store in 2017 and currently has two locations in New York City (downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn) and three in California (San Francisco, Palo Alto and Venice). With no signage or mannequins, Everlane stores have a sleek, uncluttered look that’s in sync with the brand’s minimalist aesthetic. The stores are focused, bringing the company’s transparent values to life through in-store education about its supply chain.

Saatva 8

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12/20/19 9:53 AM




LEARN MORE AND REGISTER AT www.SPECSshow.com 8_CSA_2_20_NewConcepts.indd 9 SPECS2020_HouseAd_4PageSeries_1019_v2.indd 1

12/18/19 6:56 PM 11/1/19 3:47 PM


Top 10 Women in


Retail technology is a traditionally male-dominated industry. But in recent years, women have increasingly emerged as innovators and leaders in retail tech just as strongly as they have in every other sector of the business world. The sixth annual Chain Store Age “Top 10 Women in Retail Technology” report honor 10 women who are blazing a trail of success that everyone — regardless of gender — would do well to observe and follow. By Dan Berthiaume

Valery Ciarimboli

SENIOR DIRECTOR, E-COMMERCE OPERATIONS GIANT EAGLE During a 14-year career at grocery retailer Giant Eagle, Valery Ciarimboli, senior director of e-commerce operations, has served in executive roles in areas that include strategy, financial planning and analysis and real estate. In her current position, Ciarimboli has acted as the catalyst for Giant Eagle’s transformation into a retailer with a robust omnichannel customer experience. Ciarimboli is responsible for the design, implementation and management of the chain’s “Curbside Express” pickup and

delivery stations at more than 70 Giant Eagle stores. She also took the lead in introducing Giant Eagle’s “Scan, Pay and Go” cashierless mobile shopping service, which enables shoppers to scan an item with their smartphone, pay at a kiosk and then simply leave the store with their purchase. In less than one year following the launch of these omnichannel initiatives, Giant Eagle’s profit rose by more than $2 million. Ciarimboli counts the growth of Curbside Express, which launched in 2017, and its consistently high customer satisfaction scores among her proudest career moments. “Giant Eagle has a caring, family-like cul-


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ture,” Ciarimboli said in an interview published on the Giant Eagle website. “Helping the business transform from bricks and mortar to ‘bricks and clicks’ has been really fun!” Ciarimboli also had some advice for her younger self — advice that female retail professionals of any age could take to heart. “Go easy on yourself, and be more confident,” she said. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


12/20/19 12:28 PM

MARCH 15-17, 2020





Dynamic Keynotes ● Best-In-Class Content ● Women in Retail Reception ● Retailer Networking Reception ● “Breakout Retailer” Awards ● And Much More! ●

1,200+ 4,000+ ATTENDEES


SPECS brings together leaders from the nation’s top retailers and suppliers to learn, share ideas, develop business partnerships and solve problems across the physical retail space. Discover opportunities and ideas to stay ahead of the competition, and form meaningful relationships to elevate your business.

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12/19/19 6:56 AM

COVER STORY Top Women in Tech

Maryann Correnti

Correnti said. “Being a leader that who can bridge technical opportunities with business benefits is invaluable.”

Working as a professional services consultant is what made Maryann Correnti, chief financial/administrative officer of family-owned grocery store chain Heinen’s, realize retail held an appeal for her. “When consulting with retail clients, I realized how important IT was for a company to remain competitive and meet the continuously changing expectations of consumers and businesses,” she said. “Technology is critical to grocers who must operate efficiently because of the ‘tiny’ profit margins in the grocery industry.” At Heinen’s, which operates 23 stores in the Cleveland and Chicago markets, Correnti develops and directs a 70-person team in the areas of finance, IT, risk management and HR. Her IT responsibilities include securing customers’ personal information, personalization and managing online and in-store payments. She also is responsible for maintaining back-end technology infrastructure for functions such as product procurement/payment and financial processes. The implementation of a complete inventory management system to order, receive and distribute products efficiently to stores ranks as one of Correnti’s notable projects. “This was a major improvement from previously faxing orders, using clipboards and pencils for selecting and shipping product from our distribution center to stores,” she explained. “The team designing and leading this initiative while working with all stakeholders was key to a successful implementation.” Correnti recommends that women seeking success in the field of retail technology develop strong skills as both a businessperson and a communicator. She also urges female IT leaders to avoid dreaded “tech speak.” “Learn how to communicate in understandable business terms so others see the opportunity for new IT strategies for your customers, employees and company,”

Sally Gilligan



As CIO of Gap Inc., Sally Gilligan oversees the technology function, a group that serves as the engine driving retail, e-commerce and global enterprise technology for its customers. She has played an instrumental role in Gap’s ongoing and systematic migration of complex retail and financial systems to the cloud, as well as in connecting front-end and back-end functions for better operations and customer experience. “In my time as CIO, as an organization we have been focused on a transformation to modernize our legacy systems with a focus on enabling the business,” said Gilligan. “This is grounded in a cloud based technology transformation and modernized ways of working in a full Dev Ops product model.” Gilligan is a 16-year Gap veteran. Prior to bring named CIO in 2018, she held a variety of executive positions across the company’s supply chain, finance and operations functions. She also spent a decade in the management consulting field. “I was able to experience many industries and I also had experience in an incubator growing emerging technologies,” Gilligan said. “These experiences and my time transforming the supply chain to be customer-led gave me great insight into the impact technology can have on creating the optimal customer experience. As CIO, the opportunity to lead transformation to enable the business and customer was front and center for me.” Gilligan advises women seeking leadership roles in retail technology to embrace mentors, sponsors and advocates. “Each play a different role, and it’s important to understand those differences and find those connections to serve you in different areas of your career,” she said. “Also, be open to change


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and new opportunities. I’ve taken a few different leaps of faith in my career where I had to be open to making significant change, but it’s always opened new doors and kept me on a path where I’m growing as a leader and a person.”

Lyndsi Lee

VP, SUPPLY CHAIN, TRUE VALUE COMPANY Lyndsi Lee, VP of supply chain for home improvement retailer True Value Company, has two goals that are paramount to every project she oversees: to focus on the customer and deliver best-in-class capabilities while driving efficiencies. Recently promoted to her new senior management position, Lee is responsible for the end-to-end supply chain, including global sourcing, vendor selection, forecasting, replenishment and inbound logistics. Her achievements include overseeing a very broad optimization program for True Value’s 40,000-SKU supply chain which recently included adopting a hub-and-spoke distribution model and opening a 1.4-millionsq.-foot regional distribution center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Using advanced algorithms, True Value can anticipate demand to enable a high fill rate with low inventory. “With 12 distribution centers and more than 4,500 stores, we need the ability to figure out what to sell and where to deploy it, and account for seasonal whipsaws in demand.” said Lee. “We service customers at a rate above 99%, which is unheard of in our distribution space. Our competitors have fill rates at percentages in the mid-90s.” Lee’s advice for women in the retail IT space is to not only embrace change, but to act as a change agent. “Fight for a better way of doing things,” she said. “Don’t be a follower; challenge conventional thinking and don’t be afraid of failure. Learn from it.” JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020



12/20/19 12:32 PM


MARCH 15-17, 2020




Founder of The Corcoran Group, investor, author, entrepreneur, and TV celebrity

CNBC senior analyst and commentator, business journalist, author, and financial professional

KEYNOTE: Monday, at 8:00 AM

KEYNOTE: Tuesday, at 8:30 AM

A leading Shark on ABC’s Emmy-winning show Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran is much more than a TV personality.

As a senior analyst and commentator for CNBC, Ron Insana reports on the events and trends impacting the economy. He will delve into his three decades of covering business and economic news to provide a snapshot of the economic landscape, and what’s to come for business.

As the SPECS 2020 headlining keynoter, the real estate mogul will talk about her journey to create a $5 billion real estate empire from the ground up. Corcoran will also share insights about what it takes to drive growth and succeed in business.

LEARN MORE AND REGISTER AT www.SPECSshow.com 10-17_CSA_2_2020 WomenTech.indd 13 SPECS2020_HouseAd_4PageSeries_1019.indd 3

12/19/19 6:57 AM 11/11/19 3:32 PM

COVER STORY Top Women in Tech

Leslie Leifer

Jennifer Palerino

Sarah Rasmusen

1-800-Flowers.com Inc. is a diverse omnichannel retailer with multiple brands across flowers, gourmet food and specialty gifts. Leslie Leifer, VP of enterprise strategy and business development, brings a similarly diverse set of skills to her role at the company. “I didn’t pick my career, it picked me,” said Leifer, who has been with the company since 2006 and previously spent 10 years in technology and project manager roles at Thomson Reuters. She is also a member of global business community Remodista, serving on their Retail Committee, and was named to the organization’s 2018 “Qomwn2Watch list. Leifer’s responsibilities include leading Goodsey, a gifts marketplace brand that she and her multi-functional team developed and helped 1-800-Flowers launch in 2018. “In running Goodsey, my primary responsibility is ensuring every team member has what they need to succeed, such as marketing, creative, user interface, product, recruiting and legal,” she said. “I facilitate what they need to push forward day to day, while also retaining a strategic and holistic view of the business.” In addition to spearheading the launch of Goodsey, Leifer also took a leading role in building a unified e-commerce platform to support all of the company’s brands which include Harry & David, Cheryl’s Cookies and The Popcorn Factory. “It was huge endeavor for the company and for me individually,” she said. According to Leifer, women working in retail IT need to take control of their own career destinies. “Don’t get caught up in saying you don’t know how or they won’t let you,” she said. “Stop letting other people create limitations for you. If you want it, you can make anything happen. Stop listening to other voices.”

Jennifer Palerino, head of digital marketing for Kroger’s digital health-and-wellness brand Vitacost.com, came to retail technology with a winning attitude. “I have a background as a serious competitive athlete, so I love applying that same drive and will to succeed in business,” she said. “I fell into retail IT by chance, but once that initial door opened, I was totally drawn down this path.” Looking back on her career, Palerino is especially proud of pitching and creating an entirely new strategy for the digital marketing program at Vitacost.com, where she currently she leads the digital marketing team, including email, affiliate, paid search, display, shopping feeds, retargeting, paid social, push notifications, SMS text and print marketing. “I restructured the way we operated as far as data exchanges, setting entirely new goals and rethinking the way each of our marketing channels operated to achieve those goals,” she recalled. “The strategy shift resulted in a major positive momentum for our company — increased revenue, customer growth and customer engagement which continues to this day.” Palerino has won back-to-back awards for innovation marketing from Kroger’s digital marketing platform partner Selligent. Based on her experience, she has some advice to share with other women working in retail IT. “Work tirelessly to develop your team by helping them hone both their technical and interpersonal skills,” Palerino said. “Also test, test and test some more. But don’t just run tests to run them — know what your end goal is, and how you’ll implement the results in the future.” Her final piece of advice is more internally focused. “Go get it!” Palerino said. “Don’t expect career growth to just happen or to fall into your lap. Learn and educate yourself, know what you want to go after so you can go get it!”

Retail has always been a part of the life of Sarah Rasmusen, chief customer officer of apparel retailer Lands’ End. “My first job in high school was at a Mervyn’s department store and all through college I worked at a boutique,” she said. “I was probably the only person in engineering school with a Vogue subscription!” Although Rasmusen has been a catalyst in many successful projects in a career that has also featured executive roles at retailers including Kohl’s and Saks, her proudest accomplishment is her most recent — getting promoted in June 2019 to chief customer officer for Lands’ End. “Lands’ End has provided amazing customer service for the last 50 years — service that has become legendary,” she said. “It is not lost on me that no matter what cool tech development comes along, I must not lose sight that I’m now in charge of protecting Lands’ End’s most precious asset — its customer.” Rasmusen’s responsibilities include leading all customer experiences including core, retail, business-to-business and international, as well as driving strategies to enhance customer-facing capabilities across all Lands’ End selling channels. Rasmusen urges fellow women working in the retail IT industry to not let their focus on technology obscure the importance of a skill like communication in dealing with colleagues across different departments. “I loathe making a deck more than anyone, but I know that it’s forced me to hone my message and focus on what’s important,” she said. “I would happily spend my time in the weeds with tech teams. But building and practicing elevator talks have proven crucial to my career, especially with cross-functional leaders and teams.”




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1/7/20 8:45 AM


MARCH 15-17, 2020




Kelly McDonald

Robert Siciliano

Founder of McDonald Marketing, and author

CEO of Safr.Me

Author Kelly McDonald discusses how leveraging workforce diversity can lead to a more progressive retail culture. McDonald will also share tips on how to lead, motivate and inspire diverse teams, and explore the successes a diverse workforce can produce.

Security expert and private investigator Robert Siciliano takes a deep dive into how retailers can prevent potentially dangerous situations for employees and customers. Siciliano will reveal how to educate and inform front-line employees, managers and supervisors — and share specific steps that will help businesses create an observant and security-conscious company culture.

LEARN MORE AND REGISTER AT www.SPECSshow.com 10-17_CSA_2_2020 WomenTech.indd 15 SPECS2020_HouseAd_4PageSeries_1019.indd 4

12/19/19 6:57 AM 11/11/19 3:33 PM

COVER STORY Top Women in Tech

Bindu Thota

Cheryl Williams

Sue Welch

For Bindu Thota, working in retail technology is a highly personal endeavor. “Zulily does e-commerce differently,” Thota said. “It’s curation and storytelling, art and science, technology and humans. As a place to work, it’s very interesting.” Thota arrived at Zulily in 2014 following a lengthy technology career that included close to 20 years at Microsoft as a senior development manager and principal program manager. “I wanted to be closer to customers and experience what they do,” she said. “Ecommerce was fascinating at that time.” Thota still finds her role at Zulily, a billion-plus-dollar online specialty retailer where she leads a team of more than 60 engineers and product managers, fascinating, with people a big part of the reason. “My biggest responsibility is working with merchandisers, vendor operations and other tech teams,” she said. “I have a view that ties everyone together, whether it is non-tech teams to tech teams or one tech team to another.” Thota advises other women who are pursuing or considering a career in retail IT to make their voice heard, something she has always done. “You don’t need to be loud,” she said. “You need to be effective and present. Know now what you’re talking about and what you’re doing — why, how and who for. Once you have that clarity, you can make yourself heard.” Thota applies that clarity to her own success as one of the top women executives in retail IT today. “This is an exciting time to be in the retail technology space and to serve as an example as a woman in leadership role,” she stated. “I get to serve as a mentor and coach to both women and men. I’ve been given a good opportunity.”

As a nearly 25-year veteran of Wakefern Food Corp., Cheryl Williams has long focused on leveraging technology to improve the customer experience. “From our phones to our computers, and from our warehouses to our retail stores, technology is key, and it’s important that the division stays leading-edge,” Williams said in an interview with Path to Purchase Institute. Williams began her Wakefern career in 1996 as manager of retail systems, assuming her current position as CIO in 2016. At Wakefern, a retailer-owned cooperative whose members individually own and operate more than 260 supermarkets under the ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer banners, Williams oversees a multi-million dollar annual budget and manages more than 300 employees. She also collaborates with all of the cooperative’s supermarkets to improve their technology. Every store has roughly 35,000 to 40,000 SKUs, but as independently operated stores, each location features an individual assortment with unique pricing and promotions. Notable technology projects Williams has overseen at Wakefern include leading the launches the first ShopRite mobile app and the “ShopRite from Home” online pickup and delivery service. She was also instrumental in building the first iteration of Wakefern’s data warehouse and e-commerce site, which led to her being tapped to launch a new marketing department as VP of marketing. In the Path to Purchase Institute interview, Williams said women in retail IT should believe in themselves and their goals rather than give in to naysayers. “The advice I give people is work hard and don’t be dissuaded by people who will tell you (that) you can’t do it,” she stated. “A lot of people will try to take you off course. Go down your path and do what you want to do.”

Sue Welch is hardly a newcomer when it comes to being an innovator in the retail technology space. “I raised my first million from venture capital in 1987,” recalled Welch. “I sent a business plan to 25 venture capital firms and 24 responded. That seemed like a really good response rate till I realized a lot of them responded because they had never received a plan from a woman before and were curious.” Welch is CEO of Bamboo Rose, an online marketplace she founded in 2001 that enables retailers to shop for products from virtual supplier showrooms in the same way consumers shop e-commerce marketplaces. She has a long career history of thinking outside the box to solve retail problems. “I got into retail IT out of desperation,” she said. “I was a retail buyer and became head of sourcing at a multimillion dollar retailer. I kept trying to be more efficient, but we couldn’t scale the technology. There was no commercially available retail sourcing/buying solution on the market, so we developed one internally.” Welch went on to develop a similar proprietary solution at her next role with an offshore manufacturer, and then founded her first company, IMC, a vendor of software to track and trace imported privatebrand products from the warehouse to the store. IMC provided the first retail business software for PC users. Welch encourages women pursuing a career in IT to use their female perspective to their advantage. “They should maintain their social/visual/ community technology focus instead of adopting the traditional end-user case focus held by so many men,” Welch said. She takes pride in the fact 33% of Bamboo Rose’s executives and 40% of its board members are female. “Those are amazing stats in retail technology,” she noted. “We are working toward a 50/50 ratio, but it’s a good start.”




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Marketplace Trends to Watch in 2020 Lots of companies send us interesting studies and reports. Unfortunately we can’t use all of them. But I found myself publishing several reports from one new company this year because of the frequency and timeliness of its information. Placer.ai does retail center traffic studies based on information acquired from several suppliers of mobile phone and location data. This allows it to analyze traffic at individual centers and stores and deduce trends within a matter of days. At year’s end, Placer.ai’s VP of marketing Ethan Chernofsky furnished us with a list of trends uncovered in 2019 that he thinks will continue to have significance in 2020. We summarize it here: Mega-projects rise. The Boston Seaport established itself as one of the hottest retail locations in the country, according to Placer.ai. Hudson Yards is drawing crowds that compare to New York landmarks like the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings. Chernofsky’s take is that high-end retail centers in Instagrammable locations can still distinguish themselves. All store closures are not created equal. Store traffic analysis revealed that Walmart closed several Supercenters last year because they were located too near to other Walmart Supercenters and they were cannibalizing each other’s sales. Just like pruning bushes, pruning store rosters can bolster future health and growth for a chain. The brighter side of store closings. One dying brand’s demise can help spark

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a thriving brand’s rise. According to Placer.ai, Nike and Lululemon have been at the forefront of brands maximizing their offline retail potential by filling spaces left empty by the likes of Sears, Kmart, and Dress Barn. “Whether it be boosting direct consumer relationships, improving national distribution, or taking advantage of higher in-store conversion rates, the trend of product companies filling the retail vacuum is likely to pick up pace in 2020,” wrote Chernofsky. McDonald’s has got a beef. It was the year of poultry and veganism in the QSR sector, as evidenced by the nigh-on insane fallout attending the “Chicken Wars” pitting Popeyes against Chick-fil-A. Both chains profited, with Chick-fil-A’s dominance in the chicken segment growing ever faster and Popeyes enjoying one of the most successful new product launches of all time. Veganism began a dalliance with the fast food business, in which every major player introduced plant-based alternatives to meaty favorites. This old writer advises caution on the chances of the trend flourishing, however. I recall a product called the McLean burger, born of the low-fat craze in the 90s, that died a sudden death.

Here’s lookin’ at ya, New England! This month’s Center Stops tour in New England would not have been as enjoyable or as informative without the cooperation of Mike Powers of Tuscan Village, Seth Rappaport and Nicole Powell of Poag, Rich Arthur and Robyn Rifkin of Starwood, and Issie Shait and Debbie Black of New England Development. Future stops are scheduled for Texas and Southern California. If you know of a standout center in either or both of these regions, please share it with me at aurbanski@chainstoreage.com.

Al Urbanski aurbanski@chainstoreage.com @AlUrbanski (Twitter) JANUARY/FEBURARY 2020 CHAINSTOREAGE.COM

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New England Our tireless scouring of the nation’s highways and byways takes us this month to New England, where we encounter a gigantic mixed-use project rising up on the site of an historic racetrack, mixed-use centers bolting themselves on to existing urban centers, and something even rarer—a brand new enclosed mall. By Al Urbanski

SoNo COLLECTION — South Norwalk, Conn.

MARKET STREET — Lynnfield, Mass.

On a trip to Connecticut earlier in the year, we got into a conversation with a construction worker from Lynn, Mass., who had helped build WS Development’s Market Street center. He told us the center was always packed and that we most definitely should get a look at it. “Everybody in Lynn goes to Market Street,” he said. It was easy to see why. While its street parking configuration makes it difficult for shoppers to cross streets and avoid traffic in some spots, it is fairly crammed with retail, food & beverage, and entertainment options sure to satisfy every demanding millennial. Less about green spaces and more about retail choices, Market Street offers up more than 50 apparel and specialty retailers. A sampling of the menu: Altar’d State, Amazon Books, Apple, Athleta, Banana Republic, Carhartt, J. Jill, J. Crew, Kendra Scott, Loft, Lululemon, Pottery Barn, Southern Tide, Tumi, Vineyard Vines, and White House Black Market. Nearly 20 food & beverage establishments cover all the bases: Italian, steak, pizza, burgers, brewpub, and Mexican. A King’s Bowling Alley and The Rink, an ice skating rink sponsored by Capital One, are the entertainment high points. 20

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“This is pretty shocking,” announced the anchor on the local Eyewitness News broadcast in Connecticut last November. “Stores actually opened at a new mall in Norwalk.” Newly constructed enclosed malls, to be sure, are as rare as new Sears catalogs these days, but Brookfield’s spanking new take on this seemingly dated retail genre has at least the look of a potential breakthrough property The SoNo Collection, so named because it resides in South Norwalk, Conn., does a lot of things right. First off, location. Come around the bend on I-95 in this upscale town 30 miles east of New York City and the building’s striking façade fairly hits one in the face. Checking it out is simple, as both east- and westbound exits leave you at the center’s doorstep. Wall-art ensconced escalators adjoining the parking garage deliver one easily to any of the center’s three levels, which house 90 tenants that skew to the high household incomes of the neighborhood: Nordstrom, Arhaus, a Mercedes-Benz brand showroom, and a three-level Bloomingdales. Soon to come are a street- and indoorentry YardHouse and an Amazon 4-Star store. Another thing SoNo appears to have gotten right is interior ambience. Oval floor and ceiling cutouts between the levels bespeak elegance, and wide galleries filled with comfortable seating and workstations invite loitering by high-earners. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


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Getting off the South Windsor exit of I-84, it’s clear you have landed in Retail Central in the eastern suburbs of Hartford. There’s The Shoppes at Buckland Hills, Brookfield’s regional enclosed mall. There’s a stacked outdoor center and a Walmart Supercenter. We wonder if we’ve been led astray that Evergreen Walk was an established, successful, class-act mixed-use center. But past the Lowe’s on Buckland Road, we note a discreet sign for Evergreen Walk and take the left down a steep hill into a gully where the mixed-use center resides. With none of the surrounding retail in sight, the Poag-owned center exists seemingly alone, complete with luxury apartments, city streets, a town square, even a small “police department” housing its private security force. “You come down the hill into Evergreen Walk, and you feel as if you’re in an entirely different place,” said marketing coordinator Nicole Powell, who has been employed at the site since its opening 15 years ago. Many such centers have a hard time getting the parking right, but Evergreen Walk found the right formula. There are angled, front-in parking spots fronting the tony shops of Williams-


For more than 100 years, Rockingham Park in this New Hampshire town just 30 miles from Boston served as the metropolitan area’s premier racetrack. When the racing stopped there in 2010, a consortium attempted to put a casino on the site. That effort failed, and a local businessman named Joe Faro, founder of Tuscan Kitchen restaurants and a successful commercial foodservice business, decided to buy the 170-acre property. “You’re looking at two miles of frontage in one of the best locations in New Hampshire. It’s right off of I-93, which takes you right to Boston in 30 minutes,” said Faro.

Sonoma, Talbot’s, Scout & Molly Boutique, and many others, reminding one of the regal retail found in wealthy Connecticut towns like Westport. Additional parking sits behind and out-of sight of the center’s main street Evergreen Walk continues to expand like an organic town. A hotel is being added and a big box shopping center with LL Bean, Pier 1 Imports, and The Paper Store sits in a corner of the complex.

Simon’s Mall at Rockingham Park is located across the road from the site. With Boston’s population brimming with young professionals in the tech and medical industries, and rents rising skyhigh, Faro had the idea that a mixed-use project combining residential, office, and retail in a place with no state income tax would prove attractive to Boston residents and businesses. “It’s also the biggest piece of flat, developable land in all of New England,” added Mike Powers, who’s in charge of leasing the new project, Tuscan Village, most of which expected to opened in 2020. Corsa, a luxury apartment community, is already taking in tenants at the site, and a Market Basket supermarket is the first retail tenant to open. Other retail tenants signed by Powers include LL Bean, Old Navy, Ulta Beauty, Chipotle and Drive Custom fit. Faro will relocate his Salem Tuscan Kitchen restaurant to the site, as well. A natural lake on the property has been drained and will be enlarged to serve as the centerpiece of the town center, which will feature wide walkways and greenspaces. LL Bean will sit on the lakefront and be able to rent kayaks to visitors. The project will contain 2.8 million sq. ft. of gross leaseable area, 800,000 of it retail. “This is like nothing else in the region,” Powers said. “We will be complementary to what’s going on across the street at the mall, but we’re going to be much more relevant to the retailers and the consumers of today.”


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BLUE BACK SQUARE — West Hartford, Conn.

While Evergreen Walk succeeded in making a town square where there was none, Blue Back latched itself onto the actual town center of West Hartford. The clock tower of the old City Hall looms over the Starwood-owned property and—in a competitive pairing rarely seen in retail—the main branch of the town’s library sits across the street from Barnes & Noble. The three-square-block property owned by Starwood is, essentially, a 21st Century urban neighborhood grafted on to the torso of an old New England town, drawing baby boomers as well as young professionals to its wide offering of attractions that include a 36,000-sq.-ft. Crate & Barrel, Whole Foods, the Spaces shared workspace, Cheesecake Factory, Cinepolis, and World of Beer. “You see all age groups at Blue Back. A lot of local residents are here during the day, while the crowd gets younger in the evening,” said Robyn Rifkin, the general manager of the property. “A lot of young professionals live here in The Lofts, which contains 48 rental units.” Blue Back Square lands in the top 10’s of best places to shop in Connecticut in social network rankings such as Yelp and

ASSEMBLY ROW — Somerville, Mass.

Federal Realty teamed with this town on the outskirts of Boston to turn empty fields on the banks of the Charles River into a thriving urban neighborhood with luxury apartments above retail, a boutique hotel, and trendy restaurants. A giant Lego Giraffe beckons young visitors to Assembly Row’s Legoland, and a busload of them were disembarking the day we were there. Indeed, the streets throughout the development seemed especially busy for 2 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. Signage on street corners promoted events such as Black Friday, an Ice Sculpture Stroll, and Holiday Music on the Row. A quirky mix of retail includes outlet stores from Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, Lucky Brand, and Yankee Candle. A train stop in the development makes commuting to Boston easy. In keeping with the parking sub-theme in this report, we discovered an interesting feature of Assembly Row that we hope catches on at other centers: The first three hours in Assembly Row parking garages are free! 22

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TripAdvisor, often just behind or just ahead of nearby Westfarms Mall, the Taubman property that has long reigned as one of New England’s most successful shopping centers. Other tenants making up the well-rounded roster at Blue Back include the Harford Hospital Wellness Center, New York Sports Club, Bar Louie, Blo, and West Elm.

CAMBRIDGESIDE — Cambridge, Mass.

As we began our New England tour, so we ended it—at an enclosed mall. Not a new one like SoNo Collection, but one that is being renewed. After refreshing the interior of its popular mall that is the only retail show in town in this home of Harvard and M.I.T., New England Development is endeavoring to capitalize on the demand for office and residential space in Boston by turning the third floor of CambridgeSide into a workspace and affordable housing. The Cambridge City council has approved plans for 575,000 sq. ft. of new floorspace, 30% of which will be for “family-sized” housing units. “There is tremendous need for office space here,” said Issie Shait, NED’s executive VP of property management. “At the same time, retail is strong in this center because of the high traffic we get from residents and office workers in the day, but we felt two floors of it in a mall this size was adequate.” JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


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Tuscan Village LIVE. WORK. STAY. PLAY.


Located at Exit 1 right off I-93, just 30 minutes north of downtown Boston and 30 minutes south of Concord, N.H. Tuscan Village is a premier, 170-acre mixed-use destination featuring 2.8 million square feet of best-in-class programming, including: • 800,000 square feet of premium retail space

• 12 regional and national restaurants

• Over 1 million square feet of Class A office space

• Two premier hotels

• 950 residential units (for rent and for sale)

• World-renowned medical services facility

• 25,000 square-foot fitness facility

• High-energy entertainment district

Current and incoming partners include:

For more information, please email Mike Powers at mpowers@tuscanvillagesalem.com.

W W W .T U S C A N V I L L A G E S A L E M . C O M

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1/2/20 9:02 AM


Retailers Taking Alternative Insurance Routes By Mac Nadel Insured catastrophe losses hit a staggering $150 billion in 2017, making it the worst year on record. While this was seen as a wake-up call for insurers, property insurance pricing — which had steadily dropped amid a soft market for several years — was still largely inadequate to fund the more than $80 billion in insured catastrophe losses suffered in 2018. The message from insurers was clear: The relaxed underwriting standards and pricing flexibility that had become somewhat common was due to change. This has led to a new reality for many businesses, including retailers. While still-ample capacity means that there have been relatively few challenges in placing programs, increasing premium costs and greater underwriting discipline are driving some retailers and restaurant companies to take a closer look at their portfolios and consider alternative ways to finance their risk. Thirty percent of retail, wholesale, food and beverage respondents to the Marsh Excellence in Risk Management survey said they either use or have used alternative risk transfer (ART) solutions or plan to do so in the coming two years. And close to half of industry respondents said they could use alternative solutions to manage property catastrophe risk and finance hard-to-insure exposures. Captives: Captives were by far the most popular option, cited by 80% of industry respondents whose companies use or have used alternative risk transfer solutions, followed by structured and integrated risk programs. Captives are mainly being used to fund deductibles, while some retailers are leveraging multi-year single limit programs to cover excess catastrophe exposures. One retailer is looking at inserting its captive as a quota share player to reduce the overall premium increase on its program, which can also help as a negotiating tactic with insurers. The trend to seek ART solutions is more prevalent among larger retailers, many of which have millions of dollars in catastrophe exposures. Alternative solutions can provide

a way to finance risk more efficiently, while reducing volatility and creating opportunities to diversify risk management products. But there are obstacles for RWFB risk professionals, the most pronounced being explaining the benefits of alternative solutions to others in the organization, a concern voiced by 37% of industry respondents to the Excellence survey. STP Policies: A popular alternative risk transfer solution that has been increasing in popularity since the mid-1980s is a stock throughput (STP) policy for retail inventory. Traditionally a marine policy, STP allows organizations to insure their inventory throughout its lifecycle, whether it’s in transit or in storage. Close to 80% of Marsh’s retail clients are implementing STP solutions within their insurance portfolios. While some restrict coverage to inventory within their distribution centers and during transit, others extend coverage to stock in their retail outlets. STP policies have been gaining traction, especially as insureds started seeing increases in their property premiums. Although the STP market is also firming and insureds have recently seen increases in premium costs, marine policies tend to be less expensive than their property counterparts while typically providing enhanced coverage. Deductibles also tend to be lower, and usually come in the form of a fixed dollar amount rather than a percentage, making it easier for organizations to plan ahead to finance that cost. Higher prices, however, have led some buyers to reevaluate their existing STP structures in an effort to ensure the marine market provided the most efficient coverage for their inventory; in most cases, that was found to be true. Another potential benefit is that, like parametric solutions and some other


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alternative products, STP policies tend to have a more streamlined claims process due to a simplified evaluation. For insureds, this means they can get their insurance payout more quickly. And importantly, STP solutions can reduce the risk of interruption in coverage. Traditionally, retailers would have to switch between property policies to cover inventory while it was at a distribution center or in storage and cargo policies while the same inventory was in transit. Aside from the additional paperwork, this approach can carry a risk of errors leaving gaps in coverage. But because an STP solution typically covers the inventory irrespective of its location, it eliminates this potentially costly problem. While more sophisticated alternative products, like event-based triggers, tend to be purchased by larger companies that have strong balance sheets and the ability to make initial capital investments, STP solutions can be a fit even for smaller firms. However, it is imperative to look at these products well before a renewal date. STP policies require the same data and information that would need to be provided to a property underwriter. But it can take time to establish this solution as part of an overall insurance portfolio. — Mac Nadel is the retail, wholesale, food, and beverage practice leader for Marsh, the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


1/6/20 9:01 AM

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12/19/19 7:05 AM




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2020 – Three predictions for a New Year of disruption Well it’s 2020 all across retail — another year for me and you, another year with a lot of disrupting to do. Paraphrases of lyrics from obscure rock songs aside, a New Year full of technology-fueled change and transformation beckons for retailers. The core function of retail — providing customers with desired products at a profit — never changes. And brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going away anytime soon. But here are three predictions for disruptive technology trends I expect to emerge in 2020.

Securing customer trust During 2019, the sheer volume of retail fraud attempts and cost of fraud exploded. There is no Everything goes online The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to become reason to think the frequency of and expenses resulting from fraudulent attacks on retail will a much wider network this year as more applinot continue growing exponentially in 2020. ances, vehicles, equipment, fixtures, and other non-sentient items become “smart” web-enabled Criminals have a plenty of access points to devices. The phrase “universal connectivity” is gain unauthorized entry into retail networks often bandied about, but mass IoT-enablement and steal customer personal and financial of the general environment is the true embodidata. These include in-store POS systems and ment of the idea. payment card readers, third-party credentials, On the back end, retailers will benefit from hav- employee credentials fraudulently obtained via ing “smart” shelves, freezers, pallets, and other phishing emails, or even malicious “Magecart” fixtures and infrastructure that will automatically JavaScript that collects customer card data notify the appropriate personnel when somedirectly from a retailer’s e-commerce site. thing needs attention. This could range from a What will change in 2020 is retailers’ response warning that a cold storage unit’s temperature is to cyberfraud. The industry will finally realize getting dangerously high to an alert that an item that continuing with the status quo and crossing in the store needs to be restocked to a “smart” your fingers that the next big breach happens order for more products at a distribution center. to your main competitor isn’t enough. Look On the front end, IoT will automate customer for mainstream adoption of security solutions purchases to a previously unimaginable level. and techniques such as using artificial intelliSmart fridges can already place online orders as gence to detect unusual customer behavior and/ soon as a perishable product runs low, and IoTor network activity, biometric authentication, enabled scales and sensors can detect when other solutions that track code added to e-commerce items are running out and reorder them. sites in real time, in-depth security collaboration with third-party partners who have network Checkout is so 2019 access, and applications designed to detect 2019 saw numerous rollouts of “frictionless” inintrusions after breaches occur. store experiences where customers scan and bag products, tap to pay, and then instantly confirm checkout with some type of mobile code verification. While this type of “scan and go” shopping Dan Berthiaume offers much more convenience than waiting in line dberthiaume@chainstoreage.com


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at the traditional checkout queue, more retailers in 2020 are going to ditch checkout entirely. The most famous example of true “scan and go” retailing, where in-store shoppers identify themselves, scan the products they want, and leave immediately, is of course, Amazon Go. Cameras equipped with computer vision and facial recognition technology, as well as automatic sensors, keep track of the items customers take from shelves. When a shopper is ready to check out, they automatically pay with a registered credit or debit card inside the Amazon Go mobile app. Toward the end of 2019, Ahold Delhaize USA revealed it was piloting a similar checkoutfree format called “Lunchbox.” As the cost of computer vision, facial recognition, and other leading-edge in-store systems inevitably falls, the prospect of shaving off the seconds it takes to scan a code on a mobile device should be tantalizing enough for more big-name retailers to start testing checkout-free shopping this year.



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Cash and Carry: Automating Cash Handling Pays Off Cash is the oldest form of retail payment, but new technology makes handling it much more efficient. As the largest integrated cash distribution network in the United States, Loomis provides cash-handling products and services to retailers across the country. Chain Store Age had a recent conversation with Lenny Evansek, senior VP of SafePoint business development for Loomis, about the latest developments in cash handling and how retailers can apply leading-edge technology to ensure all their cash is present and accounted for. What trends can you see affecting the way retailers handle cash in 2020? Unemployment is at a 50-year low and wages are up 3.1% year-over-year. Anything to do with automation and reducing the need for labor and labor expense will be in focus in 2020. Retailers will continue to reduce or eliminate low-value activities, like handling cash and preparing deposits, and replacing it with automation. How can automating manual cashhandling processes improve retail operations? Consistency and transparency produce cost savings and efficiencies within operations. This is the ultimate goal of deploying automation. More specifically, by making the switch from manual to automated processes, retailers can significantly reduce error. At the same time, eliminating the need to manually handle cash frees up staff resources to be allocated to perform higher-level, more missioncritical tasks, maximizing the return on investment in employee salary. What are the benefits of using a smart safe or cash recycler solution? By reducing the time store associates and managers spend counting cash, building out cash drawers, and prepping deposits, retailers can instead keep them on the store floor, focused on higher-value activities like serving customers. This improves customer service levels and the efficiency of store operations. Other benefits that are harder to quantify, but very important, are keeping people safe

and avoiding the possibility of the bad things that can happen when employees take cash to banking centers. In addition to robberies, this can include accidents or even a dishonest employee engaging in some type of fraudulent activity rather than making the deposit in the correct manner. Why is it important that a retailer have complete visibility into their cash operations? Cash visibility is important for different reasons across different operating functions within a retail company. For example, the treasury department needs to reconcile store sales and deposits daily, while the loss prevention department needs to be able to identify and solve a potential theft issue quickly and resolutely. And the operations department wants to offer the highest level of operating efficiency at the lowest cost possible. Information about cash in a store can be just as important as the cash itself. Gaining access to deposit information right away reassures retailers that all the money coming into a store is correctly and securely finding its way to the proper destination. Furthermore, complete visibility into cash operations lets retailers know that their cash management technology is installed correctly and being used to its full potential. What features and functions should a retailer look for in a cash-handling solution? Retailers should look for a cash-handling technology supplier that can provide a bundled solution that includes the hard-


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ware, software, information reporting, armored car services, maintenance, project management and training. Procuring these pieces separately may at first appear to save money. However, in the long run, the time spent managing multiple vendors equates to poor quality and experience with higher cost. An optimal cash-handling solution should also offer secure, cloud-based data storage to help eliminate the risks associated with manual data capture and usage. While financial institutions and retail operators tend to think first and foremost about keeping their cash secure, confidential data is equally vital to protect, making cloud-based storage solutions one of the most important new security trends to consider. Ultimately, automated cash handling should enable retailers to improve efficiency and accuracy, while increasing profits in the long run. The right provider will not only help retailers stay ahead of the trends, but also offer a comprehensive approach that combines cutting-edge hardware and software with outstanding service and expertise. How can Loomis help retailers with their cash-handling needs? We help our retail clients understand their needs, goals and pain points around cash, create customized solutions to solve for these, and then measure and quantify their return on investment. Loomis has a dedicated team of sales professionals, sales engineers and product specialists to make this happen. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


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Titan • Under-counter smart safe solutions for low-to-highcash deposits • Peripheral add-ons available for customization • A great fit for QSR, convenience, and retail operations

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• A great fit for grocery, retail, gaming, hospitality, leisure, and sports and entertainment

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See our full suite of products at loomis.us/SafePoint. © 2019 Loomis Armored US, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Renewable Energy Goes Virtual McDonald’s, Walmart sign innovative agreements By Marianne Wilson Virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) are becoming an increasingly popular way for large-size companies to achieve their renewable energy goals. Unlike a physical power purchase agreement, where the company or a designated third party takes title to the physical energy at a specified delivery point on the electric grid, VPPAs are financial contracts. The energy doesn’t physically flow from the project to the buyer. Instead, it is sold on the wholesale electricity market at a defined settlement location, adding to the total renewable energy available to the grid. The buyer continues to get their electricity from their utility company at their utility’s rate. McDonald’s recently inked its first wind power contract as part of two large-scale virtual power purchase agreements. The company signed on to two Texas-based ventures, a wind project and solar project that, once online, are expected to add more renewable

energy (a combined 380 megawatts) to the nation’s power supply than any other U.S. restaurant company to date — enough to equal more than 2,500 McDonald’s restaurants-worth of electricity. McDonald’s portion of the two renewable energy projects will help to prevent 700,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The wind energy portion of the deal will amount to 220 MW and come from Aviator Wind West, part of the Aviator Wind project in Coke County. Developed by Apex Clean Energy, it will be the largest singlephase, single-site project in the U.S. The new agreements are in line with McDonald’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions related to its restaurants and offices by 36% percent by 2030, from a 2015 baseline. Walmart: Walmart is expanding its sourcing from wind energy projects in two different energy markets. The chain entered into an innovative agreement with Engie US

Wind, signing two virtual renewable power purchase agreements for more than 366 megawatts of wind energy in the United States through a single procurement process with the company. Walmart is purchasing 166 MW from Engie’s Prairie Hill project in Texas and 200 MW from the company’s King Plains project in Oklahoma, both of which are under construction. The energy produced annually by the two wind farms is expected to match portions of electricity load in Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers across the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and Southwest Power Pool markets annually. The deal is also expected to help Walmart achieve its objective of powering 50% of its operations with renewable energy by the end of 2025. The retailer reported in May 2019 that 28% of its electricity needs were supplied by renewable sources.

Building Energy Code Updated A benchmark for commercial building energy codes in the United States and a key basis for codes and standards around the world for more than 35 years has been updated. The new ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.12019 provides the minimum requirements for energy-efficient design of most buildings. It details the minimum energy efficiency requirements for design and construction of new buildings and their systems, new portions of buildings and their systems, and new systems and equipment in existing buildings, as well as criteria for determining compliance with these requirements. “This new version focuses on energy-saving measures which we hope will reward designs for achieving energy cost levels above the standard minimum and result in more efficient buildings and more innovative solutions,” said Drake Erbe, chair of the Standard 90.1 committee. The new standard contains more than 100

changes from the 2016 version, including numerous energy-saving measures. Some key changes include: • Administration and Enforcement: Commissioning requirements (in accordance with ASHRAE/IES Standard 202) were added to the standard for the first time • Building Envelope: The new standard combines the categories of “nonmetal framed” and “metal framed” products for vertical fenestration. It also upgraded minimum criteria for SHGC and U-factor were upgraded across all climate zones, and revised the air leakage section to clarify compliance. Changes to the vestibule section refined the exceptions and added a new option and associated criteria for using air curtains. •Lighting: Lighting power allowances for the space-by-space method and the building area method were modified. Lighting control requirements for parking garages were updated to account for the use of LEDs.


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Daylight-responsive requirements and sidelighting requirements were also updated. • Mechanical: New requirements were added to allow the option of using ASHRAE Standard 90.4 instead of ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 requirements in computer rooms that have an IT equipment load larger than 10kW. Pump definitions, requirements and efficiency tables are included in the standard for the first time. New requirements were added for reporting fan power for ceiling fans and updated requirements for fan motor selections to increase design options for loadmatching variable-speed fan applications. • Energy Cost Budget Method: Numerous changes were made to ensure continuity. The baseline was set for on-site electricity generation systems. • Both Compliance Paths: Clearer and more specific rules were added related to the treatment of renewables. Extensive updates were added to the rules for lighting modeling. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


12/19/19 7:16 AM

CHAIN STORE AGE -INJURY 2/3 Vert May Sept_Chain Store 12/17/19 9:11 AM Page 1

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12/19/19 7:16 AM


Toys “R” Us Reimagined Retailer returns with smaller, more experiential format By Marianne Wilson A reborn and reimagined Toys “R” Us has returned to the retail arena. Tru Kids, which bought certain intellectual properties of Toys “R” Us after the chain filed for bankruptcy and closed all its U.S. stores in 2018, unveiled two Toys “R” Us stores in time for holiday 2019, with one at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., and the other at The Galleria in Houston. The company plans to open additional locations in 2020. The reborn Toys “R” Us is more interactive, colorful and experiential than its former incarnation, with plenty of opportunities for kids to play with the toys on display. It’s also much smaller. The Paramus outpost is about 6,000 sq. ft. compared to a traditional Toys “R” Us, which averaged some 40,000 sq. ft. For all its differences with the older format, the new Toys “R” Us retains some signature elements, including its longtime mascot. Upon entering, shoppers are greeted by a giant plush version of Geoffrey the Giraffe. A series of steps — imprinted with the lyrics of the iconic jingle “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m A Toys “R” Us Kid” — lead to the store’s centerpiece: a Geoffreythemed treehouse and play area where a 3D virtual Geoffrey comes to life and mimics a visitor’s movement via a “magic” mirror. The reborn Toys “R” Us also includes an event space with a rotating schedule of programmed events, including product demonstrations and launches, author visits and character meet-and-greets. “With the return of Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S., we are bringing a highly engaging, experience-driven retail destination that

celebrates play and deepens the connection between the world’s best toy, play and entertainment brands and customers,” said Richard Barry, president and CEO, Tru Kids, and former global chief merchandising officer at Toys “R” Us. The new Toys “R” Us stores are a joint venture between Tru Kids and experiential retailer (and tech-platform provider) B8ta, whose stores feature a variety of high-tech devices and gadgets from mostly emerging brands. Toys “R” Us is using B8ta’s business model. All sales revenue goes back to the brand, which, in turn, pays Toys “R” Us for shelf space. The Paramus store features about 40 brands and is laid out into different sections of play based on brands. The assortment is lean compared to the Toys “R” Us of old, where merchandise was stacked high on endless rows of shelving and racks. But interactive kiosks are available throughout


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the store, allowing customers to browse and purchase a deeper assortment of product through Toys “R” Us’ new website. Some of the brands have dedicated anchor spaces with hands-on play experiences. Here’s a sampling: • Hasbro’s offering includes a Nerf shop and a dedicated HasbroGames shop along with a curated selection of popular Hasbro products. • Kids can build their creations at an interactive play table in Lego Group’s space. They can also snap a photo with life-size Lego models. • In the Nintendo shop, shoppers can demo hot titles on play tables or on a large screen display. • Spin Master’s shop is focused on preschool TV hit Paw Patrol and features an interactive 4-ft. tall lookout tower. There is also an immersive, hands-on Kinetic Sand experience. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


12/19/19 7:17 AM


Keeping Stores Open — and Dust Free — During Renovations

Keeping retail doors open for business as usual during renovation activity is a priority for most retailers. It can also be challenging as the merchandise has to remain dust-free and customers need to be inconvenienced as little as possible. Jeff Whittemore, president and founder of ZipWall, discusses how the ZipWall dust-barrier system can help stores and restaurants operate as normally as possible even under extensive renovations.

What is the biggest mistake retailers make when it comes to remodeling and renovations? The biggest mistake is probably using old methods to try and isolate the work area, such as building temporary walls with 2x4s, using ceiling hangers and/or taping up plastic sheeting. These methods are extremely time consuming, are not easy to put up or take down and can damage existing surfaces. In addition, tape often fails, allowing dust to escape and requiring additional time to re-apply it. Why is dust control so important? Dust control is especially critical in retail environments. It’s needed to protect the health of employees and customers and to prevent damage to inventory. And it’s also key to protecting food and prep surfaces in restaurants from contamination. Dust control also eliminates the need for constant cleaning as renovation work goes on. How is ZipWall positioned in the market? ZipWall invented the spring-loaded, telescoping dust barrier pole more than 20 years ago and to this day, dust barriers are our only business. In addition to the poles, our product line includes self-adhesive zippers and magnetic door kits to create entryways in the barrier and accessories to seal off doorways and form tight seals at the ceiling, floor and walls. We also offer sticky mats to prevent the tracking of dust out of the work area, door kits to quickly seal off existing doorways and an attachment to guide a negative-air duct through a barrier.

For large projects, we have a technical field representative available who can consult on the ZipWall products needed for the specific job and/or proper set-up. How does ZipWall help stores stay open during a renovation and why is that important? The ZipWall System isolates the work area, minimizing the impact of renovations on the operation. ZipWall is fast and easy to put up and take down, so it can even be used for overnight work where a barrier needs to be put in place when the store closes and removed at opening time. Remaining open with ZipWall results in uninterrupted revenue flow and no inconvenience for your customers. Is the ZipWall Dust Barrier System easy to set up? ZipWall spring-loaded, telescoping dust barrier poles can be set up in minutes without ladders, tape or damage to surfaces. A barrier can be created using plastic sheeting or opaque, eco-friendly ZipFast Reusable Barrier Panels. Poles are available in 10-ft., 12-ft., and 20-ft. heights. Beside the poles and barrier material, accessories can be used, as needed, to seal around the barrier. All components are designed to be used with each other, creating a complete dust barrier system. Can it be used in any type of retail setting? Yes. If the ceiling of the space doesn’t exceed the height of the tallest ZipWall pole, which is 20 feet, a barrier can be

built as wide as needed by simply adding more poles. Can store employees enter and exit the barrier? Yes, using ZipWall self-adhesive zippers or our hands-free magnetic door. What is the biggest benefit that ZipWall provides retailers? ZipWall’s biggest benefit is allowing a retailer to remain open during a renovation by protecting customers, employees and inventory from dust contamination while shielding the job site from the view. ZipWall also speeds up the renovation process because it allows different trades to work concurrently by creating phased work zones where dust from one area is kept out of others. For example, demolition can be taking place in one area, while drywall can be done in another, finish work carpentry in another, and painting in another. To sum it up, the ZipWall Dust Barrier System allows retailers to operate as normally as possible while even extensive renovations are taking place and to return to completely normal operation as quickly as possible. What trends are you seeing in retail remodeling activity? We are definitely seeing an uptick in the use of ZipWall during store renovations. We’ve seen repeat purchases from contractors doing renovations in all types of retail environments, including department stores, drug stores, restaurants and specialty stores. Retailers using ZipWall usually want to keep their stores open while work is being done.


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12/19/19 7:18 AM


Canada Goose

Trending stores: Canada Goose is taking experiential retail to new heights, with a multi-sensory, inventory-free concept designed to immerse shoppers in the sights, sounds and spirit of the outdoors. Located at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto, the store features the next-gen version of the brand’s “Cold Room,” where customers test jackets under frigid conditions. In the new outpost, the room is not only freezing but is enhanced with real snow and floor-to-ceiling Arctic landscapes, with original films about the cold and nature are projected on



the walls. To enter the store, shoppers step through a two-story glacier façade and, once inside, walk through “the crevasse,” which features digital displays of rock faces on both entryway walls and OLED panels under glass flooring that simulate the sound of cracking ice when walked on. With no inventory, shoppers can try on product and order items for same-day home delivery. …. Starbucks Coffee Company opened its largest location yet, a five-floor, 35,000-sq.-ft. store in Chicago. The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery, housed inside Crate & Barrel’s former flagship on Michigan Avenue, has three coffee bars, a cocktail bar and a bakery/cafe. It’s also a working coffee roastery. The centerpiece of the space is a towering 56-ft.-tall steel and aluminum cask where coffee beans rest and are de-gassed after being roasted. Encircling the cask is a curved escalator that goes from the first to the second floor, offering a 360-degree tour of the roasting, brewing and other activity below. …. There’s a lot more to do at Lululemon’s new store at Mall of America than just shop. The 19,700-sq.-ft. space (second in size only to its Chicago flagship) features a broad assortment of product for women and men along with studios for yoga and workout classes and a café serving healthy food and beverages. Showers and other amenities are available in the men’s and women’s locker rooms. In addition to the regularly scheduled workout classes, the store offers a variety of events built around a quarterly theme, including panel discussions, movies and concerts. Similar to the Chicago flagship, studio customers can wear select Lululemon workout items to give the product a try before buying an unworn version of the item. … Swarovski has brought its new retail format stateside, opening its first U.S. “Crystal Studio” location, at South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, Calif. Combining brick-and-mortar and virtual elements, the concept is designed to provide an interactive, socially focused shopping experience. The heart of the space is the “Sparkle Bar,” where customers can discover new products, curate their own unique looks with help from store associates and review product ranges virtually. The mirrors are equipped with variable lighting settings. Digital screens offer styling inspiration from Swarovski’s online community of influencers.

People Updates:






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Joe Nevin has joined multidimensional brand experience firm Big Red Rooster as senior VP, development. Previously, Nevin was the founding principal of the retail division of Bergmeyer, Boston. In 2018, Nevin was inducted into the Retail Design Institute’s Legion of Honor. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020



12/19/19 7:19 AM


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