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Feb. 7, 2014 - Coming off a less than spectacular holiday shopping season, the retail industry is once again feeling the squeeze. According to USA Today, of the 29 retailers that recently reported earnings guidance for the current quarter, 25 of them were negative. Adding to the uncertainty is a recent report from Standard & Poor, which predicted that rising healthcare costs and low retirement savings will hurt discretionary spending in the coming year.

The worst news, though, comes from Deloitte, which reported that the number of retailers going bankrupt has increased over the past three years – rising 6 percent last year and up 18 percent since 2010.

For retailers, trimming costs is more important than ever. And when it comes to improving margins and profitability, procurement is always a good place to start.

In the last decade, full-service e-sourcing has emerged as an essential tool for maximizing the value of a retailer’s supply chain. Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser blog.

Feb. 6, 2014 - Celebrating excellence and creativity in new product innovation, the Housewares Design Awards announced the winners of its 2014 competition, including three "Best of the Best" Awards, the "Green House" Design Award, and 12 "Best in Category" Awards. For over a decade, the Housewares Design Awards has been the industry's preeminent design award competition, honoring products that elevate everyday life through superior aesthetics and functionality.

Read more: 2014 Housewares Design Awards Winners Announced

Feb. 5, 2014 - CVS Caremark announced today that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the U.S. by October 1, 2014, making CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers.

Read more: CVS Caremark to Stop Selling Tobacco Products at all CVS/pharmacy Locations

Feb. 4, 2014 - Umbro has announced it will be the official technical kit supplier and sportswear partner for Everton Football Club of the Barclays Premier League from next season. Everton will again wear the double diamond of Umbro from the 2014/15 season as part of a new five year partnership. Umbro will produce all on-pitch and training product for the men's, women's and academy teams, as well as training apparel and sportswear for both the first team squad and fans. 

Read more: Umbro Announces Kit Deal With Everton

Feb. 3, 2014 - Remember those bulky, flickering tube lights that adorned the ceiling of your elementary school? The distracting hum? The intense glow bearing down? Alas, these eerie fixtures didn't exactly create the ambience for long division mastery!

The truth is, proper lighting is crucial for workplace efficiency. Ineffective lighting can lead to poor morale, eye stress and fatigue. Finding the right balance, however, can be tricky – there are many subtle factors to take into account. Fortunately, a little know-how can go a long way.

When addressing the lighting in your place of business, always keep your task in mind – what works for some might not work for all. That being said, consider these useful tips for jumpstarting energy levels and encouraging productivity in the workplace. Read the full story HERE on the Retail Merchandiser blog.

Jan. 31, 2014 - Recent data breaches are front-and-center in the public consciousness, with retailers and banks scrambling to provide answers and customers worried about the safety and security of their accounts and identities.

However, while high profile breaches serve to raise consumer awareness, as well as retailer responsiveness, some consumers are using both reactions to perpetrate more fraud. With such widespread publicity, it is likely that thousands of fraudsters with no connection to the original data breach may take notice and exploit retailer’s willingness to remediate the situation.

This type of fraud – known as “first party fraud” – happens when someone uses a verified identity to enter a transaction or account application with malicious intent. Read the full story HERE on the Retail Merchandiser blog.

Jan. 30, 2014 - A new year always presents the opportunity to take stock of where an industry is headed, and NRF's Big Show in January certainly gives those of us in the retail technology space a leg up in understanding what retailers are thinking about, talking about and planning for in the year ahead.After a very busy week and many great conversations with senior retail executives, store managers, IT innovators, partners and more, it’s exciting to get back to work with tangible feedback about what retailers are challenged by, and what they are energized by, as the ways in which today’s consumers spend their dollars continue to evolve. Here are some of the key trends and themes that resonated:

Read the full story on the Retail Merchandiser Blog

Jan. 29, 2014 - Seems like not a day goes by without hearing news about technology changing the retail landscape in stores and online. Today is no different. Read on for snippets from a few of today's top retail tech news stories.

3dcart App integrates Amazon product ads into e-commerce platform - Today, 3dcart, a leading web-based e-commerce software provider, launched a new app with Amazon product ads integration for its more than 17,500 online store owners. The app will expose 3dcart merchants to a wider audience; Amazon product ads provides Amazon.com customers seamless access to products available on external websites.

Read more: Tech Wednesday - More Examples of Technology That Can Change Retail