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Retail briefs

Wal-Mart bullish on EPCs

After 18 days, Wal-Mart claimed success in its initial rollout of electronic product codes (EPCs).

"To date, no glitches — only positive glimpses of what's to come," said Linda Dillman, executive vice president and chief information officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "During this test phase, we're experimenting with various tag types and tag placements to see how they impact readability on various products in a non-laboratory environment.

"We want to make this information available to our suppliers early on, so that they can incorporate it into their efforts to meet the readability goals we've established," she continued. "From the start, we will be targeting 100 percent readability of pallets at dock doors and 100 percent readability of cases on our distribution-center conveyor systems."

Wal-Mart launched its initial implementation on April 30 in the North Texas area. Cases and pallets of 21 products from eight suppliers are being shipped to Wal-Mart's Sanger, Texas, distribution center and then to seven local supercenters with radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags attached. This technology allows retailers greater visibility in monitoring product inventory from supplier to distribution center.

Sears installs price-check technology

Sears, Roebuck and Co. has deployed an in-store price-check solution based on the Symbol MK 2000 Micro Kiosk from Symbol Technologies, Inc. that enables customers to self-scan items to verify prices.

Sears is featuring the technology at its approximately 870 full-line stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Pedestal, pole or wall-mounted with a touch screen, the Symbol MK 2000 acts as an information station. By allowing shoppers to self-check the price of an item within an aisle, Sears hopes to speed the checkout process. By reducing the volume of price checks at checkout, Sears hopes for productivity gains, as fewer items need to be restocked, stated the company.

"At Sears, we are focused on our customers. The Symbol MK 2000's inherent computing intelligence and intuitive interface easily lets shoppers access the information they need, quickly and effectively," said Mike LeRoy, Sears director of retail systems. "The Symbol MK 2000 is yet another way Symbol is helping us offer customers an enhanced shopping experience and driving customer loyalty."

Overstock raises $36 million in stock offering

Overstock.com, Inc. last week closed its auction-based underwritten public offering of 1.2 million shares of common stock at a price of $30.50 per share.

The offering was made under the company's existing shelf-registration statement, and resulted in gross proceeds of approximately $36.6 million, and net proceeds, before certain expenses of the offering, of approximately $35.3 million, stated Overstock. The underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional 100,000 shares to cover over-allotments, if any.

Overstock.com said it anticipates using the net proceeds of the offering primarily for general corporate purposes and working capital requirements, including sales and marketing activities and inventory purchases.

Peters cites retailer as a 'talent powerhouse'

The Container Store, a retailer of storage and organization products, will appear as one of five national companies to be featured in the Tom Peters: "Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age" 60-minute television special that will air on public television stations nationwide beginning this month.

The retailer is featured during 15 minutes of the program, which showcases its employees and the company's best practices for transforming a job in retail into a career and illustrates how the retailer has shown the way employee talent can impact both the product and the bottom line.

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