Macy's has been boosting its investments in IT as it moves toward an omni-channel retail model and plans to outfit 300 stores to handle online order fulfillment by the end of the year, vice president Brian Leinbach said at a conference this week. Online sales at Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com rose 40% last year.
Wal-Mart teamed with Marvel to launch an augmented reality game application that rolled out last week along with the U.S. release of "The Avengers." To unlock superheros, players must visit Wal-Mart stores and scan codes on in-store displays in several different departments.
Cutting costs wouldn't have been enough for Macy's to successfully survive the recession -- instead, the company embarked on an aggressive new strategy that has since paid off in 10 consecutive profitable quarters, chief executive officer Terry Lundgren told members of the Portland Business Alliance this week. Lundgren, who serves as NRF's board chairman, also touted the retail industry's hard work in the area of job creation.
The biggest U.S. chain retailers ended last year with 2.2% fewer stores as more consumers shifted their shopping online, and the growth of e-commerce has retailers including Lowe's shifting capital investment to their web efforts. "The smart chains are the ones looking to grow online because there aren’t that many places left in the U.S. that warrant the cost of building another big-box store," said industry consultant Will Ander.