Retail Weekly Roundup 4

by Deepak Sharma on Sunday, December 02, 2007

1. This Software Makes Sure The Price Is Right

A central challenge for any seller is whether to boost profit by raising prices, or to make up for low prices with increased sales volumes.

Technology's bid to help with this challenge has created demand optimization software. Such programs help retailers and consumer goods makers set optimal prices for products. Such software also is used to calculate markdown prices to clear out older wares.

DemandTec DMAN of San Carlos, Calif., is among the companies showing growth in this rising niche.

2. One in five Australian retailers plan IT infrastructure overhaul

IT spending in Australia's retail industry will top AUD$1.54 billion by the end of 2007 with the market continuing to grow at a cumulative growth rate of nine per cent per annum through to 2010.

Springboard Research A/NZ country manager, Phil Hassey, said the market will reach AUD$1.96 billion by 2010.

Hassey said that after focusing on driving customer satisfaction, increasing retention, and expanding business, IT is the highest investment area for most large and medium-sized retailers. "Our data also shows that one in five Australian retail companies are on the verge of an IT infrastructure overhaul, and are in the process of replacing legacy systems with more modern and cutting-edge technology," he said.

3. Finding a job in retail may not be so simple

It's harder than you think to get hired these days.

This isn't about fancy jobs that require an advanced degree and offer solid benefits. Think of entry-level jobs at Whole Foods, Home Depot or Best Buy.

Ask Alex Frankel, 37, a Brown University graduate. Those three retail chains turned him down.

As surprising and demoralizing as that was, it was great fodder for his book Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee.

Frankel went undercover to report on the corporate culture of some of the county's leading retailers. He picked jobs at places known for their highly controlled workplaces.