(CNN)If you're looking for a store employee to help you out while shopping this holiday season, you're not alone. Retailers themselves are having a lot of trouble finding the help they need. With unemployment rate so low, retailers are scrambling to find workers. They're raising pay and benefits over what was offered in the past, sometimes substantially. And they started looking for seasonal help much earlier than normal. "We've heard a lot about firms looking for people in July and August for holiday hiring," said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation. Still, with the national unemployment rate matching a 50-year low, many retailers are having to get by with fewer seasonal workers than in the past. The NRF estimates that total seasonal hiring will be between 530,000 to 590,000. That may sound like a lot, but it could be the fewest number of seasonal workers hired by retailers since the Great Recession ended in 2009 -- down as much as 30% from where … [Read more...] about Retailers are scrambling to find holiday help
Facial recognition software retail stores
New York (CNN Business)Black Friday shoppers spent a record $7.4 billion online this year. But heading to the stores in person on Black Friday, once an annual tradition for many Americans, continues to lose its appeal. Shopping in brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday dropped 6.2% compared to 2018, according to data from ShopperTrak, as more customers make their purchases online. But that's not the only reason Black Friday shopping in stores is fading. Holiday deals are now starting earlier than ever, more stores are opening on Thanksgiving and promotions are extending to Cyber Monday and into December. Foot traffic in stores increased 2.3% on Thanksgiving Day compared with last year, according to ShopperTrak. The Nintendo Switch was Black Friday's big winner Retailers such as Macy's (M) and Nordstrom (JWN) have expanded their online pickup options for customers who want to avoid crowded stores but don't want to wait for delivery. It's good for the stores, too, as pickup … [Read more...] about Black Friday broke shopping records, but not at stores
Black Friday isn’t the big-deal big deal it used to be for big box stores and national chains. Thanks in part to online competition and shifting consumer behavior it has become a smaller spike on a stretched-out seasonal shopping timeline. That’s a fact made evident by Walmart offering Black Friday-style discounts online starting on Oct. 25 this year, the earliest the retail giant has ever started knocking down prices for the holiday season, it says. “Customers count on Walmart for the best prices every day, and the holiday season is no exception,” Steve Bratspies, Walmart’s chief U.S. merchandising officer said in a news release issued Oct. 23. An analysis of transactions done at small businesses in 2018 meanwhile indicates that — in Denver in particular — that a strong Black Friday is still critical to independent shops trying to flip the ink in their books from red to black. It’s even more important than the following day, the … [Read more...] about “Black Friday” now a two-month long discount season, but Denver small retailers are still banking on big traffic
At a time when many real estate pros, market analysts and American shoppers view some big-box department store chains as dinosaurs lumbering toward extinction, the bones of Kmarts and Sears stores are piling up around Denver. Once a giant that shaped its environment with its own in-house development company, Sears Holding Corp. operated about 4,000 stores in 2012. By the time it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 15, 2018, that number had dipped below 900. Colorado today hosts two Kmarts — one in Pueblo and one in Loveland — and 19 Sears locations, mostly of the smaller-format “hometown” store variety, according to the brand’s websites. Just four of those stores are in the metro area. The spaces the companies left behind aren’t going to waste. As demonstrated by the recent $10.5 million purchase of the Kmart store at 2150 S. Monaco Parkway that sat vacant for more than six years, there is plenty of demand for the territory these big … [Read more...] about What’s becoming of Denver’s former Sears and Kmart stores?
In a grocery store somewhere in North America, a small drone floats from aisle to aisle, hovering like a hummingbird that has traded its nimble wings for tiny propellers. Each time the autonomous robot drops down to scan a crowded shelf using an onboard camera, the machine collects valuable data about the store’s ever-changing inventory. What would take a person hours to accomplish — tediously checking shelves for missing or misplaced products — is accomplished in minutes by the tiny aircraft. Once finished, the drone uploads its findings to the cloud, setting a massive supply chain in motion and offering the store’s owners, and potentially brand manufacturers, the kind of precise data about shopping habits that has largely eluded brick-and-mortar stores. It may sound like a sequence from some high-tech vision of the future, but the drone and the artificial intelligence behind it — created by an Austin-based startup and data subscription service called … [Read more...] about Drones in Aisle 5? Grocery stores are becoming unusual hotbeds of innovation