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Retail Restoration: A Better Stance For 2019?



2018 was the year for many US retailers. Because of the strong economy and low unemployment, 2018 retail sales were the best in six years. Last year, the total retail sales rose 5.1% to $850 billion according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. While bricks-and-mortar stores acquired ways to combine their physical and online experiences, digital beginners continued to disturb the status quo by decreasing hassle for consumers.

Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation said 2018 “one of the best years for the retail industry in a decade,” adding that predictions of a “retail apocalypse” have abated. “Certainly, there are things that are out of our control,” he said in a blog. “But if we avoid self-inflicted wounds, we can have another fabulous year in 2019.”

Global consulting firm Deloitte has a more tempered viewpoint. Its 2019 retail outlook report says, retailers’ face a variation point this year because the strong economy begins to show some faults and digital disturbance continues thrashing incumbent. But people who can steer this headwind successfully will succeed. Retailers may need to make bold moves if they want to set themselves up for success in the future,” the report said.

Retailers Will Advance Their Game

Bankruptcy filings of Retailers like Sears, Brookstone, David’s Bridal, Mattress Firm, Nine West and Rockport in 2018 show that the challenges in the sector are far from over. But survivors who are trying to sustain in this new retail environment will obtain the rewards.

“I think what you’re seeing is that the ones who get it are going to win, and the ones who don’t get it are going to lose,” Kahn said. “I personally think 2019 will be an exciting year for smart retailers, and we’re going to see some really creative stuff.”

According to her major innovations are making the retail sector more resourceful. For example, Amazon Go stores allow customers skip long checkout lines; Nordstrom’s showroom stores do not carry inventory; and the flawless combination of technology into automobiles let people shop while they travel.

Bright retailers know the business strategies. “People are talking about the death of retail, but look at these great new beautiful stores that are opening up in New York,” Kahn said. “So, no, retail is not dead. Good retail is live and creative. And bad retail — rest in peace.”

Cohen has the same opinion, there’s “no weakness” in retail per se because there are plenty of customers with healthy disposable incomes — and they love to shop.

“Human beings have an encoded behavior that results in them seeking out things that are new and exciting, with vigor,” Cohen noted. “And they do that in the retail marketplace, whether it’s a physical store or it’s online, or some combination of the two. So, I think the business up top is fine. It’s going to continue to thrive. But within the businesses, the breakage is going to continue.”

Subscription Exhaustion?

The expectation of both the professors on e-commerce activity is to increase as more companies switch to omnichannel retailing and integrate business models geared toward online shopping activities, for example, showrooms and curbside pickup.

Cohen expects double-digit growth for digital. “It will vary by category, but it’s certainly something that consumers have adopted worldwide, and there’s absolutely no reason in the world why that trend would abate,” he said. “The legacy brick-and-mortar players who don’t … get it, or who don’t get enough of it, are dead. They’re going to continue to lose share.”

However, Cohen expressed concern, for showroom-only stores and for subscription-based retailers such as meal kits and pet products. He told that according to the practices, the customers who are at first eager to receive a new box of things every month ultimately get exhausted. The company is forced to pursue new customers for the replacement of leaving ones, driving up the cost of achievement.

“Subscription models [have] been around for a very, very long time. They kind of come and go as they become more fashionable, and right now, they are very fashionable for many customers,” Cohen said. “But my prediction is that most of these new subscription models will have relatively short lives.”

 “Super-Regional” Malls Will Succeed

Some malls in America are slowly dying while others are blooming. It’s a confounding challenge for most customers, so Cohen elucidated it: There are about 1,400 malls in the United States. About 250 of them are triple-A or ‘super-regional’ malls, which means they have four to six anchor stores and are ringed in by communities that won’t let them grow any larger. The remaining 1,150 or so malls are characterized as B, C or D-level malls. They have two or three anchor stores that are dying, such as Sears, J.C. Penney or Macy’s. Specialty tenants have either gone bankrupt or exercised their right to exit because the anchor store that was part of their lease agreement has left.

“They’re referred to by many as zombie malls, because they look more dead than alive,” Cohen said.

He thinks that these challenging places will close, while super-regional malls will be in good condition because they are completely tenanted with sufficient traffic. “And many, many, many customers will always want to touch, feel, try and experience something physically. That behavior is not going to disappear.”

Kahn pointed out the trend in malls is to make them more multi-use and pragmatic, with lots of restaurants, movie theaters and even co-working sites like WeWork.

“You need to have this mixed use,” she said. “People are still looking to go out and have a fun time, and the mall can be it, but it’s got to change.”

For Sears, The End Is Very Near

The bankruptcy filing of Sears was one of the biggest business headlines in 2018. The 126-year-old retailer, owner of Kmart, found to be on path for liquidation. But according to Bloomberg, on January 16, Chairman Edward Lampert’s hedge fund won a bankruptcy auction of the firm with a bid of more than $5 billion. The agreement still requires approval by the bankruptcy court.

Cohen, the former chairman and CEO of Sears Canada, told that the operation strategy of Sears was problematic not its debt. It had lost its relationship with customers. “There’s no leadership in the company, there’s no strategy in place that demonstrates any viability for the future. So, the sad news, which is certainly to me not a surprise, is that this incredible American — if not international — icon is about to disappear.”

Kahn had the same view that lost connection is one of the most unfortunate aspects of Sears’ failure because the legacy retailer once had the kind of customer loyalty that other retailers crave. “[You] can find tons of people who grew up on Sears and are seriously upset that Sears is out of the market. You can’t buy that kind of brand loyalty and legacy,” she said. “It was pure lack of leadership. For whatever reason … they just didn’t take an amazing asset and grow with the retail world.”

Data Privacy Will Increase Importance

Data mining is most important for retailers those need to hone in on customer liking, reduce friction and interrupt old business models. But as 2018 clarified, the security of that data became an increasingly vital issue, which has caught the attention of lawmakers.

Most customers overlook the fact that their personal data is being monetized without direct profit to them, Cohen said, but that could transform in the coming year. “It’s possible that the pendulum is going to swing very, very sharply over to the other side of this issue, which [would mean] very restricted use of data.”

Kahn agreed with this. According to her, access to data is not a predictor of retail success; it’s what retail does with the data that matters. “You’ve got to turn it into information. You’ve got to turn it into action,” she said. “You still need human insight. You still need that little magic of the smart merchant to put all those things together. It’s not just a data solution.”

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Safety in the Cloud: HubStor advances their cloud data technology with strict identity intelligence, establishing clear security and privacy requirements



Leverages Microsoft Azure Active Director to automate intelligent data management for secondary – storage use cases

KANATA, Ontario — HubStor, the software-based cloud storage innovator, has announced new cloud data management capabilities that enable enterprises to join Azure Active Directory’s extended identity attributes in policies that control the storage, preservation, and security of unstructured data.

The HubStor cloud data management platform uniquely protects unstructured data workloads while incorporating a query-optimized mapping of data access rights, users, and group memberships. Now with extended identity metadata correlated into HubStor’s intelligent policy engine, enterprises can streamline their management of critical information in the following ways:

  • Storage: Automated enrollment into secondary storage – HubStor can now dynamically detect when a user leaves the organization and automatically enroll their Office 365 mailbox and OneDrive for Business site in a backup/archiving policy that captures the data into Azure-based secondary storage
  • Preservation: Retention or legal hold automation – HubStor can dynamically set retention periods on a user’s data in secondary storage when, for example, the user joins a department or leaves the organization.
  • Security: Role-based access control for data streams – HubStor can restrict access permissions into global data streams so that privileged users can search, access, or recover information relating to precise sets of users only. HubStor’s new ability to automate a logical separation within a single data stream for role-based access control is gaining traction in the following scenarios:
    • Email journaling – Storage rules that leverage the Organizational Unit attribute can support controlling access to messages so that legal discovery users can conduct searches, apply holds, and perform exports on email custodians within their particular domain only, for example.
    • Office 365 audit log retention – Similarly, storage rules leveraging the Department attribute work to create a logical separation of events so that particular IT and security administrators can review and produce Office 365 event history for users within specific departments or office locations only.

“We try to keep a keen ear tuned to the needs of our customers as we enhance the HubStor cloud data management platform,” said Brad Janes, VP of Product Management at HubStor. “Enhancing HubStor’s integration with Azure Active Directory and the HubStor policy engine to incorporate identity metadata unlocks never-before-seen data management capabilities in the IT industry.”

About HubStor :

HubStor is a leading innovator in cloud-based storage software. Enterprises use the HubStor cloud data management platform to transform their data storage and protection practices, backup their Office 365 data, journal electronic messages, enable cloud-tiering of file systems, and manage long-term retention of unstructured data. HubStor is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and is a Microsoft Co-Sell Prioritized and Gold ISV Partner.  More information is available at:


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Zinnov recognizes increasing capabilities of QuEST Global for converging mechanical, electronics and new age software engineering technologies



  • QuEST Global retains leadership position in the study titled “Zinnov Zones 2018 – ER&D services” for the fourth consecutive year
  • Positioned in the leadership zone across Automotive, Transportation, Aerospace, Energy & Utilities and Medical Devices
  • Rated as an ‘Expansive and Established’ player in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Design and Simulation Engineering, and Platform Engineering segments
  • Entered into the execution zone of enterprise and consumer software

 Bengaluru, India, February 13, 2019: QuEST Global, the pioneering engineering services provider, today announced that it has retained leadership position in the “Zinnov Zones 2018 – Engineering and R&D Services Rating”, for the fourth consecutive year. The report was published by Zinnov after evaluating more than 35 global engineering service providers in major industry segments. The key parameters for the study included product development capabilities, innovation, client relationships, eco system linkages, scalability etc.

According to Zinnov Zones 2018 report for ER&D Services, QuEST has been positioned in the leadership zone in automotive, transportation, medical devices, energy & utilities and aerospace verticals. The company has gained presence in artificial intelligence & machine learning, design and simulation engineering, and platform engineering where, Zinnov has placed QuEST in the expansive and established zone. Zinnov has also placed QuEST in the execution zone for consumer software, enterprise software, computer peripheral, consumer electronics and industrial automation sectors.

Commenting on this achievement, Ajit Prabhu, Chairman and CEO, QuEST Global said, “This recognition from Zinnov is a re-affirmation of our dedication to solve engineering problems of our customers by converging mechanical, electronics and software technologies. With the help of our proven expertise across the spectrum of advanced technologies, we are committed to enable OEMs and Tier1s across the world to launch new products and discover newer possibilities. Our integrated local-global solution delivery approach and more than two decades of in-depth engineering experience across industries enable us to address the increasing market demand for safety critical and reliable connected products that provide superior customer experience.”

As a pioneer in the engineering services and solutions industry, QuEST has been helping customers to identify problems, proactively create innovative solutions and make products safer and more reliable in today’s digital age. The company’s strong capabilities in areas such as artificial intelligence, connected engineering, augmented reality and software technologies is enabling OEMs and Tier1 suppliers cross the digital divide, while continuing  to provide a reliable backbone of support in the mechanical and electronics world.

About QuEST Global

QuEST Global is a trusted engineering services and solutions partner to many of the world’s most recognized Fortune 500 brands in aero engines, aerospace & defense, automotive, medical devices, oil & gas, power, hi-tech, industrial and rail with 10,000+ associates. For more than 20 years, QuEST has been a trusted partner providing comprehensive support across the complete engineering lifecycle to help our customers improve efficiency, increase quality, create new products and open new markets. Through a collaborative and customized approach, QuEST enables its customers to manage traditional engineering requirements as well as convergence of digital and mechanical technology to help them create safe, dependable and high quality products and services.

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Anto T Ouseph –

Pratvii Ponnappa, Weber Shandwick – M: 9886321381| E:

About Zinnov

Founded in 2002, Zinnov is headquartered in Silicon Valley and Bangalore. In over a decade, they have built in-depth expertise in engineering and digital practice areas. They assist their customers in effectively leveraging global innovation and technology ecosystems to accelerate innovation and digital transformation.

Zinnov’s team of experienced professionals serves clients in Software, Automotive, Telecom & Networking, Semiconductor, Consumer Electronics, Storage, Healthcare, Banking, Financial Services & Retail verticals, and in the United States, Europe, Japan & India.

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itel Empowers Consumers with the Magic of Technology!




The Brand Launches Its New Campaign ‘Ab Har Haath Mein Jaadu’

  • itel enables its consumers with the power of magic in every hand
  • Exhibits its latest range of segment-first smartphones, with A23 featuring Face Unlock, A44 Power with big battery and A44 Air with an AI Dual Camera.

 New Delhi |xx February 2018 – Explore the Magic of technology in your smartphones at the best ever prices! Well, yes. itel launches yet another path breaking campaign – ‘Ab Har Haath Mein Jaadu’ for its discerning customers as it completes 3 successful years in India. Aiming to connect with the mass market consumers and enhancing their smartphone experiences by democratizing technology, itel’s new brand campaign creates an aura for all its customers.

For brands, being tuned into people’s aspiration matters and this is what itel has been constantly striving to achieve since its launch in India. With this continuous and conscious effort, itel is aiming towards fuelling the aspiration of the masses thereby, empowering them with a life filled with magic. A life where one is able to connect with the loved ones, communication is not confined to a language, one is able to capture the happy moments of his life without any inhibitions and people come together as one big and happy family. This is itel’s life of magic!

 To Celebrate the onset of the brand campaign, we have worked on our market insights strongly and met people across segments, genres and realised that value is fuelled by creating desirability and affordability, said Goldee Patnaik, Head of Marketing, itel Business Unit, TRANSSION Holdings.

“Har Haath Mein Jaadu resonates with our core belief of providing latest mobile features at the best prices further making customers’ experience magical while using itel smartphones. The new brand campaign compliments itel’s latest range of portfolio which are bringing newness and affordability together to make sure that our customers have a magical experience with each offering,” Mr. Patnaik added.

itel A44 Air, the latest product offering, is a segment-first AI Dual Camera with a full screen display and face unlock at an incredibly affordable price. In 2019, itel’s smartphone portfolio will be primarily driven by AI and hence empowers the consumers with magic of technology while making them feel confident and liberated.

itel, in its true essence, has always been democratising technology for masses.  Its robust footprint via mass market distribution, customer-centric approach, and innovative product portfolio have together made itel one of the most reliable & value-driven brand for 4cr + customers.  As the entry level brand of TRANSSION Holdings, itel aims to continue the same strategy by empowering consumers with the magic of premium features at budget-friendly prices.

 For this new campaign, itel has rolled out a full-fledged and integrated marketing campaign to foster engagements across all the media platforms. From a special retail visibility drive to on-ground activations across all its markets, the campaign will be supported extensively with tactical TV campaign to drive awareness followed by radio amplification to create consumer engagements. To further drive meaningful local connections with consumers during the festival, itel also participated in Pongal and Kumbh Mela, making its presence impactful across markets. Way forward, it is geared up to participate in key festivals across its top markets and connect directly with customers.

Along with the exciting campaign and new brand philosophy, get ready to experience the magnificence of itel’s latest product portfolio – itel A23 with face unlock and bright display at INR 4299, itel A44 Power with full screen display and 4000 mAh battery at INR 4,999 and itel A44 Air with full screen and AI dual camera at INR 4,599. These are well aligned with the current needs and demand of customers, promising a delightful smartphone experience for them thereby, truly democratizing technology for masses.

About itel:

Established in 2007, itel, TRANSSION Holdings entry level brand, is a reliable mobile phone brand for everyone. itel’s mission is to provide budget-friendly mobile communications and it democratises technology for everyone. After more than 10 years’ development, itel has expanded its presence in around 40 emerging markets globally. itel has a product portfolio of smartphones, tablets and feature phones and in 2017, it achieved a landmark sale of more than 77 million devices globally.

itel forayed into the Indian market in April 2016 and has established its leadership position by bringing in unique product portfolio backed by strong service proposition. itel emerged as the second largest player in the overall mobile phone market in India by capturing 9 percent market share for the year 2017, registering an exponential growth of 217% year-on-year as per Q4 2017 CMR report. itel also maintains strong distribution channel and wide service centre presence PAN-India with more than 960 touch points and its exclusive service brand, CarlCare.

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Priyanka Malhotra

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