Lowe’s employees get on the iPhone
According to Lowe’s Rick Damron, executive VP store operations, the Mooresville, N.C.-based retail giant has rolled out iPhones to more than 60% of its stores, where they’re used as sales tools and scanners.
The mobile devices customized with retail applications and based on Apple’s iPhone technology are expected to be rolled out to all stores by the end of the year.
Speaking during the Lowe’s third-quarter earnings conference, Damron said the intuitive devices are the first technology rollout that didn’t require training manuals.
"The feedback from our stores on all of these upgrades has been highly positive for one simple reason," he said. "Associates feel they are better equipped to serve customers.”
Damron said each store has about 25 of the iPhone devices. Because employees no longer have to walk to a fixed terminal about 400 times a day, it makes them more productive, he said.
Woman arrested with purse full of power tool accessories
Myrtle Beach, S.C., police arrested a woman at a local Lowe’s store after she was detained by a loss prevention officer with a purse full of power tool accessories, according to a report by WMBF-News.
The unnamed suspect was arrested Nov. 15 after she walked out of the store on Seaboard Street with 14 boxed saw blades, a drill bit and one pair of Mechanix Wear gloves. Together, the items were valued at $180. The Lowe’s loss prevention officer said he had observed her placing the merchandise in her purse.
The suspect told police she stole the items because she needed the money, according to the news report. She was arrested for shoplifting and taken to the Myrtle Beach jail.
Changes vs. distractions: Lowe’s walks a fine line
Lowe’s has big plans. That’s another way of saying it has a lot on its plate.
During a third-quarter earnings call in which Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock described the company’s performance as below its expectations, he was asked about distractions and changes and their impact on results.
The CEO went on to explain that it’s better to consolidate changes and get through them quickly than to wait for things to get better.
"I think when you think at the significant amount of change that we put the organization through, in time … there’s got to be some amount of disruption associated with that."
The changes support the idea of meeting the customers’ needs regardless of when, where or how they want to shop, he explained.
The changes taking place at Lowe’s include the closing of 27 stores this year; the launching of the My Lowe’s Web tool in October; the launch of Never Stop Improving brand positioning in September; streamlining the field organizational structure, resulting in fewer districts and regions; and zeroing in on an everyday low price approach.
He added: "We think that we’ve now gotten most of that behind us."
The company posted a sales increase of 2.3% for the third quarter, as net earnings declined 44.3% to $225 million.
Speaking to investors in his prepared remarks, Niblock said: "As I said before, our performance is not at the level we expect relative to the market or frankly, that we demand of ourselves as we define success, so we’re taking action. The executive team is looking at our business from a fresh perspective, and we’re evaluating how we operate on a cross-functional basis to ensure consistent and connected execution."