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Now Boarding? Faster Checkout and Improved Business Operations for Paradies' Airport Concession Stores With New IBM Point-of-Sale Systems


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ATLANTA, GA - 27 Aug 2003: The Paradies Shops, the largest operator of airport concession stores in North America, is adopting new IBM SurePOS 500 point-of-sale systems to help improve business operations and enhance customer service and checkout time at its hundreds of airport stores, IBM announced today.

The new touch-screen IBM POS systems are part of Paradies' transformation of its entire operations to a new host-based system supporting merchandising, distribution, financials, inventory control and point-of-sale across the entire Paradies company. At the heart of that system is an IBM eServer pSeries.

Atlanta-based Paradies has approximately 325 stores in 59 airports in the United States and Canada, including newsstands, gift shops, sunglass stores, western stores, ladies accessory shops and children's shops, and is the exclusive licensee of the PGA TOUR Shops, Brooks Brothers, CNBC News, the Big Ten Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference. Those airports serve a half-billion passengers every year.

While the concepts and products can vary dramatically, all of Paradies' airport shops face one common, unique retail problem. They need to have fast, reliable checkout for the long lines of hurried customers that always seem to appear just before and after flights in each airport.

"Our goal for a new POS system was a powerful, reliable, networked system that could easily allow our store employees to quickly process transactions," said John O'Hare, director of Information Technology for Paradies. "It was very important that the POS systems be retail-hardened for the constant use in an airport environment. The easy, touch-screen interface also allows us to reduce training time for new employees.

"We had seen how rugged and dependable the SurePOS 500 has been in the food service industry, where employees are pounding it all day and where labor turnover and training are challenges," he continued. "We knew that if it could survive in the food service business, it could take care of our requirements."

The IBM SurePOS 500 was originally designed and hardened for the rigors of the quick service restaurant business, and it is a popular choice in restaurant chains. Other retailers, particularly in the hospitality industry, have been drawn to its dependability, sleek design and touch-screen interface of the SurePOS 500.

In a fast-food environment, the sales staff using a touch-screen SurePOS 500 can touch a "hot key" for a combo or particular product, and the system automatically calculates the total. Paradies is doing something similar at its airport shops to speed checkout, using a hot key for such popular, fast-selling items as bottled water and specific newspapers, such as USA Today.

Another major benefit of the new networked POS systems is the way it can help collect and report sales and inventory data back to Paradies headquarters in Atlanta. Prior to rolling out the new, networked POS systems, for example, Paradies had to employ one person fulltime for 10 hours a day to collect and compile sales data from its 11 shops in the Nashville airport. With the new system, it takes that one person approximately two hours a day to complete the sales audit process.

With the numerous different types of stores, Paradies had gone beyond the old newspapers-and-candy newsstands of the past, bringing new inventory control challenges such as sizes and colors of apparel. "The new system has reduced the number of products we must mark down, and now we are replenishing products based on what we are actually selling, not on what we thought was selling," added Mr. O'Hare.

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