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Discount retailer Family Dollar said its new retail real estate enterprise market knowledge system has improved visibility for its real estate management team, enhanced collaboration between internal teams, reduced site evaluation times 67 percent and improved communications throughout the company.
The retailer is utilizing TAS Unity from Addleboro, Mass.-based Trade Area Systems, Inc. “Our approach to market analysis going forward is to get the information out to the field decision makers,” said Brian Strickland, divisional VP of portfolio management at Family Dollar. “There were many holes in our existing system. For example, a real estate manager working on a store relocation did not have visibility to a real estate manager who may be evaluating a new store in the same area.”
Family Dollar previously used an array of geographic information system tools that it felt had limits in terms of data accuracy and latency. The mapping system was deskto- based, which led to significant data variation and sub-optimal decisions. The company also lacked a single source of data and didn’t have visibility from one user to another.
The TAS Unity system runs on multiple platforms (desktop, online and mobile), and functionality includes mapping and demographics, data viewing, data editing, and the ability to capture notes and photos and attach them to specific stores. Family Dollar has deployed the system using TAS Mobile, a tablet-based system running on the iPad designed to access and update data in the field; and TAS Online, a browser-based mapping and demographics information system that makes it easy to receive and update market data.
“TAS Unity is a one-stop shop for everything I need to make the best real estate decisions,” added Strickland. “Both our users and the team at TAS are very passionate about making the solution even more valuable. We intuitively know this was the right decision because of the efficiencies created by the solution points to a significant ROI.”
The retailer will be working with TAS to leverage the tool in other areas of the company including marketing, pricing and store operations. “We are currently in the process of creating a way to increase the knowledge of our preferred developers and brokers utilizing TAS,” said Strickland. “This was one of those developments we didn’t see coming – the users are finding tremendous value from the system and they want our real estate partners to have access to the same information.”
Matthews, N.C.-based Family Dollar operates 7,600 stores in rural and urban settings across 45 states.