Equitec buy extends Acxiom's retail abilities

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Acxiom Corp. has expanded and enhanced its retail business solution capabilities by acquiring Equitec, a business with marketing and merchandizing optimization expertise in the retail industry.

Terms were not released. Acxiom, Little Rock, AR, is a global leader in customer information management and technology.

"Retailers have been doing a fine job of knowing what is selling, but they haven't mastered the question of who is buying," said Tim Suther, leader of Acxiom's retail and client services practice.

The deal will help retailers adjust merchandise assortments, better predict market and store potential, assess product launch opportunities and better identify underserved markets and segments, all derived from the needs of consumers in individual store trading areas, he said.

Acxiom estimates that unproductive inventory in the worldwide retail supply chain totals $280 billion, Mr. Suther said. This includes merchandise that doesn't sell quickly enough and so is marked down.

"Retailers end up with merchandise that doesn't sell, and consumers end up with merchandise that they don't want, which means the stores could lose the loyalty of these customers," he said. "A deeper understanding of the local and specific shopping behavior of customers can help reduce unproductive inventory."

Mr. Suther also said the acquisition lets Acxiom offer a combination of custom consulting and analysis, customer insight and standardized assessment that accelerates financial return for retailers.

All principals of Equitec, Westlake, OH, are being retained, Acxiom said. Equitec clients include Black & Decker, The Home Depot, EarthLink, General Electric, KB Home, Saks and Travelocity.

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