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HP Picks Up Convenience Contracts

HP has signed a pair of million dollar technology contracts, one with national convenience retailer 7-Eleven and the other with Publix Super Markets, the company said Friday.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker said its five-year, $55 million contract with 7-Eleven includes servers, storage, networks and printers at some 5,300 U.S. locations. The partnership also means installing HP's Adaptive Enterprise software as well as initiating a maintenance contract from HP Services.

7-Eleven said the goal is to improve service for its six million daily customers. As part of the contract, each 7-Eleven store in the United States will have a dual-processor HP ProLiant ML330 server running Microsoft Windows Advanced Server 2003 to let managers make store-level decisions and customize inventory.

"HP technology helps us to differentiate ourselves from other retailers in the way we run our stores, select and distribute products, work with suppliers, serve customers and communicate to our key stakeholders," said Keith Morrow, 7-Eleven's chief information officer.

The convenience story chain also said it recently rolled out a ProCurve Networking Switch 2524 in each of the 5,300 stores, creating a standardized network.

The new technology supports 7-Eleven's Retail Information System (RIS), streamlining its product traffic management process and allowing store operators to use in-store computers to re-order best-selling inventory and remove slow-moving items from store shelves. A typical 7-Eleven store, carrying about 2,500 different items, can now better tailor its inventory to meet customer demand.

"Hot dogs, taquitos, bottled water and soft drinks are popular items sold in our store, while energy drinks, and health and beauty products are not," said Walter Rust, a 7-Eleven franchisee, whose store outside of St. Louis caters to construction workers and nearby residents. "Having this technology assures that we stock the inventory my customers frequently ask for. With my new system, I'm not spending as much time pulling sales data, and I can be more innovative in the way I merchandize on an item-by-item basis."

Similarly, HP's contract with Publix Super Markets includes installing some 16,000 HP rp5000 point-of-sale devices and 2,000 HP ProLiant servers, to help streamline the company's store operations.

The servers running Chain Track software will be used for Publix's in-store processing, including pricing and inventory functions. The company said it also selected HP ProLiant servers to support expanding pharmacy operations. In addition, HP said it will continue to provide notebooks, desktop PCs, monitors and servers for a variety of corporate uses.

Currently the chain supports 800-plus supermarket stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

"As we keep pace with rapid growth, it's an absolute requirement that we deploy technology that is flexible and cost-effective to respond to constant changes in our highly competitive business, and at the same time reduce IT costs and complexity for store operations, ultimately improving services for our customers,'' Danny Risener, chief information officer, Publix said in a statement.