Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

Big data has become the buzzword for every industry and for good reason — it presents a big opportunity for businesses to learn and become more efficient. E-commerce is one of the best examples of a sector that strongly benefits from large amounts of data. By properly using the consumer identity information that's available to them, online retailers are able to quickly identify good orders, speed them to clear, and save time and money in the process. So why aren't more merchants using this type of data analysis?

Amazon.com famously started life in the "no taxes ever" column. More recently, the Bezos-driven behemoth emerged from its chrysalis with a pair of sales tax wings. Starting Sept. 1, Amazon added two states, Virginia and Georgia, to its growing stable of states in which it collects sales tax and remits it to the state. Amazon already collects sales tax in Arizona, California, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. Plus, Amazon taxes are coming soon to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada and Indiana.

J.C. Penney's new home department is like Technicolor Oz plunked down in black-and-white Kansas. Dreamed up by Ron Johnson before the former Apple retail wizard was ousted as chief executive officer in April, the housewares emporium, which opens this week, features vibrant colors, wood fixtures and other modern flourishes. The rest of the century-old department-store chain? Not so much.

Phoenix -- Leslie’s Poolmart said Monday it will grand-open eight Leslie’s Swimming Pool stores on April 26-28, part of the company’s pre-stated goal to open 48 new stores in spring 2013. New stores will open in Bristol, Conn.; South Elgin, Ill.; Kansas...

Kent, Wash.-based Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) will open its first-ever Kansas store in Overland Park. The 23,500-sq.-ft. store is slated to open in fall 2013. It will feature a bike shop and a seasonal gear rental department. Additional stores are slated to open this fall in San Antonio; Cincinnati; Woodbridge, Va.; and Medford, Ore. Currently, REI operates 123 retail stores in 30 states. SAVE | EMAIL | PRINT | MOST POPULAR | RSS DDI's RetailDesignDiva blog is dedicated to retail design issues, opinions and frustrations of the day.Read the Diva's recent rantings. DDI's Retail Design Newswire Sign up

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