Retailers look out for suppliers in Y2K planning

Retailers look out for suppliers in Y2K planning

While year 2000 czars at several major retailers in the US are nearly done fixing their in-house systems, they're now trying to account for the possible lack of readiness from their vendors, suppliers, utilities and local governments. Because they know there will be problems, they have also begun contingency planning.

Retail businesses are more vulnerable than the utilities and governments they depend on, said Cathy Hotka, vice president of IT at the US-based industry association National Retailing Federation (NRF).

Those entities are monopolies, she said, but if a supermarket can't open its doors on Jan 1, 2000, consumers will buy their goods at another store that is open.

"It's the things outside our control that worry me the most," said one retail executive at the NRF's Retail Information Systems conference here last week.

He added that his company wants to make sure that the stores are staffed in the event of a blackout.

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