Wal-Mart unveils its new plan for a flexible workforce; the new plan will schedule workers to follow a work schedule that is determined by customer shopping habits.

The goal is to handle heavy shopping hours with more store help, while scaling down during slower periods, generally weekday afternoons. Target and Lowe's are already using Data Mining for optimizing workforce.

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In today's high-stakes marketplace, retailers need as much knowledge about customer buying patterns as possible. The deeper your insight into historical data, the better you can analyze, report on, and forecast future sales and profits. The Forbes article does not mention the software used for the data mining: A great option is Microsoft SQL Server 2005—the next generation of Microsoft data management and analysis software—delivering a multitude of new and enhanced business intelligence features designed to give retail businesses that deeper insight—and with it, competitive advantage. Click Here to read about SQL Server 2005 in Retail.