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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    March 4 - 10, 2024




    The Week In News, But Shorter
    March 4 – 10, 2024



    The AI-driven chatbot wars continue to heat up with the latest entrant from Anthropic called Claude 3.  The company claims that its souped-up version, Claude 3 Opus, outperformed OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google’s Gemini Ultra. The consumer-facing chatbot is always going to get the media attention, but advancements like this are quickly finding applications in the enterprise software vertical.  The model claims it can summarize up to about 150,00 words (think: around the length range of “Moby Dick”), plus images, charts and other unstructured data, so you can quickly start to imagine the business applications for it.  Now if the people naming these software platforms can work on making it a little more intuitive! It’s like we’re back in the days when Microsoft had 75 word titles for their boxed software.  Windows NT Workstation Pro anyone?

    In other news, another big box is joining Walmart to offer a subscription. Target is ramping up its membership offerings with a $99 annual subscription called Target Circle 360 providing free shipping and expedited online orders.   This is pretty much a table-stakes move for them in competing with Amazon for the same and next-day e-commerce market. 

    And our old friends at Westfield may not be exiting the U.S.   While most of the people have changed since we worked there, Westfield still has some of the best assets in the U.S. We’re obviously biased, but we’d like to see them stick around a bit longer.  One of their main competitors in the U.S. market is making a $400 million bet that the mall is going to be much more than just shopping.  

    For a sneak preview each week, check us out on LinkedIn where you can find some of this content before it hits your inbox.

    Digital Meets Physical

    Urban Value Corner Store opens autonomous stores in luxury buildings [Chain Store AgeUrban Value Corner Store, the convenience chain, is now operating kit-built Juxta frictionless convenience stores, known as “micro markets,” in upscale apartment buildings in the Dallas area. They shop the store like any other retail space, and an AI computer vision system paired with advanced shelf sensors builds their basket in real-time.

    Can AI Pick Your Next Favorite Beauty Product? [Business of FashionOnline beauty brands are using AI to offer advice and recommend products in place of store associates. Without sales associates and dermatologists recommending the best products, AI is stepping in to personalize the consumer experience.

    Dunnhumby, Placer.ai Expand Partnership to Deliver More Shopper Insights [Progressive GrocerData company Dunnhumby and location analytics firm Placer.ai are ramping up their partnership to provide more services to retailers at a time when personalization and connections are increasingly pivotal.

    Target will launch unlimited rush shipping subscription to rival Amazon Prime [The VergeTarget is launching Target Circle 360, a $99 annual subscription that will offer free, unlimited delivery and rush shipping on online orders. The new plan will rival similar offerings by Walmart and Amazon that axe shipping costs for an annual fee.

    Anthropic, backed by Amazon and Google, debuts its most powerful chatbot yet [CNBCThe new chatbot called Claude 3 can summarize up to about 150,000 words, or a lengthy book, compared to ChatGPT’s ability to summarize about 3,000. Anthropic is also allowing image and document uploads for the first time.

    PropTalk

    Was the Urban Doom Loop Greatly Exaggerated? [PropmodoBrookfield Properties, which owns 160 retail properties in seven countries, is in growth mode globally while doubling down on redevelopment of some US properties to focus on luxury. 

    Maybe Westfield Isn’t Done With Its American Dream After All [BisNowURW remains a major player in the U.S. mall market, with 16 schemes across the country. Some assets have been sold as planned. But much of the remaining portfolio doesn’t look like the costly burden it appeared to be in 2020 and 2021.

    ‘Foot traffic is incredible’: Midtown Manhattan is once again a retail hot spotl [Modern RetailBrands like Studs, Citizen, Swarovski, Abercrombie, and Madewell are all returning to midtown Manhattan with flagship stores, a neighborhood that has long been a mainstay for luxury brands. 

    A Third Of WeWork’s Vacated Locations Have Found New Tenants [BisNowNew tenants are taking over former WeWorks as the coworking company’s bankruptcy proceedings accelerate a trend of move-outs. Since 2016, WeWork has vacated 8.9M SF of office space across the country. Of that, about 3M has been re-leased, often to coworking competitors.

    A $400 Million Bet Says This Is the Mall of the Future [WSJ] Mall giant Simon Property Group is spearheading a $400 million spending spree to make Southdale Center in suburban Minneapolis much more than just shopping.

    Shopping malls aren’t sweating the decline of retailers: “This is not a big issue” [AxiosShoppers simply aren’t frequenting the same types of stores in search of apparel as they once did. Gone are the days when department stores were guaranteed to be the anchor tenants of successful shopping malls.

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