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    The Week in News, But Shorter

    May 1 - 7, 2023

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    The Week In News, But Shorter
    May 1 – 7, 2023

    After years spent growing their own logistics and order-fulfillment arm, Shopify announced it would sell it’s logistic operation to Flexport, including last-mile delivery startup Delivrr, which Shopify bought last year for $2.1B. Shopify president Harley Finkelstein said in an interview, “this allows Flexport to do what they do best, and allows Shopify to go back to doing what we do best, which is building incredible software for e-commerce.” While we’ve admired Shopify’s attempt to grow their offering, it seems they got a bit outside their core competency and are unfortunately now paying the price. This is why we are strong advocates (for the most part) of finding the right partners and not trying to be everything for everyone. We know how overwhelming that can be with the industry growing every day in every area, but that’s what we’re here for. Let us help you make sense of the mess.

    This week the AI, ChatGPT convo did not slow down one bit, and neither did reports of layoffs. We also read about some new trends in brick-and-mortar design that we think translate to mall properties and how restaurants are doing their best to appeal to budget-conscious consumers. Check out or Twitter and LinkedIn feeds to see what else has been resonating with us the past few weeks.

    Digital Meets Physical

    Amazon to put ‘more dollars’ toward generative AI, CFO says [CFODiveAmazon will follow the path of other large-scale technology companies by turning its eye to emerging technologies, including upping its investments in its Amazon Web Service cloud segment as well as in artificial intelligence.  

    RFID’s ‘Quiet Revolution’ in Retail [Business of FashionZara, Uniqlo and American Eagle are among those leaning on the technology for abilities like self-checkout and better inventory tracking, while more companies join the ‘cult of RFID’ each year. The technology, which can provoke passionate debate, keeps gaining new users as prices fall, accuracy improves and companies need to precisely track inventory across channels. marks Mother’s Day with ChatGPT; livestream sale [Chain Store is preparing for Mother’s Day with some leading-edge offerings. The specialty gift retailer is launching a new online feature called “ MomVerse,” a free artificial intelligence (AI) composer based on ChatGPT, which interacts with users in a conversational style that mimics human interaction and uses machine learning (ML) to continually refine and improve its responses.

    Nordstrom cuts tech workforce [RetailDiveWeeks after the appointment of a new chief technology and information officer, Nordstrom confirmed that it underwent layoffs in its tech division. 

    Micro & Last Mile Fulfillment

    Shopify is cutting 20% of staff and selling the logistics arm of its business [Business InsiderShopify CEO Tobi Lütke announced Thursday that the company would cut 20% of its workforce and sell most of its logistics business to the supply-chain technology company Flexport. Shopify is selling Deliverr, which it acquired in 2022 for $2.1 billion, and any progress it made on Shopify-operated warehouses for a 13% equity stake.

    Retailers meet customers where they are – in their cars [Chain Store Age]
    Retailers are finding a variety of ways to reach out to shoppers who are behind the wheel.
    The average U.S. consumer spends a lot of time in their car. Fast food restaurants have been targeting customers in their autos with drive-thru locations for decades. But now, retailers in fast food and other verticals are providing a variety of solutions and services for the driving consumer.

    ‘Welcome To Your Walmart’ Campaign Aims To Personalize The Retail Giant’s Delivery And Pickup Offerings [Ad AgeWalmart’s new “Welcome to Your Walmart” campaign features a fast-paced 60-second spot that touts the brand’s varied delivery and pickup options and says that, whatever your particular need, the retailer has you covered. “We don’t just have everything,” a voice-over says at the end, before saying, “We have your thing.”

    Restaurants & Ghost Kitchens

    8 Ways to Increase Restaurant Revenue with Outdoor Dining [QSR MagazinePatios and creative outdoor dining spaces became a necessity to keep restaurants afloat during the pandemic; now, they’re being leveraged as additional revenue streams. Attracting and retaining patio guests could provide the additional boost in sales restaurant operators have been looking for to battle increased operating costs.

    Restaurants, Food Companies Pursue Budget-Minded Consumers as Inflation Persists [The Wall Street JournalBig food companies and restaurant chains are working to appeal to budget-conscious consumers as inflation persists and the U.S. economy wobbles. Companies from Yum Brands  to Kraft Heinz are turning attention to value offerings as consumers shift where they buy groceries and eat out, executives said.

    Wienerschnitzel tests new markets with ghost kitchens [RestaurantDiveWienerschnitzel is testing its brand reception in new markets with three ghost kitchens in Frisco, Texas, Santa Barbara, California and Smyrna, Georgia, the company wrote in a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. The hot dog brand said there is potential to open over 1,000 U.S. ghost kitchens, and expanding to new markets will be a key part of its growth strategy.

    Mall Talk

    Simon Property ownership in retailers could end in 5 to 10 years, CEO says [RetailDiveSimon’s retail portfolio — which includes stakes in the operations of J.C. Penney and Sparc Group, ABG, e-commerce company Rue Gilt Groupe and real estate investment and management company Jamestown — is a minority portion of its operation. David Simon emphasized that they are “not our core focus” and may not remain for long.

    Sustainable Store Design: A New Era for Brick-and-Mortar Strategy [Retail TouchPointsAs sustainability has become increasingly urgent in higher-level executive discussions, store design teams have had to face a new creative reality: that they need to integrate sustainability into every facet of their work, from the raw materials that go into the products they choose to the use of greenery and natural light in the finished designs.

    The Glory Days of the American Mall [The Wall Street JournalIn the 1980s, there were around 2,500 malls in America. We’re down to 700 today. Forecasters expect there to be just 250 in a decade—killed by the internet, by recessions, by social media, Covid and computer games, by an accumulation of trends that’s made many of us, in our darkest hours, long for mullets and acid-washed jeans.

    Macy’s opens more strip mall stores as expansion strategy faces pivotal test [CNBCMacy’s will open five more stores in strip centers, as it shutters more of its giant mall anchors. CEO Jeff Gennette said it’s a pivotal time for the company’s off-mall push, as the retailer decides on expansion plans by year-end. Its 10 off-mall stores, called Market by Macy’s and Bloomie’s, have outperformed the rest of the company.

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