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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    August 14 - 20, 2023

    The Week In News, But Shorter
    August 14 – 20, 2023

    Did you read our latest LinkedIn article about what ChatGPT means for commercial real estate? When reading some of the headlines, with more fantastical and consumer-facing applications, it can be hard to imagine what the use-case is for mall-operators and mixed-use developers. But in our article, we break down some practical and low-lift implementations that bring benefits to property owners, tenants, and customers alike. When you consider the benefits, incorporating generative AI and ChatGPT into your portfolio is a no-brainer. Reach out on LinkedIn or let’s chat on ways you should implement it into your business.

    With this in mind, there was no shortage of AI headlines this week, touching everything from sizing to delivery. We also caught up on some major mall owners undergoing changes and structuring, as well as why grocery stores and restaurants are at war.

    Lastly, don’t miss David Blumenfeld next week on ICSC’s webinar, Thursday at 2EST, on “Leveraging AI in the Marketplaces Industry“. David will be joined by Gregg Katz, Head of Product Innovation & Marketing, Retailstat and Deborah Weinswig, Founder & CEO, Coresight Research in a conversation moderated by Ashkán Zandieh, Managing Director, Center for Real Estate Technology & Innovation.


    Digital Meets Physical

    True Fit partners with Shopify to add AI fit recommendations to e-commerce [FashionDiveTrue Fit, an artificial intelligence platform that helps customers determine their size and fit, has partnered with e-commerce platform Shopify. Boston-based True Fit has 82 million active users and hosts hundreds of retailers across menswear, womenswear, children’s, footwear, swim and intimates categories.

    Why brands like Nordstrom and Zappos are revisiting print marketing [DigidayFor the last few years, digital has dominated marketing and advertising budgets. But as the digital space becomes more crowded, big-name retailers like Nordstrom and Zappos are adding print to their marketing mixes, hoping to stand out among competitors and reach more shoppers.

    Amazon Offers Sellers AI Tool to Write Product Descriptions [The InformationAmazon is rolling out an artificial intelligence tool for its sellers that will write copy for product listings marking one of the first examples of Amazon integrating large-language models into its e-commerce business.

    Personal Shopping Platform In-Seam Secures $2 Million in Funding [Business of FashionDepartment stores and luxury brands alike have invested millions in courting VIP customers in recent years, building out tech solutions for store associates to communicate with shoppers and even opening private boutiques for top-spenders. In all of these efforts, personal relationships play a critical role. Enter In-Seam, a shopping platform for stylists, personal shoppers and former high-yielding department store associates. 

    Micro & Last Mile Fulfillment

    Amazon unveils deferred ground delivery service [FreightWavesAmazon  has launched a non-urgent ground delivery service that appears to be aimed in part at shippers that don’t use Amazon for retail ordering or its fulfillment services. The service, called Amazon Shipping, is designed for shippers placing orders through Amazon’s marketplace, a shipper’s own website and “other selling channels.”

    An Uber-backed robot delivery company is going public—but the industry has yet to really deliver [QuartzServe Robotics, the autonomous delivery robot company, announced that it raised $30 million and went public in a reverse merger with Patricia Acquisition Corp. Serve, which says it has over $56 million in new funding, will expand to new markets and deploy up to 2,000 sidewalk robots with Uber Eats. 

    UPS uses AI, machine learning to match network capacity with lower volumes [SupplyChainDiveUPS used technology involving AI and machine learning to help match its network capacity with shrinking volume levels in Q2. The set of technologies allowed UPS to quickly adjust the flow of packages in its U.S. operations as shippers shifted volume to other carriers in the thick of the company’s contract negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

    Restaurants & Ghost Kitchens

    Three ways Covid changed the restaurant industry [CNNBusinessIn March 2020, many US restaurants had to shut their doors during the early days of the Covid pandemic in accordance with local restrictions. Now, over three years later, the restaurant industry is back. But the pandemic ushered in some changes that are here to stay.

    Chains find some success at late night [Restaurant BusinessFast food chains, which frequently had to close early during the pandemic and its labor-shortage-filled aftermath, are opening longer hours and finding more sales during late-night hours.

    Restaurants and Supermarkets Are Brawling Over Your Dollar [The Wall Street JournalSupermarkets and restaurants are ramping up their tug of war for Americans’ stretched food budgets. Grocery chains are revamping prepared meals in delis and buffets, expanding menus and offering more discounts, seeing a chance to woo diners away from restaurants. Retail executives say that U.S. consumers have gotten more discerning about eating out, an opportunity for grocers to offer potentially cheaper, faster alternatives. 

    Mall Talk

    Oxford Properties Announces $28M Renovation Of Yorkdale Mall [Storey’sOxford Properties Group announced a $28M investment and plans to redevelop Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Monday. The renovation, says the company, will take place over the next year and calls for the ‘repositioning’ of stores.

    Outlet malls are booming as brands seek out new retail options [ModernRetailMore retailers are opening up outlet stores to meet shoppers’ demands for deals. This month, Tanger Outlets had a 97.2% occupancy at the end of June, compared to 96.5% in March and 94.9% in June 2022. The previous day, Simon Property Group had a 94.7% occupancy rate at the end of June, compared to 93.9% a year prior.

    Retail’s Looming Threat: Extreme Weather [WWDThe scorching heat persists. Hurricanes are increasingly violent. Wildfires are spreading, and rain, flood, wind and air quality advisories are near routine. For retailers, the bottom line is that extreme weather conditions weigh heavy on traffic patterns. At worst, lives and businesses are destroyed. 

    With $925M LA Mall Refi, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Signals Staying In U.S. After Planning To Sell [BisNowUnibail-Rodamco-Westfield is on the verge of refinancing a $925M loan associated with the 1.4M SF Westfield Century City mall in Southern California, which may mean that the French mall giant will retain some of its investments in U.S. retail. 

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