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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    August 21 - 27, 2023

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    The Week In News, But Shorter
    August 21 – 27, 2023

    An article this week in CNN Business this week was music to our ears – a positive view on mall properties. And while the refrain of “the mail is NOT dying” is not new, to us, it never gets old. The piece noted that foot traffic is up in top-tier and lower-tier malls, occupancy rates are high (with waiting lists in some areas), and sales have increased. And one of our favorite points, is that physical retail and e-commerce are not enemies, rather each format bolsters the other. We know this is not a new tune for you either, but it’s always nice to see the data to back it up and reputable pundits speaking on the topic, like Deborah Weinswig, Coresight CEO who is quoted in the article. Deborah also participated in the recent  panel covering AI in the property space that David spoke on last week with ICSC – did you catch it?

    This week two big box retailers announced different plans for more local deliveries, our beliefs about the prospect of smaller format stores continues to pan out, and restaurants continue to adapt to customer preferences. We’re keeping the conversation going over on LinkedIn as usual – join us!


    Digital Meets Physical

    Why a Zara Store Bet Big on the Maxi Dress This Summer [The Wall Street JournalZara is going local, giving store managers control over their shop’s inventory, displays and designs. The strategy relies heavily on its proprietary data system and a willingness to break the standard fashion-chain practice of making centralized decisions on stores’ behalf. 

    Standard AI Adds Google Tools to Speed Checkout [PYMNTSStandard AI said it’s using Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence (AI) tools to improve checkout. The autonomous retail technology company announced it was integrating Google Cloud into its checkout offering, and getting access to Google Cloud’s Vertex AI tools. 

    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.

    Micro & Last Mile Fulfillment

    Target Goes Local to Speed Up Order Deliveries [The Wall Street Journal] Target said its move to add regional hubs with specific roles to its supply chain over the past five years has helped pare its inventories, deliver online orders faster and speed up store replenishment. Target has been trying to hold less inventory and trim shipping costs by placing goods closer to customers. The strategy has also included fulfilling more online orders out of stores.

    Walmart, Alphabet’s Wing team up for drone delivery in Texas [GroceryDiveWalmart and Wing, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, announced they are teaming up to offer drone delivery from two stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year. Wing drones can provide deliveries in under 30 minutes and use a tether to deliver items like household essentials and groceries to customers’ homes.

    Giant Food to close 3 e-commerce facilities [GroceryDiveGiant Food plans to close three regional e-commerce distribution centers this fall as part of an effort by the mid-Atlantic grocery chain to provide delivery services using a “localized fulfillment model”.

    Restaurants & Ghost Kitchens

    More Restaurants Add Designated Pickup Areas as Consumers Shift to Carryout [PYMNTS Research has tracked what share of consumers have seen different technologies available during their most recent restaurant purchase. The results reveal that, between spring and this summer, the share of restaurants that had designated pickup areas grew significantly, rising from 34% in April to 40% in June of this year.

    Are restaurant websites obsolete? [Nation’s Restaurant NewsTen years ago, the president of a global restaurant brand dropped a bold statement on me: “Restaurant websites will be obsolete soon.” At the time, I confidently argued that he was incorrect in his assessment and supplied strong counterpoints. While I stand by those points to this day, their premises have shifted in small but notable ways. 

    Robotics is the future of food’: Artisan pizza restaurant Moto makes automation a key ingredient [GeekWire“When that light bulb went off, I was all in,” he said. “I was thinking about machinery, robotics, the labor shortage and all those kinds of things. It lit a fire. And now I see it as the future. Robotics is the future of food.”

    Mall Talk

    Macy’s is opening more small stores in the West and Northeast in a bid to lure new customers [Associated PressNordstrom, Kohl’s, Macy’s upscale sister Bloomingdale’s, as well as big box stores like Target, have been expanding to small formats for several years. But the trend gained momentum after the pandemic shifted more shopping to the suburbs and away from cities.

    The US mall is not dying [CNN BusinessRetail experts have long sounded the alarm on malls in the US. But malls are not going extinct, they are merely adapting to a new environment. In fact, many have reported robust occupancy levels and bigger crowds than before the pandemic, according to a recent market analysis from Coresight Research.

    ‘There are superior business models’: Why department stores are losing sales [ModernRetailWhat’s behind the slipping interest in department stores? Retail insiders say a few factors are at play, including product assortment, pricing strategy and value performance. Over the past few months, department stores have seen some categories do better than others.




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