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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    September 11 - 17, 2023




    The Week In News, But Shorter
    September 11 – 17, 2023



    We haven’t talked about it much in this newsletter, but we’re well aware of the headlines around rising crime rates in retail, and this week two headlines on the topic caught our eye. The first was reporting that the Mall of America has augmented their security with new intelligent cameras both throughout their physical locations and attached to security personnel. In the same article, it was mentioned that Crocker Park in Westlake, Ohio, recently deployed an autonomous, AI-driven security robot. While security in malls isn’t new, the technology is and it’s more important than ever. The other headline that caught our eye on this topic reported that American Eagle is suing Westfield San Francisco for ‘neglect’ and ‘turning a blind eye to rampant criminal activity.’ Keeping your property safe is crucial to customer satisfaction, and increasingly, tenant satisfaction. We’re keeping a pulse on the latest technologies related to this need and here to discuss when you’re ready.

    This week we also read about last-mile delivery costs (a reason we suggest mall operators consider providing this offering to retails to reach economies of scale…), a change in tone from a European mall operator, and some new social shopping tools. Anything we’re missing from these newsletters? Let us know over on LinkedIn.

    Scheduling note: we will be on brief hiatus next week, but back in your inboxes on October 2nd.

    Digital Meets Physical

    Mall of America augments security officers with smart cameras [Chain Store AgeMall of America is deploying intelligent cameras throughout its physical environment and also attached to its security personnel. Mall of America has equipped security officers with Axis “body worn” cameras designed to capture ztheir surroundings for suspicious activity.

    Good American Makes Good on its Brand Promise with Smart Fitting Room Tech [Retail TouchpointsCrave’s Smart Fitting Room uses RFID technology to automatically recognize items brought into the fitting room, triggering a personalized digital display and a series of features that streamline the customer experience.

    EBay’s new AI tool generates product listings from photos [RetailDiveAlongside other major retailers adding AI features, eBay has introduced its “magical listing” tool, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze and summarize details about products from images. The company also improved its image background removal tool, enabling sellers to share better product images.

    TikTok Shop launches in US [RetailDiveTikTok Shop went live in the U.S. The move adds an e-commerce element to the popular app and will enable its 150 million U.S.-based users to find and shop for products within the app. The initiative brings shoppable videos and live streams directly to users’ feeds.

    Micro & Last Mile Fulfillment

    Last-Mile Delivery Costs Retailers a Fortune. Is It Sustainable? [ForbesToday, you can drive through just about any residential neighborhood in the US, and for every UPS truck you might see, you’ll pass a dozen vans (Amazon, Walmart, Target among them) plus herds of rental trucks and unmarked cargo vans.

    Frictionless checkout company Grabango lays off employees across several departments [GroceryDiveGrabango, the frictionless checkout provider that’s made its way into several convenience store chains and has touted plans to integrate its tech inside supermarkets, has laid off an undisclosed number of employees. The reduction in force (RIF) made last week impacted team members across Grabango’s marketing, engineering and sales departments, according to LinkedIn posts written by several impacted employees.

    Walmart expands Express Delivery to 10 pm [RetailDiveWalmart on Tuesday said it’s expanded its delivery hours. With Late-Night Express Delivery, customers who order by 9:30 p.m. will get their orders delivered by 10 p.m. The retailer previously offered delivery until 8 p.m.

    Amazon Continues Push Beyond its Own Ecosystem with Debut of ‘Supply Chain by Amazon’ [Retail TouchpointsThe pandemic made “supply chain” a commonplace term, and now Amazon wants to make it a commonplace service. The tech giant announced the debut of a new suite of solutions for sellers called “Supply Chain by Amazon,” described as “an end-to-end, fully automated set of supply chain services that will provide sellers with a complete solution to quickly and reliably move products directly from their manufacturers to customers.”

    Restaurants & Ghost Kitchens

    Tipping in restaurants falls for the first time in years. Blame ‘tip fatigue’ [CNBCAfter holding steady for years, tipping at full-service restaurants fell to 19.4% in the second quarter of 2023, according to online restaurant platform Toast’s most recent restaurant trends report, notching the lowest average since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Chick-fil-A tests robot servers [RestaurantDiveChick-fil-A is testing autonomous robots in a handful of its restaurant dining rooms. The robots deliver food to tables with staff helping refill beverages, clean tables and provide hospitality to guests. Chick-fil-A has tested autonomous robots in the past, with a pilot in Austin, Texas, in 2022, and another in Santa Monica, California, a year earlier.

    Mall Talk

    Amazon’s Makeover of Lord & Taylor Building Shows Challenge of Office Conversions [The Wall Street JournalAmazon.com unveiled its new Manhattan office at the former Lord & Taylor flagship department store, a transformation that highlights how complex office conversions can be. Turning a Fifth Avenue department store that is more than a century old into a modern office came with plenty of challenges. Amazon had to add bathrooms, kitchens, new elevators and stairs wide enough for a rush of office workers. And then there is the lack of daylight.

    A Mall Owner’s About-Face: Bet on America’s High-End Malls [The Wall Street JournalThe European owner of Westfield malls is pulling back from its aggressive plan to sell nearly all its properties and exit from the U.S. market this year, another vote of confidence for the high-end mall business.

    New Kohl’s CEO confirms plans underway for a completely different store style after former exec teased 100 new locations [The U.S.. SunKOHL’S fans are in for a big change, as the company’s new CEO has teased plans for an entirely new type of store. The new locations will be 45,000 square feet smaller than a traditional Kohl’s store, but they will still offer bargains on thousands of items.

    Not Dead Yet: U.S. Malls Thrive Thanks to Gen Z and the Omnichannel Experience [MarketScaleContrary to predictions of their decline, US malls are adapting in innovative ways to the evolving retail landscape. In 2022, foot traffic surged, with top-tier malls seeing a 12% rise from 2019 levels, and their lower-tier counterparts experiencing a 10% increase. These bustling corridors reported impressive revenues: top-tier malls generated $7.5 billion, while lower-tier venues recorded $6.4 billion, with the latter boasting a growth rate of nearly 9%.

    American Eagle sues Westfield San Francisco Centre over ‘neglect’ and ‘turning a blind eye to rampant criminal activity’ [RetailDiveAmerican Eagle Outfitters this week sued Westfield San Francisco Centre, alleging neglect of the location, involving its decision to cede the property to its lender, and including “neglecting its obligations to maintain the Common Areas under the Lease and turning a blind eye to ‘rampant criminal activity’ occurring at the mall,” per court documents.


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