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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    October 16 - 22, 2023




    The Week In News, But Shorter
    October 16 – 22, 2023



    Last week we referenced a report that found shopping mall visits were down in September, however this week we’re happy to reference a report that found September retail sales were up, in fact even outpacing estimates. These contrasting points are really an interesting way of seeing why a 360 view of your portfolio is important – both online and offline. When mall visits are down, it’s possible online purchases are up, and vice-versa. Looking at either one in a silo can give a distorted representation of trends. Are your views integrated yet?

    This week we also caught up on the latest entrant to the retail space (and unexpected one at that!), Amazon’s plans for continued drone deployment, and the target audience for some food delivery providers. We’re over on LinkedIn as usual and hoping you’ll join us there!

    Digital Meets Physical

    Amazon says October Prime Day outpaced last year’s event [CNBCThis year’s fall Prime Day “outpaced” last year’s event. Prime members scooped up more than 150 million items, but shoppers have shunned big-ticket purchases in favor of stocking up on essentials such as protein powder and batteries.

    HomeGoods is abruptly shutting down its online shopping site [InsiderHomeGoods is shutting down its online store. The discount home decor chain, which is owned by TJX Companies, sent an email to customers Wednesday announcing that it would stop offering online shopping after October 21.

    A big climate change stress test is coming for Amazon sellers and suppliers [CNBCAs Amazon and other big businesses ramp up efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, they’re putting pressure on their suppliers to do the same, and those who don’t may pay a big price. Starting in 2024, Amazon will require suppliers to share their emissions data, set emissions goals, and report on their progress. With that move, it joins Microsoft, Walmart, Apple, and others in saying that suppliers must step up decarbonization efforts.

    Micro & Last Mile Fulfillment

    Amazon Introducing Warehouse Overhaul With Robotics to Speed Deliveries [The Wall Street JournalAmazon is introducing an array of new artificial intelligence and robotics capabilities into its warehouse operations that will reduce delivery times and help identify inventory more quickly. The revamp will change the way Amazon moves products through its fulfillment centers with new AI-equipped sortation machines and robotic arms.

    Self-Checkout Is a Failed Experiment [The AtlanticAll is not rosy in the world of self-checkout, and some companies seem to realize it. Walmart has removed the kiosks entirely from a handful of stores, and is redesigning others to involve more employee help. Costco is stationing more staffers in its self-checkout areas. ShopRite is adding cashiers back into stores where it had trialed a self-checkout-only model, citing customer backlash.

    Amazon promises speedy drone deliveries in the UK [MashableAmazon has announced the upcoming launch of ultra-fast drone deliveries in the UK., Italy, and one more U.S. state. The online retailer said the service will arrive in these new locations by the end of 2024.

    Restaurants & Ghost Kitchens

    They’re Sedentary, They’re Hungry, They’re Powering America’s Biggest Food-Delivery Company [The Wall Street JournalFood-delivery companies enjoyed breakneck expansion during the pandemic, and then confronted a slowdown as the country started venturing out again. So DoorDash, the nation’s biggest one, turned to a group that sometimes still behaves like it’s stuck in lockdown—people who spend hours a day playing videogames.

    The best-performing malls have this restaurant in common [Restaurant BusinessWant to know how your local mall is doing? See if it has a Cheesecake Factory. Malls that count the casual dining chain as a tenant tend to be healthier than those that don’t, according to an analysis this month by Moody’s Analytics. The researcher looked at malls with and without Cheesecakes and found that the have-nots are four times more likely to be behind on their loans.

    Ever heard of ghost kitchens? These virtual restaurants are changing the delivery industry [USA TodayThe popularity of food delivery services skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth in popularity of these apps during the pandemic also grew the number of ghost kitchens. What exactly is a ghost kitchen? Dig into the reality of ghost kitchens and how they work.

    Mall Talk

    Netflix to Open Stores Where Fans Can Play, Shop and Eat in 2025 [BloombergNetflix Inc. plans to open new destinations where fans can immerse themselves in the worlds of their favorite TV shows, shop for clothing, eat themed food and maybe even try a Squid Game obstacle course.Dubbed Netflix House, the venues will feature a mix of retail, dining and live experiences.

    Retailers’ Seasonal Hiring Plans Signal a Cooling Labor Market [The New York TimesAs the most important selling season for retailers approaches, job applicants may feel a chill. Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods plan to hire fewer seasonal workers after a surge in the past two years, when shoppers thronged to stores after pandemic lockdowns and employers struggled to keep up. Many retailers have dropped the incentives they used over the past few years to bring workers in the doors, such as signing or referral bonuses and steeper employee discounts.

    ‘You can’t fight the traffic patterns’: To enter new neighborhoods, big-box stores are developing smaller formats [ModernRetailIn a bid to enter city shopping centers and new neighborhoods, retailers are opening new stores that look quite different from their traditional big-box layout. Macy’s recently announced its plans to open up to 30 new small-format shops, which are situated in off-mall shopping centers. Ikea previously told Modern Retail that it was developing small-format stores in an attempt to be in areas where its traditional large stores aren’t located.

    Retail sales rose 0.7% in September, much stronger than estimate [CNBCRetail sales rose 0.7% on the month, well above the 0.3% Dow Jones estimate. Excluding autos, sales were up 0.6%, also well ahead of the forecast for just 0.2%. Sales gains were broad-based on the month, with the biggest increase coming at miscellaneous store retailers, which saw an increase of 3%. Online sales rose 1.1%.


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