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    The Week In News, But Shorter

    November 6 - 12, 2023

    The Week In News, But Shorter
    November 6 – 12, 2023

    The holiday shopping season is well underway with early Black Friday sales already taking place. And while we’ve seen a few reports with positive indications of how sales will trend for the season overall, we were especially intrigued by a report out from ICSC on the role that Gen Z is playing on in-store, and specifically mall-based shopping. While Gen Z spends large portions of their lives online, their unique shopping and social preferences are pushing them toward offline for the holidays. Anecdotally, when visiting one of the largest malls in the country recently, I can attest that Gen Z was out and about in full force. Are you seeing this in your centers? Are you implementing any tactics to drive their interest? We’re curious how this is playing out IRL – let us know over on LinkedIn.

    Other big news this week came in the form of a massive Series A closing round for a logistics platform that many mall operators are familiar with. And speaking of Gen Z, while they love in-store shopping they certainly also still shop online and their platforms of preference are trying to make that easier (or at least more efficient). Lastly, we recently spoke about retail theft, and one major city is making investments to stop the bleeding.

    Digital Meets Physical

    Amazon shuttering Amazon Style brick-and-mortar apparel format [Chain Store AgeAmazon is ending its sojourn into brick-and-mortar fashion apparel retailing. The retailer is closing its two Amazon Style stores, a format designed to combine the personalization of e-commerce with the immediacy of physical retail. The first store opened in May 2022 at The Americana at Brand, Glendale, Calif., followed by a second location at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio in October 2022. Both locations will close by Thursday, Nov. 9.

    Anime streaming service Crunchyroll partners with Walmart on in-store pods [ModernRetailAnime entertainment company Crunchyroll is partnering with Walmart on a new retail experience. The company is best known as a streaming service of anime content — it boasts more than 12 million paid users. But a big part of its business is commerce: it has an online store for all things anime and manga, as well as has launched exclusive product sales and experiences for many years.

    Google makes it easier to shop small businesses this holiday using AI, other new features [RetailDiveGoogle announced last week new features for merchants to help them show up more easily in search and on Google Maps this holiday season, according to a company blog post. U.S. businesses on its Merchant Center platform can now add a small business attribute in which a small icon along with a written label describing the business is displayed on the listing. The labels will make it easier for shoppers to narrow their searches, according to the post.

    Digital Signage, Analytics Solutions Help Walmart Capture Shopper Information [AVNetworkThe integrated Navori Labs QL digital signage and Aquaji analytics solution allows Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica to gather customer engagement metrics and offer valuable analytics, including shopper demographics, to DOOH advertising partners that advertise their brands across their in-store digital media networks.

    Micro & Last Mile Fulfillment

    Ikea Canada leaning on automation as it overhauls fulfilment network: new CEO [BNN BloombergThe store’s transformation is only one of the initiatives the company has underway to boost efficiency across its supply chain. Other stores will get the same revamp as Ikea Canada pours $400 million into overhauling its fulfilment networks in the Greater Vancouver and Toronto areas.

    TikTok Is Bringing Logistics to the E-Commerce Dance [The Wall Street JournalTikTok, the viral video-sharing platform, is betting heavily on logistics as it tries to turn its outsize streaming audience into a big share of the U.S. e-commerce market. The social-media app is setting up a network of warehouses and fulfillment operations, taking on nuts-and-bolts tasks such as managing inventory and delivery from the array of independent merchants that are selling goods to TikTok’s legions of followers.

    Fillogic Closes $13 Million in Series A Funding to Pioneer Channel-Free Logistics [Fillogic]  Fillogic, the leading technology platform for channel-free logistics, is thrilled to announce the closing of its $13 million Series A funding round, led by Revelry Venture Partners (“RVP”). This capital will fast-track Fillogic’s product development and nationwide expansion of its highly efficient, sustainable logistics technology ecosystem.

    Walmart, Amazon see gains in fulfillment pivots as holidays near [RetailDiveWith the winter holidays approaching, Amazon and Walmart are touting the recent improvements in speed and efficiency seen due to shifts in their fulfillment strategies. This holiday season will mark the first one that Walmart customers will begin feeling the benefits of the retailer’s “next generation supply chain,” the company announced this week.

    Restaurants & Ghost Kitchens

    A virtual restaurant brand run by robots is operating inside Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens [InsiderWellness food brand Better Days is officially debuting inside CloudKitchens and can only be found on delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats. Better Days joins restaurants like White Castle, Chipotle, and Sweetgreen in testing robots that perform kitchen tasks such as assembling rice bowls, peeling avocados, and making french fries.

    Wingstop drops Olo in favor of $50M in-house tech [RestaurantDiveWingstop, which accounts for 3% of Olo’s revenue and 1,800 of the 78,000 locations using its technology, will leave Olo’s platform for its own technology when the contract between the two expires at the end of fiscal Q1 2024. Last week, Wingstop CEO Michael Skipworth said that the brand “built a platform with the most modern technology within our tech stack,” and will roll it out in Q2 2024.

    Why more restaurant chains are opting to switch to DIY technology solutions [Nation’s Restaurant NewsIn-house technology solutions could be the next frontier for the restaurant industry. This quarter, several major public restaurant chains mentioned investing in proprietary technology during earnings calls—ranging from one-off applications to entire operating systems built from scratch

    Mall Talk

    One of America’s largest mall operators to close shopping centers on Thanksgiving Day [USA TodaySimon Properties, one of the largest mall operators in the United States, has decided to close most of its properties on Thanksgiving Day for the fourth consecutive year. The decision continues a trend that has seen not only malls but also major retailers including Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, and Walmart which have pledged to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day.

    Gen Z Shoppers Transforming Holiday Retail: The Rise Of In-Store Experience [ForbesAs malls across the country prepare for the holiday season, Gen Z shoppers are emerging as a significant force in the shopping landscape. According to the “The Rise of the Gen Z Consumer” report from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Gen Z’s unique preferences and behaviors are not only shaping the retail industry but also having a profound impact on the economy.

    New York Launches Task Force to Fight Retail Theft [WWDNew York City is taking aim at retail crime. On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams launched a task force to support implementation of his plan to combat retail theft across the city. The task force will be led by Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks 3rd, with New York Attorney General Letitia James.

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