It’s been another busy month in the world of retail as many blue-chip brands reported earnings and many retailers made their way to ShopTalk in Vegas. We saw headlines about stores shutting physical locations including JCPenney, Victoria’s Secret, Payless, and Gymboree to name a few. And denim brand Diesel USA filed for bankruptcy. But not all was doom and gloom. Gap announced it would spin off Old Navy into a separate company and that it would acquire children’s retailer Janie and Jack. Kohl’s and Target both reported strong earnings and new innovations that have been helping to drive sales.
Here’s a look at some of the other stories that caught our eye over the last few weeks.
1. Digiday looks at the growth of ship-from-store capabilities as Kohl’s and Target look to compete more against Amazon. Kohl’s announced that it’s equipping 135 stores with “enhanced ship-from-store capabilities” this year and also working to encourage more shoppers to buy from home and pick up in store.
2. Experiential retail continues to be more than a buzzword. RetailDive does a deep dive into what experiential brings to store design specifically, highlighting that location, service and share-ability are what matters most. Along the same lines, RISNews examined California Closets’ experiential showrooms, which have boosted sales 20 to 30 percent. And DSW caused a stir when it announced it would be adding nail salons in some stores to attract more millennial women.
3. In tech news, FedEx is experimenting with robots for last-mile delivery for partners like Walmart and Pizza Hut. The robots could become part of Same Day Delivery and travel on sidewalks and roads at 10 miles per hour. In January, Amazon unveiled a robot product called Scout for door-to-door delivery.
4. Amazon reported it will be shutting down its 87 pop-up kiosk locations throughout the US, which have been placed in malls, Whole Foods and Kohls. However, it seems Amazon may be re-thinking its entire physical location strategy. They plan to open a new chain of grocery stores later this year, as well as new bookstores and 4-star stores, which sell only four-star rated Amazon items.