Sobeys will rebrand about 65 of its namesake and Safeway stores in Western Canada and transition them to its FreshCo discount grocery banner starting next year, the company said. The supermarket operator has 91 FreshCo stores in Ontario and it's expanding the concept as the discount arena grows more competitive with concepts from Loblaw, Costco and Walmart.
Minnesota's Mall of America launched a chatbot this week designed to help users plan their holiday shopping before heading to the mall. The bot is available via Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, as well as on the mall's app, website and Facebook page.
Walmart will offer its 1.5 million US employees financial planning tools that will let them access part of their pay before payday, in an effort to help them avoid payday loans and bounced checks when unexpected expenses crop up. Employees will be able to access the Instapay tool eight times per year for free.
Sephora's innovation in e-commerce, in-store technology and virtual marketing have helped the beauty retailer meld in-store and online retail experiences and stay competitive in the digital age. "People want to experience things both ways -- the conversation is less about splitting the channels and more about leveraging the trend," said Sephora marketing executive Deborah Yeh.
About 11% of American households now have smart speakers, per a comScore report, and the adoption of this technology is driving the adoption of other smart home products. Owners of smart speakers are more than six times more likely than nonowners to own smart lighting and more than three times more likely to use a smart hub, based on Statista figures.
Amazon has enabled a way for Alexa users to control their Twitch streaming accounts, discover new streams and get notifications on the ones they follow. The feature offers audio control via voice command for the platform, though it doesn't currently allow hands-free streaming.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay has landed on LinkedIn's list of this year's Top Voices in retail for his articles on industry and economic trends. LinkedIn contributors on the list covered a range of topical issues this year, from the evolving face of brick-and-mortar retail to the ways Amazon and Walmart are driving industry change.
Native Shoes in Vancouver, British Columbia, has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in the city's Gastown neighborhood. The lightweight shoe company will showcase its animal-free styles and set aside space where customers will be able to host events with artists.
Convenience store retailer 7-Eleven is testing an app at 10 Dallas-area stores that allows shoppers to place mobile orders for in-store pickup or delivery. The app, dubbed 7-ElevenNow, will be offered in other markets next year, and it builds on 7-Eleven's Postmates delivery service.
US retail sales rose a higher-than-expected 0.8% in November from the previous month, as holiday shoppers got off to a strong start, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday. Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 2.1%, and spending was up across the board, from furniture and home improvement retailers to clothing and sporting goods stores.
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