The Kroger Technology & Digital Innovation Lab, a partnership between the retailer and Northern Kentucky University, will officially open today, store officials said. The lab, which is designed to drive digital innovation and also includes scholarships for students, is the latest in a series of Kroger's initiatives with colleges in and around its hometown, Cincinnati, aimed at boosting the store's digital and technological capabilities.
Retail sales grew 4.1% to $730.2 billion during the November and December holiday season, according to NRF, coming close to the top end of the group's holiday forecast that projected growth of between 3.8% and 4.2%. "This is a strong finish to the holiday season, and we think it's a positive indicator of what's ahead," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
Gap has dropped plans to spin off its Old Navy banner into a separate publicly-traded company, the retailer said, citing the expense and other difficulties that would be involved. Sales at Old Navy have softened since Gap first proposed the spinoff last year.
Amazon is buying 40 electric vans for deliveries in Munich as part of its effort to reach carbon neutrality in 20 years. Deutsche Post's StreetScooter unit, which is selling the vans to Amazon, has set up 60 charging stations at an Amazon fulfillment center near the city.
Whole Foods Market is revamping the look of its 365 private label brand, with changes that include using a black background instead of the current multicolor label and changing the tagline to say simply: "Whole Foods Market." The changes were reported by the IGD research firm at one of Whole Foods' stores in New York City and the updates, which are expected to start rolling out in other areas soon, would be the brand's first in several years.
UK supermarket chain ASDA is adding refill stations at one of its stores, where customers can use their own containers to buy rice, pasta, cereal and tea. The trial period will begin in May and last for a minimum of three months.
Starbucks will open or renovate 85 stores in low-income urban and rural communities over the next five years, bringing the total number of these community stores to 100. The chain will also work with the United Way to create job training and education programs in each store.
Coca-Cola's Powerade brand is adding two zero-calorie lines: Powerade Ultra with 50% more electrolytes than the original launching Jan. 20 and Powerade Power Water set to debut Feb. 10. The brand is also redesigning the bottle and label for all Powerade products.
Bottega Veneta has become luxury conglomerate Kering's fastest-growing label since Daniel Lee took over as the brand's creative director two years ago. Sales at Bottega Veneta grew 7% in the second half of last year, and the brand has been in high demand among buyers for retailers including Harrods and Saks Fifth Avenue.
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