Target's efforts to boost digital sales paid off with a 42% increase in the first quarter, fueled by in-store order fulfillment and Shipt same-day delivery. The retailer expects its digital sales to grow from $5 billion in 2018 to $6 billion this year.
Best Buy customers spent on appliances, tablets and wearable gadgets in the first quarter, fueling sales and earnings growth that beat forecasts. CEO Hubert Joly will step down next month and Chief Financial Officer Corie Barry ascends to the CEO post.
Amazon hardware unit Lab126 is collaborating with the Alexa voice software team to produce a wrist-worn, voice-activated device that can read human emotions, Bloomberg reports. By discerning emotions via the sound of a person's voice, the device could ultimately direct the wearer on how to communicate with others.
The entity running most of IKEA's retail operations, Ingka Group, has made a venture capital investment in India-based digital home design platform Livspace. Livspace users connect with designers and suppliers in a one-stop online shop for interior design.
Alexander, an AI customer service system used by Unilever-owned Schmidt's Naturals, is able to mine data to learn about customers and give them personalized messages, Kristina Monllos writes. CEO Michael Cammarata said Alexander's work equates to that of "20 people."
GE Aviation Digital and Microsoft Azure are developing a parts tracking system using blockchain. "Our vision is being able to trace parts as they are manufactured and the engine when it's shipped. Then how that engine performs in the field, when to repair it and then re-enter it into the field," said GE Aviation Digital's David Havera.
Bath & Body Works will renovate 175 stores, open 46 new ones and shutter 24 locations this year, parent L Brands said during its earnings report. The retailer booked a 13% jump in first-quarter same-store sales, which includes digital channels.
Teen apparel retailer Rue21 is using predictive analytics to help manage merchandising and pricing decisions to avoid the costs associated with underperforming goods. Rue21 works with tech firm First Insight to survey customers and gain feedback on the potential popularity of prospective new items, and the results are part of the data mix that's used to make decisions on prices and selection.
The Folklore, an online store started and run by Amira Rasool, sells exclusive designs from African designers including MmusoMaxwell and Andrea Iyamah. Rasool's initial goal was to bring the fashions of Africa to a global audience, and her 10-year plan includes expanding into brick-and-mortar retail.
Urban Outfitters will handle logistics for its new fashion rental platform, Nuuly, in-house, while others including New York & Company and Express have opted to work with logistics partners such as Caastle. The fashion rental market was valued at about $1 billion last year and is forecast to reach $2.5 billion by 2023, according to GlobalData Retail.
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