News Briefs

11/28/2022

Allbirds Opens Large-Format Store in Boston

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allbirds website

Sustainable footwear retailer Allbirds has launched a large-format store in Boston within the Prudential Center. With sustainability at the forefront, the store clearly displays the carbon footprint of each product. 

The new store — Allbirds’ largest yet — spans 3,700 square feet and uses natural materials, including custom wood try-on chairs and displays and a New England-sourced service desk. 

The store also features special-edition wooden pins inspired by The Fen’s turtle population as an homage to Boston. Additionally, customers can find tote bags featuring the area’s local bird, the yellow-crowned night heron. 

[Read more: Allbirds Says Stores Remain a Powerful Tool]

Between Dec. 2 and 4, customers can receive complimentary product customization from local artist Goody Great. New products include a plastic-free vegan plant leather sneaker and the store also features popular items such as the Wool Runner, Tree Flyer, and Fluff Collection. 

“Boston is really starting to feel like home for us at Allbirds, and we are so excited to be opening our fifth — and largest — store in the region,” said Tim Brown, Allbird’s co-founder and co-CEO in a statement. “Boston is a city that has always been at the cutting edge of cultural innovation, and we are delighted that locals have embraced our brand and mission.”

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11/21/2022

Target Rolls Out Drive Up Starbucks Option at Select Stores

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Target Drive Up shoppers will now be able to pick up a to-go Starbucks coffee alongside their groceries and household essentials.

Since early November, the retailer has added Starbucks with Drive Up options to 240 Target stores in California, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and West Virginia. According to the store, this is a first-of-its-kind service rolled out at this scale, with Target working on developing the capabilities from late 2021 and testing the service with team members this summer.

Drive Up guests can place orders as usual in the Target app. After receiving notification their order is ready, shoppers should notify baristas they are on their way. Team members will then prepare their beverages ready for when guests arrive, park their car in the designated area and press the “I’m Here” button in the app to let team members know they can bring out the orders. 

[See Also: First Look: Starbucks' Immersive New York Reserve Store]

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for the retailer and the coffee chain. Starbucks and Target’s long standing partnership spans 20-years and 1700 stores. These new capabilities will build on Target’s plan to utilize the company’s nearly 2,000 stores as fulfillment hubs. Digital business has more than doubled over the last two years, with Order Pickup, Drive Up and Same-Day Delivery with Shipt accounting for more than half of these sales.

Target announced their plans to roll-out the curbside service earlier this year. Commenting at the time, Mark Schindele, Target’s chief stores officer, said the additions were driven by customer insights and feedback: “our guests continue to tell us they love the ease and convenience of Drive Up, and have been asking us to add even more of the Target experience to the service. Adding Starbucks ordering and easy returns, while expanding our backup item options, will give guests even more of what they love about shopping at Target, quickly and easily.”

11/17/2022

Fractal Launches New Company: Asper.ai

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Artificial intelligence and advanced analytics provider Fractal has launched a new company dedicated to the retail and CPG industries. 

Known as Asper.ai, the new company seeks to provide an end-to-end AI platform, unifying demand planning, sales and distribution, inventory planning, and pricing and promotion. The tech strives to alleviate tight budgets in retail and consumer goods, and its test release has been shown to help businesses unlock nearly 10 percent top-line and bottom-line growth, according to the company. 

These users were also reportedly able to free 40 to 60 percent of their existing manual bandwidth so they could focus on more strategic initiatives, said Fractal. 

“The opportunity for AI to unlock efficiency and drive growth is massive,” said Pranay Agrawal, Fractal co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “At Fractal, we are constantly looking for ways to help consumer brands tap into new revenue and growth opportunities and Asper.ai is the next step on the journey.”

This article first appeared on the site of sister publication CGT. 

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11/07/2022

United Airlines Opens Grab-and-Go Club Lounge at Denver Airport

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 United Airlines has opened a new, smaller-format club at Denver Airport. The “grab-and-go” concept lounge is only around 1,600-square-foot and is located on the airport’s Concourse B-East expansion. 

The lounge is open to United Club members, international travelers in premium cabins, and United Club one-time pass holders, who will have access to a range of to-go snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and hot beverages. According to the company website, membership can be purchased for $650 a year for the majority of members of its frequent flier program, while users of certain credit cards will also have access to membership deals. 

According to a recent survey conducted with United MileagePlus members, more than half of airport club and lounge visitors prefer to take their snacks and items to go, the airline said. This latest venture is a response to this sentiment, along with the fact that more than two-thirds of United customers are passing through Denver on connecting flights. 

[See Also: Fully Autonomous Delivery Robots Roam CVG Airport]

Unlike standard airport lounges – where guests may kill a couple of hours before their flights – the United Club Fly is a smaller space intended for travelers to make a quick pit-stop before heading off again. In fact, the club only provides 16 seats and standing bar space for up to eight people. Visitors can enter the club by self-scanning their boarding passes and exiting via a turnstile. However, visitors are not permitted to bring guests. 

“United Club Fly is all about elevated convenience. We know there are times when our members are in a hurry and use our clubs to sneak a quick drink or snack, so we've created this new format to make it easy for them to do that without sacrificing an upscale club environment,” said marketing & loyalty VP and MileagePlus President, Luc Bondar. “In Denver, more than two-thirds of our customers are connecting to other places, making it the ideal city to introduce this concept.”

 

11/07/2022

Sam's Club Partners With Indoor Agriculture Company

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Sam's Club and Local Bounti Corporation have announced an offtake agreement for the indoor agriculture company's leafy greens production starting at its advanced greenhouse facility in Byron, Georgia.

"This exciting commercial development represents a powerful endorsement of our dedicated team that works tirelessly to deliver the highest quality locally grown produce to our customers," stated Brian Cook, president of Local Bounti.

"We will continue to pursue sound capital allocation with a keen eye on capital efficiency as we further expand our operations.  Today's announcement demonstrates the advantages of our existing national relationships and how that knowledge informs the advancement of our facility network."

Local Bounti will implement its Stack & Flow Technology at the new facility in Georgia, further enhancing capacity to meet existing demand. Stack & Flow Technology, Local Bounti's proprietary method of indoor farming, combines the best aspects of vertical farming and greenhouse growing technologies to deliver higher yields of diverse leafy greens at superior unit economics.  Through this process, Local Bounti can grow produce in an environmentally friendly manner that increases harvest efficiency and reduces the cost and carbon footprint of the production and distribution process. The technology is over 30 times more productive per acre than traditional agriculture.

11/01/2022

Saks Launches Beauty Recycling Program

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Saks and TerraCycle have unveiled the Saks Beauty Recycling program. The new program introduces a new, convenient solution for customers to give empty beauty containers a second life through Saks.com and at Saks Fifth Avenue stores across the U.S.

"Through the Saks Beauty Recycling program, we are providing customers with a convenient solution for recycling a wide variety of empty beauty packaging from all brands," said Kate Oldham, SVP, Beauty at Saks. "We are proud to introduce this program to our platform as an extension of the Saks shopping experience and a way to empower our customers to embrace more sustainable practices."

Customers can now mail in their eligible empty beauty containers by using prepaid shipping labels that are downloadable via Saks.com. Customers can also drop off eligible empty containers in a designated collection bin at their local Saks Fifth Avenue store. All collected waste is then sorted by category based on composition, such as plastics and metals, and consolidated and sent for processing to become new raw resources that are transformed into new products, like furniture and gardening equipment.

The Saks Beauty Recycling program accepts empty hair care, skin care and cosmetic packaging from all brands - including those sold on Saks.com and in Saks Fifth Avenue stores - as well as from other retailers. For the full list of accepted items, visit Saks.com/beautyrecycling.  

"At Saks, we recognize that our day-to-day decisions can have a significant impact on our environment," said Cara Chacon, SVP, ESG, Saks. "With our partnership with TerraCycle, we hope to inspire our customers to join us in these initial efforts to reduce waste caused by difficult-to-recycle packaging and keep otherwise non-recyclable plastic packaging out of landfills."

"With the launch of this sustainable initiative, Saks is encouraging their customers to reduce waste by providing them with two unique opportunities to responsibly recycle their hair care, skin care and cosmetic packaging," said Tom Szaky, CEO and Founder of TerraCycle. "The innovative collaboration between Saks and TerraCycle allows consumers to seamlessly divert traditionally non-recyclable beauty waste from landfills."

The Saks Beauty Recycling program is open to any individual, family, school or community group. To learn more about the program in partnership with TerraCycle, please visit Saks.com/beautyrecycling.