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News Briefs

Staying on top of breaking news in the retail industry is a commitment Retail TouchPoints editors take seriously. Each day, we publish the latest information in this News Briefs section. Up-to-the-minute stories cover retail implementations, new product announcements, financial updates, executive appointments and overall global updates affecting every aspect of the retail industry.

WalmartLabs Rolls Out New Product Content Collection System

walmartlabs1Walmart is testing a new program designed to help suppliers send their catalogs directly to the retailer, according to a WalmartLabs blog post.

For the pilot program, called the Product Content Collect System (PCCS), Walmart will provide a framework for sharing catalog data based on a specification, including a list of attributes, requirement levels and data transfer protocols. By collecting this catalog data, Walmart aims to share accurate, comprehensive product information with customers to further improve the shopping experience. Additionally, having the full product catalog allows Walmart to build and launch products if and when the retailer decides to sell them, according to the post.

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Garnet Hill Opens First Pop-Up Shop In New York

Garnet Hill has opened its first physical store, a pop-up location, in Bridgehampton, N.Y., in an effort to give consumers an authentic touch-and-feel experience for its merchandise. Garnet Hill celebrated the opening on June 27 during a co-sponsored event with Hamptons Cottages & Gardens magazine and its Editor-in-Chief, Kendell Cronstrom.

The store will operate through Labor Day and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. The store will feature Garnet Hill bedding and home décor lines, cashmere robes and a curated selection of sleepwear, apparel and other seasonal items.

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Amazon Tests “Treasure Truck” Service In Seattle

Amazon has introduced the Treasure Truck delivery service in the Seattle area, which provides consumers with access to limited-quantity goods on sale every day.

The Treasure Truck will begin delivering products to select pickup locations in Seattle neighborhoods on June 27 at 7 a.m. PT. Consumers can purchase from the Treasure Truck by using the Amazon mobile shopping app, clicking the “Buy Now” button and choosing a convenient location and time slot. Consumers also can show up at a pickup location and purchase a product on the spot.

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NCR Unveils New Commerce Hub At Synergy 2015

NCR One CommerceRetailers are at a crossroads: They’re currently forced to focus on day-to-day operations and tasks. But now more than ever, they must focus on innovation and differentiating from their competitors.

NCR is striving to help retailers achieve operational excellence and innovation with the NCR Retail ONE commerce hub, which is designed to create an open ecosystem of applications and data. This open ecosystem integrates with an omnichannel software platform, which helps retailers create a frictionless shopping experience for customers.

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CVS Health Opens Digital Innovation Lab In Boston

CVS has opened a Digital Innovation Lab in Boston, focused on developing digital services and personalization capabilities to make the personal pharmacy and health experience more accessible and integrated for shoppers.  The facility also will serve as a hub for the digital team at CVS Health, which will remain headquartered in Woonsocket, R.I.  With the introduction of the lab, CVS is doubling its investment in the digital arena, according to Brian Tilzer, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer for CVS Health.

The lab is designed to bring digital innovation strategies to market quickly through a rapid test-and-learn program. The team will explore digital health through innovation in mobile, personalization, multi-channel e-Commerce, connected health and digital therapeutics. CVS Health also will pace its innovation by partnering with selected startups and mature companies in the digital and health care space.

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Petco Introduces “PetcoNow”

Petco announced the launch of PetcoNow, an on-demand delivery service in pet specialty retail.

PetcoNow is powered by Instacart, a service which allows shoppers to order groceries online and have “personal shoppers” deliver them to their home. With Instacart, PetcoNow gives pet owners access to Petco products that can be delivered in as little as one hour. The service provides customers with a selection of approximately 13,000 Petco products, including food, treats, toys and supplies for pets.

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McDonald's Shrinking U.S. Footprint In 2015

For the first time in more than 40 years, fast food giant McDonald's will be closing more restaurants than it opens in a year. McDonald's, which declined to give a specific figure, plans to close a minimal amount of struggling restaurants in the U.S., where it operates more than 14,000 locations.

Though the fast-food chain is still growing globally, with more than 36,000 locations worldwide, it has lost momentum to new-age fast food restaurants in the U.S. such as Chipotle and Five Guys Burgers and Fries, both of which endorse fresh ingredients and customization.

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Starbucks To Close All 23 La Boulange Cafés

Starbucks is closing all 23 of its La Boulange bakery café locations by the end of September 2015, signifying the company’s exit from the freestanding bakery store business. The coffee chain also will close the two manufacturing facilities that serve these bakery locations.

Based on ongoing evaluations, Starbucks determined that La Boulange stores are not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth, according to a statement. North American Starbucks locations will still serve La Boulange brand food.

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Epicor Retail Spins Off, Rebrands As Aptos

Epicor Retail Solutions has spun off from Epicor Software Corporation into an independent company, which will be known as Aptos, Inc. The new company will focus on delivering a singular commerce platform that unifies omnichannel environments to improve customer experiences.

Aptos will provide a suite of integrated end-to-end solutions that optimize customer engagement, store and digital commerce operations, merchandise and inventory management, enterprise order management and data analytics. The suite includes a standalone cloud-based POS. On-premise solutions also are available for retailers who prefer traditional implementations. Presently, Aptos has 122,000 stores live on its platform.

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Gap To Close 175 Stores, Lay Off 250 Employees

Gap Inc. will close 175 specialty stores in North America and eliminate 250 corporate jobs as it seeks to rebuild its Gap brand’s product operating model and hasten decision making.

Gap Inc., which owns the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic brands, will close 140 stores by the company’s fiscal year end, Jan. 31, 2016. The changes will not impact Gap Outlet and Gap Factory Stores. The brand will close a “limited number” of European stores during this period, according to a company statement.

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Accenture and Fast Retailing Join Forces to Develop Digitally Enabled Consumer Services

fastaccentureFast Retailing, the parent company of UNIQLO, and management consulting provider Accenture have formed a joint initiative to accelerate the digital innovation of consumer services for Fast Retailing’s customers globally. The two companies have agreed to explore ways to expand their collaboration, which may be formalized in a joint venture, to deliver personalized customer experiences across all of Fast Retailing’s retail channels.

As part of the initiative, Accenture will help Fast Retailing build a cloud-based technology platform, which will include supply chain and customer relationship management systems, to collect actionable customer insights. Accenture Digital will provide digital commerce, mobility and analytics capabilities designed to help transform the customer experience.

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JDA Software Announces Partnership With Google

jdagoogleJDA Software has developed a new partnership with Google in an effort to create the next generation of its cloud-based omnichannel and supply chain solutions.

Through this collaboration, Google is positioned to provide a scalable and flexible technology platform via the cloud to support JDA’s future application development and delivery. Google also will help JDA accelerate the development of its next-generation cloud solutions. Moving forward, Google’s cloud platforms will be developed out of JDA labs in Montreal, Canada.

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