Insights / Industry Perspectives / Retail Roundup: A new retail lease on life, ‘robot baristas’ get a job in Japan


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Retail Roundup: A new retail lease on life, ‘robot baristas’ get a job in Japan

HTEC Retail Roundups examine retail technology trends, digital retail innovations, and disruptive products.

Pandemic giving some retail brands a new lease on life

One of the more overlooked consequences of the pandemic takes the spotlight in a Retail Dive feature on the post-Covid retailer-landlord relationship. Summing up the key developments of the past year, the article hints at more flexible leases for both parties, including legal changes that would account for events such as the pandemic. 

UK commercial landlords see slump in retail rent collections

In related news, Land Securities, one of the UK’s biggest commercial landlords, reported a steep decline in rents collected compared to the same time last year, according to Retail Gazette. Landsec’s rent collection percentage fell from 94% in December 2019 to 65% in December 2020, revealing once again our dramatic economic reality.

Amazon closes Amazon Pantry, consolidates its grocery delivery services

Amazon announced it terminated Amazon Pantry, a grocery-focused, subscription-based service started in 2014. While there was much talk about the “why” of it, The Verge nailed it when stating, “In many ways, the original Pantry program was designed to help Amazon compete better with traditional grocery stores — but now that Amazon owns and operates those very same stores (complete with Amazon Prime delivery), the consolidation of Pantry back into the larger Amazon site makes a lot of sense.”

Staples bids (again) to acquire Office Depot

The M&A saga between Staples and the Office Depot has been going on for more than two decades, with all previous attempts curtailed by anti-trust regulations and other circumstances. Now, Staples announced a $2.1 billion bid to acquire its office supplies competitor.

Singapore retail startup to put ‘robot barista’ to work

Crown Technologies, a digital retail tech startup from Singapore and one of the early adopters of “smart cafes” and automated coffee machines, announced a deal with Japan’s JR East that will see its trademark “robot barista” ELLA serving coffee in Japan’s train stations. (Vulcan Post)

Fashion startup taking virtual try-on to next level

Forbes reports that Modern Mirror, a US-based fashion tech startup, has developed what it calls an “avant-garde fitting system” for virtual try-ons that uses a system of body-scanning cameras. The startup hopes to compete with existing VR/AR solutions such as Nike Fit.

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