4. RADAR secures $50m in funding and gears up to deploy inventory tracking technology in American Eagle stores
American Eagle Outfitters is set to launch RADAR’s AI powered inventory tracking technology in approximately 500 American Eagle stores across the US over the next year.
RADAR uses a combination of RFID and computer vision to track and locate in-store inventory in real-time, enabling employees to know what product is in-store, and where, so they can more easily and efficiently serve customers, replenish items on the sales floor, and fulfil in-store and curbside pickup orders.
In addition to the American Eagle deal, RADAR also announced that it has secured more than $50 million in funding to date from investors that include Y Combinator, Align Ventures, Sound Ventures and Founders Fund, and the family offices behind brands such as Michael Kors.
5. Ingka Investments buys logistics park for use as first Ikea customer distribution centre in Ireland
Ingka Investments, the investment arm of Ingka Group, the largest Ikea retailer, has acquired Greenogue Logistics Park in Dublin.
Ikea Retail UK & Ireland has also announced that it is to open its first Irish customer distribution centre (CDC) at the site.
Fit-out of the building will begin in the coming weeks, with first deliveries expected to leave the warehouse in early 2024. When fully up and running, the CDC will create 120 jobs across warehousing, logistics, and administration.
To date, Ikea products have been delivered to Irish consumers via distribution centres in the UK.
The retailer says that the new facility will enable quicker customer fulfilment and better availability of its products in the country, with delivery lead times reduced by more than half.
Locating a distribution centre closer to the end consumer will also result in a reduction in CO2 emissions, a core pillar of the sustainability strategies of both Ingka Group and Ikea.
Correspondingly, the buildings are BER A2 rating with LEED Silver accreditation, including rainwater harvesting and roof-based solar panels.
6. Walmart Universe of Play leaves Roblox metaverse just six months after its high profile launch
Walmart has binned a branded space in Roblox called Universe of Play just six months after a splashy entrance on to the immersive experiences scene.
This follows claims by nonprofit consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising and other watchdogs that the metaverse game not only blurred the distinction between advertising content and organic content, but also lacked required disclosures and manipulated kids into viewing and interacting with stealth ads.
Walmart said the Universe of Play move was “as planned.”
The US retail giant touted the offering as “the ultimate virtual toy destination,” with products and characters from kid friendly franchises Paw Patrol, Jurassic World, L.O.L. Surprise! and more.
During the launch last year, William White, Chief Marketing Officer at Walmart U.S., said: “”We’re showing up in a big way – creating community, content, entertainment and games through the launch of Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play.”
“Roblox is one of the fastest growing and largest platforms in the metaverse, and we know our customers are spending loads of time there. So, we’re focusing on creating new and innovative experiences that excite them, something we’re already doing in the communities where they live, and now, the virtual worlds where they play.”
File under ‘interesting failures’, then.