Gen Z to Millennials: “You’re so 2000”

Friday in 5 – interesting news bits from around the supply chain horn, served up in one spot to keep you up to date.

This week: Gen Z consumers are making a move, your laundry soap may be “hot stuff,” and department stores have just gotten too big.

Gen Z is the new seamless experience customer

Move over millennials, Gen Z is snapping at your heels. And retailers should take note. Retailers looking to capture share of wallet and brand loyalty from Gen Z – the most digitally- and socially-engaged generation to date — need to step up their focus on new ways of engagement. But, writes Marianne Wilson in the Chain Store Age article, Survey: Gen Z loves digital shopping tools — and physical stores, they also should pay attention to their physical stores.

Laundry soap and razor blades are popular with thieves

These are busy times in the shoplifting industry. Yes, industry. What used to be thought of as petty theft is now a $30 billion a year business that retailers and law enforcement call “organized retail crime.” It features roving bands of shoplifters, midlevel operatives who fence the stolen goods, and bosses who control the enterprise. Read more in Scott Cohn’s CNBC article The American Greed Report: Don’t get stuck with stolen goods: These are the most trafficked items.

Manufacturing expands more than expected

In the USA Today article, Manufacturing grows at fastest pace since 2014, Paul Davidson writes that U.S. factory activity grew at the fastest pace in 2 1/2 years in February as new orders and production both advanced. An index of factory activity rose to 57.7 from 56 in January, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday. A measure above 50 signifies expansion, while below means contraction. Economists expected a smaller increase to 56.2. It marked the sixth straight month the sector has grown.

Department stores take different approaches to resizing

Major department stores finally agree that they need less square footage in the U.S. Yet as each of these chains trims their fleets for the digital era, they’re taking slightly different approaches. As Krystina Gustafson reports in her CNBC article, Department stores admit they’ve gotten too big, but they have different ideas about how to fix it, J.C. Penney has said it will close between 130 and 140 stores over the next several months, allowing it to invest in locations that are more meaningful to its top line. The decision marked a major pivot point for the company, which shuttered just seven stores in 2016.

Pepper goes global

The team behind Pepper, the humanoid robot from SoftBank Robotics, are planning a platform for the machine where developers create applications for everyday use, such as guarding your home or giving floors a vacuum clean. SoftBank intends to open a platform similar to a mobile “app store” for developers to sell or market software to consumers. Read more in Giles Turner’s article for The Star, SoftBank Robotics plans app store for humanoid Pepper robot.


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