Specialty Retail
Top stories summarized by our editors
2/19/2018

Many US consumers will see their pay rise starting this month under the new tax law, which could boost sales at retailers including Walmart, Costco Wholesale and Amazon. Taxes will decline about $2,119 this year for a family making $75,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.

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Tax Policy Center, Walmart, Costco, Amazon
2/19/2018

The New York Toy Fair is expected to feature Amazon Alexa-enabled devices such as Mattel's "Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment." Mattel Chief Technology Officer Sven Gerjets believes voice-assisted technology is the future of toys, saying, "We know that more than one in five parents of connected children own a voice-controlled internet-connected smart speaker. Nearly all parents who have a smart speaker feel comfortable with their child using it."

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CNET
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Mattel, Alexa, Sven Gerjets, Amazon
2/19/2018

Gelson's is reopening three remodeled stores in the Southern California market this month, two of which boast smaller footprints. "We want Gelson's to be a unique place where people can try exciting food concepts, have a drink in a social setting, and feel like a new culinary discovery is just around every corner," said Gelson's President and CEO Rob McDougall.

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Progressive Grocer
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Gelson, Rob McDougall
2/19/2018

Panasonic will add an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, model DP-UB9000, to its lineup of audiophile-focused devices, a company spokesman said. The DP-UB9000 would join the UB820, which Panasonic unveiled for the US market at CES 2018.

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HD Guru
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Panasonic
2/19/2018

A new analysis produced by FAIRR predicts that the alternative protein market will grow 8% a year over the next two years. With nearly one-third of millennials eating meat alternatives daily, and half of those shoppers enjoying plant-based proteins for multiple meals during a week, the group expects a $5.2 billion market to bloom by 2020.

2/19/2018

British fashion and beauty adviser Trinny Woodall has launched a makeup and skincare brand with financial backing from Unilever Ventures and other investors. Trinny London, a direct-to-consumer beauty line, launched late last year with customized color cosmetics and skincare products.

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Unilever Ventures, Unilever
2/19/2018

Tops Friendly Market and Winn-Dixie parent Bi-Lo are both preparing for possible bankruptcy filings in the coming weeks, sources said. Both chains are carrying heavy debt loads and facing growing competition.

2/19/2018

Consumer fatigue with apps and all that they demand is growing, and chatbots stand poised to take their place, writes PHD chief Mike Cooper. This is key for brands, with chatbots' ability to instantly access social profiles and personalize information for a variety of functions without the hassle of navigating different user interfaces, he writes.

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The Drum (Scotland)
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Mike Cooper, PHD
2/19/2018

Many companies consider augmented reality to be the future of play, and Toy Fair is likely to feature many AR options. Hasbro will enter the AR market with its phone-supported "Iron Man" mask.

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Toy Fair, Hasbro
2/19/2018

Multiplayer online game Trove will receive an expansion this spring that will include superhero-themed content. The game has more than 15 million players across platforms, per Trion Worlds.

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VentureBeat
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Trion Worlds