Target Pops | Digit Works | AI Junk Bots | B.Buy Ethical


Target Q4 comp sales down 4.4% Press release


…Target is launching a paid membership program, Target Circle 360 at CNBC. “…will include unlimited free same-day delivery for orders over $35 in as little as one hour with no delivery fees and two free-day shipping, along with other perks. The paid membership tier will launch in early April and cost $49 per year, said Cara Sylvester, Target’s chief guest experience officer.” Read more


…Target shares pop as retailer boosts profits, despite lackluster sales forecast at CNBC. “In an interview Tuesday with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” CEO Brian Cornell said the company has made “really solid progress” in managing inventory better and becoming more efficient. He said the retailer will focus on “growing traffic and making sure that we make Target a growth company again.” Read more


Apple iPhone sales slump 24% in China to start the year at MarketWatch


Humanoid Robots at Amazon Provide Glimpse of an Automated Workplace at Bloomberg. “Employees at an Inc. warehouse near Seattle recently got a glimpse of the future of work: a 5-foot-9-inch robot that resembles a human, walks like a bird and has glowing white eyes. Called Digit, the machine is configured for one basic task: plucking empty yellow bins off a shelf and ferrying them several feet to a conveyor. Then doing it again. Over and over and over.” Read more / Video


Whole Foods Market to Open Smaller Format Stores in Urban Markets “…called Whole Foods Market Daily Shop, will initially launch on the Upper East Side in Manhattan with additional locations in NYC to follow…Following the NYC  launch, Whole Foods Market plans to bring the format to other cities across the country. Ranging between 7,000 to 14,000 square feet…” Press release 


Labor unions end Starbucks boardroom fight after progress on bargaining at Reuters. “The Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), a coalition of North American labor unions, is withdrawing its three director candidates to the coffee chain’s 11-member board…The fight was closely watched on Wall Street because it marked the first time a labor union used tools traditionally employed by hedge funds to push for board seats at a corporation.” Read more


Will AI change how we shop? What it’s like to use Amazon’s new Rufus assistant at GeekWire. “Did I mention that this is a beta? These kinds of inconsistencies are familiar to those testing and using some of the latest AI services. Amazon is still working out the kinks, and asking for feedback from early users in the form of thumbs up or down on specific responses, and the ability to provide more detailed input.” Read more


…We tested Amazon’s new shopping chatbot. It’s not good. at Washington Post (!). “…when so many AI chatbots overpromise and underdeliver, it’s a tax on your time, your attention and potentially your money. I just can’t with all these AI junk bots that demand a lot of us and give so little in return. To the companies stuffing mediocre chatbots into everything, I ask: What are you doing?” Read more


5 dead after plane crashes behind Costco store in Nashville at WKRN


The North Face offers 20% discount for completion of racial inclusion and allyship course at Washington Examiner. “Intended for people who work and operate in the outdoor industry, the training lasts an hour. During the training, one learns about the limitations people of color face when it comes to enjoying the outdoors, the impact of events such as the death of George Floyd, and the aim of creating an “equitable outdoors for everyone.” Read more


China’s Huawei and Amazon in patent licensing agreement at Reuters


From unicorn to bust: Inside the fall of Seattle online retailer Zulily at Seattle Times. “The Seattle Times spoke with 10 former Zulily employees about the meteoric rise and swift fall of a company they all said they once loved. Employees asked to remain anonymous to protect current or future job prospects. All said they were saddened to see Zulily’s collapse — and said things could have gone differently under different leadership.” Read more


The 2024 World’s Most Ethical Companies Honoree List (Best Buy, Kohl’s…) Read more


How Chinese retailers can offer Americans steep bargains on clothes and why that could change at AP News. “The answer has much to do with a trade rule known as the de minimis exception, which allows parcels valued under $800 to enter the U.S. duty-free per person per day…a group of 40 lawmakers asked Homeland Security Secretary Alexander Mayorkas to crack down on the de minimis trade…A bill introduced in the Senate would make the practice reciprocal. China, for example, sets the de minimis threshold at about $7.” Read more


Petition to shut down Wegmans’ fish market gets 4,000 signatures at Supermarket News


Anthropic, backed by Amazon and Google, debuts its most powerful chatbot yet at CNBC. “The new chatbot has the ability to summarize up to about 150,000 words, or a lengthy book, compared to ChatGPT’s ability to summarize about 3,000.” Read more


Joann on the brink of Chapter 11 bankruptcy at Akron Beacon Journal. “The retailer with some 830 stores across 49 states has been working to trim costs and employees.” Read more


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