Intel has reportedly ended efforts in its Basis smartwatch business segment, dissolving it as of two weeks ago. The company's New Technologies Group, which was previously developing wearables, will now focus on augmented reality, a source said.
H-E-B has teamed with Texas firm Enchanted Rock Energy to add natural gas generators at 50 stores in the Houston market, with plans to eventually roll them out to all of the retailer's stores in Texas. The generators will be a more reliable source of backup power for H-E-B's stores, which currently use diesel generators, allowing the retailer to offer customers a cool building, food and other supplies when power goes out.
Kroger will invest $20 million to renovate seven former Marsh Supermarkets the retailer acquired after Marsh filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and the retailer will reopen two of the stores under Kroger's Pay Less banner and five under its namesake banner. Kroger purchased 11 Marsh stores in total, and a task force is studying the options for the four stores not included in the renovation plans, the company said.
Consumers want Amazon's impending ownership of Whole Foods Market to lead to more in-store tech innovation, starting with cashier-free checkouts, according to a survey by ChargeItSpot. Shoppers also said they wanted the merger to bring lower prices and create new pickup spots for Amazon purchases.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus will urge the Department of Justice to scrutinize Amazon's planned acquisition of Whole Foods. "This consolidation that's happening all over the country is not a positive trend," he said.
A recent patent application submitted by Apple appears to indicate that the company is working on developing a Siri docking station for in-home use. While Apple has not confirmed this, its patent application describes the device as a "[s]mart dock for activating a voice recognition mode of a portable electronic device."
Optional Echo features called "Alexa calling and messaging" and "Drop in" could be giving away user information, writes Kashmir Hill. However, the company added an optional blocking feature last month that helped to resolve this issue, Hill writes.
Raley's Supermarket has added positions such as "wellness specialists" and "wellness champions" to help make shopping for healthy foods easier without casting judgment on shoppers. The new positions and the addition of store "wellness hubs" are part of a two-year effort by the retailer to boost its health and wellness offerings and appeal to more health-conscious consumers.
Wal-Mart Stores has opened a 50-acre fulfillment center in central Florida's Polk County to handle online orders. The company will also open nine new stores across the state and remodel more than 40 others over the next year.
Ahold USA is using online documentary videos to tell its grocery brand customers about the producers of the products they buy, with 14 million views this year. "Fresh Stories is a great forum for customers of our brands to learn about the companies and individuals who supply items they purchase at our stores," said Amy Hahn, senior vice president of marketing.
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