Report: Kroger joins retailers in upping age restriction on gun sales
Kroger has joined Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods in increasing its age restriction on the purchase of firearms sold through its Fred Meyer locations in response to the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla. The supermarket chain will no longer sell guns to customers under the age of 21.
“Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers,” Jessica Adelman, a spokeswoman for the Cincinnati-based chain, shared with The Wall Street Journal. “In response to the tragic events in Parkland and elsewhere, we’ve taken a hard look at our policies and procedures for firearm sales.
According to the report, Kroger already had stopped selling assult-style semiautomatic rifles in Oregon, Washington and Idaho locations several years ago.
Fred Meyer, which sells shotguns, .22 caliber rifles and bolt action hunting rifles, will be reducing the merchandising footprint dedicated to the set, as well. Though that has less to do with the school shootings, but rather to “softer demand and changing customer preferences,” Adelman told WSJ.
Walmart opens tech incubator in Austin
Walmart is taking another step to gain a competitive advantage in the adoption — and development — of emerging predictive technologies.
The discount giant opened the doors to its first technology incubator, in the tech hotbed of Austin, Texas. Located in a renovated warehouse, the lab is focused on such emerging technologies as machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing, the chain said in a blog post on its website.
Internally, the lab features a startup-like atmosphere to encourage collaboration and innovative thinking. However, the Austin team will also be brainstorming with Walmart’s technology teams in Bentonville, Arkansas, at the Jet headquarters in Hoboken, New Jersey, and at Walmart.com headquarters in San Bruno, California. All data scientists are focused on developing solutions that will empower employees, and make the company more efficient, the blog said.
“Effective use of technology is an absolute competitive necessity today, but even the most sophisticated technology can end up being a hindrance when built without first considering the users,” said Rachel Brynsvold, a data scientist at the lab. “We must develop best-in-class technology, and deliver it with a focus on what the business and the users need.”
To get a glimpse into Walmart’s new tech incubator, click here.
Sam’s Club brings same-day delivery to 3 markets
Sam’s Club is partnering with Instacart to bring same-day grocery delivery to several markets. The Bentonville, Ark.-based warehouse club has brought the service to Austin, Dallas-Ft. Worth and St. Louis, allowing consumers to shop online to fill their virtual carts to have products delivered in as little as an hour.
“We know our members love our mix of exciting items, and appreciate it when we make life a little easier for them,” Sam’s Club vice president of omnichannel and in-club product Sachin Padwal said. “Whether it’s Scan & Go, Club Pickup – and now delivery in as little as an hour– shopping with Sam’s Club is getting easier and more convenient, and we’re just getting started with them.”
Member of Instacart will be able to shop local Sam’s Club stores without a membership, bringing them bulk shopping options. And Sam’s Club members will be able to stoe their membership number to receive membership rewards and members-only pricing on certain items.
“As Instacart continues to expand to new markets and reach new customers at a blistering pace, valued and respected brands such as Sam’s Club are the driving force behind it,” said Sarah Mastrorocco, Instacart’s Vice President of Business Development. “We are thrilled to add value to their existing operations while bringing the convenience of same-day delivery to more North Americans every day.”
Sam’s Club said that it planned to expand same-day delivery to several more markets this year.