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Report: Target utilizing robots to track on-shelf inventory

BY DSN STAFF
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Weis Markets Q1 sales up 3.6%

BY Michael Johnsen
SUNBURY, Pa. – Weis Markets on Monday reported sales increases of 3.6% to $738.2 million for the 13 weeks ended March 26. Same-store sales were up 3.6%. 
 
"Our results continue to benefit from our long-term pricing investments and the refinement of our marketing programs, which spurred increased sales in center store, HBC, frozen, pharmacy and most of our fresh departments," stated Jonathan Weis, Weis Markets chairman and CEO. "These investments and refinements were complemented by improved supply chain and store support efficiencies and an increased focus on our store-level customer experience."
 
The incremental sales impact due to the Easter calendar shift was approximately $7.1 million or a 1% increase in comparable store sales, the company reported. 
 
Weis Markets' first quarter net income increased 51.1% to $20.1 million during the period, while earnings per share increased 50% to $0.75 per share compared to $0.50 per share for the same period in 2015. 
 
During the same period, the company's operating income increased 57.4% to $31.3 million.
 
 
 
 
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Walmart starts search for next big retail tech innovation

BY Dan Berthiaume
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is looking for innovative retail technology ideas — and casting a wide net to find them.
 
The discount retailer is launching a “Technology Open Call” aimed at retail technology start-ups. Walmart will consider technology spanning all of retail, including capabilities around the store shopping experience, associate experience, logistics, big data, security and/or social media.
 
“We’re looking to find a diverse group of technology companies and technologies,” said Tom Douglass, director of the Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart Lab 415C, during an interview with Drug Store News sister publication Chain Store Age. “We will look at things like market-readiness, scalability, strategic alignment, and side-by-side comparisons with competing solutions.”
 
Walmart Lab 415C is a lab-within-a-lab for testing retail technology.
 
“We focus on helping the customer across channels and enhancing the customer experience,” said Douglass.
 
The lab, founded seven years ago, has developed technologies including new scanning capabilities within the Walmart app and the first version of convertible registers in Sam’s Club and select Walmart stores. Currently, Lab 415C is working on technologies including robotics and enhanced fresh product experiences.
 
To further aid the lab with its efforts, the open call invites technology companies to submit a three-minute video and written overview of their company and solution by July 22, 2016. The first 250 entries will be considered and companies will be notified Aug. 1, 2016.
 
The open call will take place in conjunction with the 2016 Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit event, hosted by the Northwest Arkansas Technology Council on Oct. 6, 2016. Selected companies will meet with more than 100 Walmart technologists and executives, with the potential to be chosen to work with Walmart to develop their solutions.
 
This is the second year Walmart has run a technology open call. Competitor Target has also sponsored a similar startup competition in conjunction with accelerator Techstars. Especially for retailers like Walmart and Target which have their own in-house innovation programs, these types of contests are a great way to identify third-party technologies which can be brought in-house for refinement and customization to deliver a competitive advantage,
 
Solutions will be developed for proprietary Walmart use. For more information or to submit an entry click here.
 
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