Walmart tech incubator
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Walmart opens tech incubator in Austin

BY David Salazar

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.

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Sam's Club same-day delivery app
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Sam’s Club brings same-day delivery to 3 markets

BY David Salazar

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.

 

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Walgreens Flu Index reports illness extension into Alaska, Hawaii

BY Michael Johnsen

As flu incidence begins to wind down across the country, albeit slowly, Alaska and Hawaii are seeing signficant gains in flu incidence as the top two states with increased flu activity according to the Walgreens Flu Index published Wednesday. Stateside, the flu is still predominant across several markets in the Lone Star state, however.

For the week ended Feb. 24, the top 10 designated market areas with flu activity were:

  1. Lincoln & Hastings-Kearney, Neb.;
  2. Oklahoma City;
  3. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas;
  4. Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas;
  5. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas;
  6. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.);
  7. Omaha, Neb.;
  8. Paducah, Ky.-Cape Girardeau, Mo.-Harrisburg, Ill.;
  9. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.; and
  10. Austin, Texas.

The top 10 DMAs with flu activity gains were:

  1. Lincoln & Hastings-Kearney, Neb.;
  2. Anchorage, Alaska;
  3. Spokane, Wash.;
  4. La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wis.;
  5. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.;
  6. Toledo, Ohio;
  7. Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Wash.;
  8. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.;
  9. Honolulu; and
  10. Portland, Ore.

The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranks those states and markets experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country.

The Flu Index provides insight by showing which cities or metropolitan areas are experiencing the most incidences of influenza each week based on Index methodology. The data does not measure actual levels or severity of flu activity.

The Walgreens Flu Index is compiled using weekly retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza across Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide, including Walgreens locations in Puerto Rico. The data is analyzed at state and geographic market levels to measure absolute impact and incremental change of antiviral medications on a per store average basis, and does not include markets in which Walgreens has fewer than 10 retail locations.

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