When Starbucks (SBUX) announced the closure of all of its 379 Teavana stores by the spring of 2018, it came as a warning signal to many analysts. But for long-term investors, Starbucks future growth prospects could look more promising. Acquired in 2012 for $620 million, Teavana stores are set to close due to declining foot traffic in malls. As a result of this retrenchment, Starbucks incurred asset impairment and goodwill charges of roughly $100 million during the third quarter. Following the news, Starbucks shares fell 1.2% to $58.80 in after-hours trading.
Fast food chain McDonald's has made yet another push into the world of automation. The company on Tuesday revealed it is acquiring conversational technology startup Apprente with a plan to integrate its systems with services such as drive-thru menus, self-order kiosks, and the mobile app. It comes just months after the fast food giant began rolling out AI-powered menus at hundreds of its locations across the United States, using the technology to make more precise menu suggestions. McDonald's on Tuesday revealed it is acquiring conversational technology startup Apprente with a plan to integrate its systems with services such as drive-thru menus, self-order kiosks, and the mobile app McDonald's President and CEO Steve Easterbrook said the latest acquisition will make it'simpler and even more enjoyable for crew members to serve guests.' Back in March the company acquired Israeli digital startup Dynamic Yield with similar plans to improve the customer experience using AI.
Keeping abreast of shopping trends online is straightforward enough -- whole categories of startups achieve this with predictive modeling. But what about when that shopping takes place in-store? Tracking the behaviors of mall, outlet, and department store shoppers is of critical importance to physical store brands, particularly considering that the percentage of brick-and-mortar sales increased by 2% from $2.99 trillion in 2016 to $3.04 trillion in 2017. To meet this need, Miron Mironiuk founded Cosmose AI, a Shanghai-based analytics software provider that anticipates how people shop offline. Brands like Subway, Samsung, Walmart, Airbnb, Tencent, Burberry, Omnicom, Mercedes-Benz, Anheuser-Busch InBev, LVMH, Kering, L'Oréal, Gucci, Cartier, P&G, Nestle, and Coca-Cola use its tool suite to granularly track offline visitors' purchasing habits and target them with online ads via WeChat, Weibo, Facebook, Google, and over 100 other internet platforms.
E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN) announced Friday it will snap up struggling grocery chain Whole Foods Market (WFM) for $42 per share in an all-cash deal valued about $13.7 billion including debt. "Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement. "Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they're doing an amazing job and we want that to continue." Under the deal, Whole Foods will continue to operate stores under its independent brand and the company's CEO and founder, John Mackey will remain in his position. Mackey said the partnership allows the Austin, Texas-based food retailer to continue efforts to bring high-quality foods and convince to its customers across America.
Colgate, which has been selling its namesake product since 1873, is close to a deal to acquire a minority stake in Hubble, people familiar with the matter say. The two-year-old New York company currently sells contact lenses in brightly colored boxes online. As part of the deal, Hubble would develop new online subscription avenues for some of Colgate's products, the people said. The first one, focused on oral care including teeth whitening, is expected to start as soon as this year, while others in areas like pet food remain under consideration, the people said. The two companies will share revenue from the ventures.