News Briefs

11/08/2023 enters partnership to bring traffic data to investors

ben-zvi, which burst upon the retail real estate scene five years ago and changed the ways retailers pick locations and operators curate malls, is now setting out to aid investors.

Finance Lobby--an online financing marketplace for commercial borrowers, brokers, and lenders—has entered into a strategic partnership with that will allow its users to compare a retail center’s foot traffic data against other properties in the area.

‘The partnership now brings data directly into Finance Lobby's platform and helps the investor audience leverage an added, data-driven perspective when making critical decisions on retail properties,” said’s CEO and co-founder Noam Ben-Zvi (right).

Gregg Christofferson, Finance Lobby’s senior marketing manager, thinks the alignment with will help real estate buyers and sellers make deals more quickly. Lenders then receive better-matched deals that improves the likelihood of closing them in a shorter amount of time.

"We're thrilled about the possibilities this partnership opens up for our community, bringing us one step closer to our mission of simplifying and streamlining commercial real estate financing," said Christofferson.

Ben-Zvi hopes for this partnership to prove that location analytics can aid the consummation of faster and better deals.

“The more nuanced our understanding can be about real estate performance and potential, the better decisions all parties involved can make,” Ben-Zvi said. “This partnership will begin to uncover the full potential that location analytics can have in optimizing how real estate projects are funded." tracks retail traffic patterns via data retrieved from cell phones of more than 30 million Americans.


Jungle Scout: Amazon prices stabilized in 2023

Amazon box

With the holidays around the corner, Amazon product prices have been less volatile and lower than previous years, according to a new report from Jungle Scout.

The company’s first-ever Amazon Product Pricing Report detailed 6.3 million data points from Jungle Scout’s Amazon product database, and tracked the product price changes over time. Factors that influence pricing include basic economic factors like supply and demand and supply chain challenges, as well as retail holidays and shopping events, algorithmic pricing, seasonality, trends and more.

“Among our sample selection of 150 of the most frequently purchased products on Amazon, 46% increased in average price over the 12-month period between Sept. 1, 2022, and Aug. 31, 2023, while 44% decreased in price and 9% saw no change,” said Jungle Scout. “A detailed look at a cross-section of the products included in this analysis from Amazon’s most popular categories follow.”

Categories with the largest increase in average product price include patio, lawn & garden, Kindle store, home & kitchen, handmade products and video games. Categories with the largest decrease in average product price include music, electronics, appliances, office supplies and toys & games.

Category highlights from the Jungle Scout report include the following:

  • Beauty & personal care prices declined by an average of 4%.
  • Best sellers in the clothing, shoes & jewelry category saw a small price increase of less than 1%.
  • Pet supplies prices increased about 2% during the period.
  • The average product price decreased in 19 of the 29 categories.

Jungle Scout added that sellers should formulate pricing strategies that focus on improving their products’ branding to increase perceived value through product packaging, infographics, and product videos.


Walmart to offer permanent sensory-friendly shopping hours


Walmart is making its stores more inclusive for shoppers with sensory disabilities.

The retail giant said it it enacting sensory-friendly hours at all of its locations after a successful test program during the recent back-to-school shopping season. Beginning Nov. 10 at all Walmart U.S. and Puerto Rico locations, the retailer will offer sensory-friendly shopping seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time. Walmart’s sensory-friendly features include changing the TV walls to a static image, turning off the radio and lowering the lights where possible.

“During these hours, we hope our customers and associates will find the stores to be a little easier on the eyes and ears,” said Walmart in a corporate blog post. “These changes are thanks to those who shared their feedback on how their stores could help them feel like they belong.”

The sensory-friendly shopping hours are aimed at improving the shopping experience for those with sensory disabilities such as autism, ADHD and more. The is currently no end date for the new hours.

“I have a child on the autism spectrum, so sensory overload is a lived experience in our house,” said Naula O’Connor, senior VP and chief counsel of digital citizenship at Walmart. “ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and other forms of neurodiversity are often an invisible disability. It is meaningful to so many families that Walmart is implementing sensory-friendly hours.”

Headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart operates more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 19 countries.


REI creates new technology executive position

REI has 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

REI Co-op is tapping a food industry veteran to fill a newly-created role overseeing technology supporting foundational business capabilities.

The national specialty outdoor retailer is naming Guillaume Ledieu as VP of  foundation technology. The role is focused on supporting the teams responsible for product flow, enterprise systems, technology management for product merchandising, and enterprise and domain architecture. 

Ledieu will also be responsible for helping to drive operational efficiencies and effectiveness of REI’s end-to-end value chain. He was most recently VP, business transformation at food manufacturing company McCormick & Company, where he led a global business transformation across enterprise functions including finance, order management, end-to-end supply chain, product lifecycle management and master data management. 

Prior to McCormick & Company, he held leadership roles at Glatfelter and Black & Decker. As a member of REI’s technology leadership, Ledieu will be part of its corporate officers.

“Guillaume’s experience in helping companies transform will support our foundation team’s effort to continue their excellent work and to scale up to meet our cumulative business needs. This will enable the co-op’s ability to deliver complex, process-oriented change in an increasingly demanding space,” said Dan Shull, REI senior VP, CTO.

[Read more: REI expansion continues into 2025]

Headquartered near Seattle and the nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI has more than 23 million members and operates 187 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia, as well as, REI Outlet and the REI shopping app.


Foot Locker celebrates sneakers with NBA stars

Foot Locker with Anthony Edwards

Some of the biggest names in pro basketball, including Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, are helping Foot Locker launch a new marketing platform.

Foot Locker is introducing the platform, “The Heart of Sneakers,” in tandem with its 2023 holiday campaign. The Heart of Sneakers celebrates sneaker culture and places the retailer’s store associates, known as “Stripers,” as the connection between sneakers and customers.

The Heart of Sneakers is an ongoing platform that will feature in all of the retailer’s campaigns, online and in-store experiences, community events, and other activities moving forward.

In tandem with The Heart of Sneakers platform unveil, Foot Locker debuted its 2023 global holiday campaign. In the campaign, Foot Locker partners with the following NBA players and their sponsor athletic shoe companies: Kevin Durant with Nike, LaMelo Ball with Puma, Anthony Edwards with Adidas, and Steph Curry with Under Armour; as well as global musician, Enisa.

"For nearly 50 years, our authentic connection to sneaker culture and our Stripers have been the magic behind Foot Locker," said Kim Waldmann, Global chief customer officer at Foot Locker. "Through The Heart of Sneakers platform, created with our advertising agency of record, Preacher, we'll continue to put the heart of our company's DNA front and center in communities globally, creating an unrivaled experience only found at Foot Locker."

Consumers will see this campaign, promoting “hype for the holidays,” cross TV, digital out of home, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and other social channels throughout the holiday season. Foot Locker is launching the platform as it enacts its “Lace Up” plan,  which includes closing underperforming stores, shifting to off-mall locations and opening new formats.


GNC unveils apothecary-designed flagship

GNC flagship

GNC has opened the doors to its new hometown flagship.

The vitamins, supplements and wellness retailer has opened a flagship  Pittsburgh's historic Terminal Strip District with a new apothecary-styled format. The 2,455 sq.-ft. store is designed to offer an elevated and interactive shopping experience that immerses customers in wellness.  An open format allows for ample product display with movable shelving, expansive counters for product sampling and available space to accommodate local events and partnerships.

The flagship is located at 1918 Smallman Street, a short walk from GNC’s corporate headquarters. It is the company’s 21st location in the greater Pittsburgh area, for a total of 2,313 U.S. storefronts. 

"Our flagship store is a reflection of GNC's rich history and commitment to Pittsburgh," said Nate Frazier, chief operating officer at GNC. "As part of our focus on creating a cutting-edge omnichannel experience through a customer-centric lens, we are proud to bring this seamless shopping approach to provide exceptional products and solutions that help our customers Live Well." 

In April, GNC said it was redesigning the role of its stores to deliver a technology-based, customer-centric shopping experience.