Amazon’s Kiva robots and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

It’s that time of the year when spirits are high despite the cold of winter. But more practically, it’s that time of year when retailers are scrambling to amass the majority of the year’s revenues. This year, retailers went for Cyber Week instead of just Cyber Monday and pre-pre-Black Friday events. But this strategy of trying to one-up each other resulted to shoppers spending less during Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Sales at brick-and-mortar stores within the 2-day period reached $12.29B which is a 0.5% decreased compared to last year. Online spending is on the rise though. According to a report from Adobe that tracked online spend from November 1st to November 28, $32B was spent online – 14% more than in 2013. See my post here regarding mobile spend with special focus on iOS and Android use.

With all the shopping being done, I keep thinking of the scale of the logistics involved. Ahead of Cyber Monday, Amazon released a video detailing a part of those logistics. Meet the Kiva robots from Kiva Systems, a company that Amazon acquired in 2012 for $775M.

But if you prefer the fantastical reason for how those Christmas gifts arrive, you can track Santa via Google.

Here are this week’s most relevant new in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. New details emerge from last week’s Sony data breach: budgets, layoffs, passwords and  47,000 SSNs exposed
  2. Apple is defending itself against a class-action lawsuit alleging that iTunes prevented iPods from playing music from other digital stores and capturing market share; named plaintiffs down to one
  3. Intel teams up with Google Glass partner Luxxotica to make smart eyewear
  4. Uber just raised $1.2B, valuing the company at $40B
  5. Microsoft and Barnes & Noble end Nook reader partnership

In retail:

  1. The National Retail Federation reports decreasing number of holiday shoppers over Thanksgiving weekend, down 5.2% from 2013; but online spending is on the rise according to IBM and Adobe reports
  2. Financial reports: Leather goods maker Mulberry reports first-half loss; Tiffany shares surge after report of better-than-expected same-store sales increase of 4%
  3. Coach and Brown Shoe Company among bidders to acquire woman’s luxury shoemaker Stuart Weitzman, deal expected to reach between $600M and $700M
  4. Fashion resale site Poshmark hits $100M in revenue, begins luxury goods authentication
  5. Amazon starts selling its own line of diapers and baby wipes, Amazon Elements; available only to Amazon Prime members
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