STORE SPACES

Parametric Sound’s directed sound product selected by Build-A-Bear

BY Katherine Boccaccio

San Diego, Calif. — Audio products company Parametric Sound Corp. said Tuesday that Build-A-Bear Workshop will include its directed sound product in six newly designed stores that will be opened across the U.S. this year.

The HyperSound product will allow Build-A-Bear to simultaneously operate multiple interactive kiosks within the store, each playing its own specific audio message.

"We are very excited to merge this innovative technology with our newly designed, interactive bear-making process," said Dave Finnegan, head of information and interactivity for the chain.

The acoustic technology beams sound to target a specific listening area without the ambient noise of traditional speakers.

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STORE SPACES

Construction spending drops between July and August, but ahead of last year

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Data released Monday by the Associated General Contractors of America revealed that construction spending declined between July and August to an annualized rate of $837 billion, but increased compared with August 2011 driven largely by growing demand for residential, lodging and education construction.

“The construction industry has definitely lost some of the momentum it had earlier this year,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO, noting that construction spending has now declined for two months in a row. “With the exception of the lodging sector, many businesses are retreating from the levels of construction spending we saw in the spring and early summer.”

Total construction spending declined 0.6% for the month but was up 6.5% from August 2011 to August 2012. Private residential spending continues to strengthen, increasing by 0.9% compared with July and up 17.8% during the past 12 months. Private non-residential construction, however, declined by 1.7% for the month, but remains up 7.2% for the year. Public construction slid further, declining 0.8% in August and 3.5% year-over-year.

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Peapod rolls out ‘virtual grocery store’ concept

BY Alaric Dearment

Chicago — An online grocery delivery service is launching "virtual grocery stores" at commuter rail stations across the country.

Peapod.com, owned by the U.S. subsidiary of Dutch supermarket operator Royal Ahold, announced it would launch more than 100 of the virtual grocery stores at commuter rail stations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, New Jersey and Connecticut. Commuters in the markets Peapod serves spend an hour in transit to and from work each day, according to Census data.

The "stores" consist of billboards that allow commuters with iPhones, iPads and Android phones to scan a QR code, download an app and start shopping by scanning bar codes on the products. Peapod has made deals with Barilla, Coca-Cola, Kimberly Clark, Proctor & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser as part of the new initiative.

The initiative is a larger rollout of virtual grocery stores that Peapod has gradually unveiled at commuter and rapid transit rail stations in places like Chicago and Philadelphia.

"Getting your groceries on the way home from work just got a whole new meaning," Peapod COO Mike Brennan said. "With schedules that are more demanding than ever and people spending 200-plus hours a year in transit, our hope is that consumers will take advantage of our virtual stores and mobile app while they’re on the go and enjoy the time saved when they’re at home."

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