REAL ESTATE

Regency goes whole hog with food and beverage sign-ups

BY Al Urbanski

“Retail that can be replaced by the Internet is suffering. We’re trying to give an experience with great architecture, places to hang out and good people,” Regency Centers’ John Mehigan told the Orange County Register last week. That means food and beverage concepts, and lots of them.

Stater Bros. will be the grocery anchor for the Village at Tustin Legacy in Irvine, California, coming in with a store twice the size of its other supermarket in the area. Prepared foods will account for much of the extra space, including sushi, Texas-style ribs, and salmon made in-store.

Other food and beverage brands committed to the 250,000-sq.-ft. center include Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts, Ahipoki Bowl, Pizza Press, Yogurtland, and Board & Brew.

Regency also announced a strong culinary lineup for its Market at Springwoods Village outside of Houston. It includes Jinya Ramen Bar, Zoe’s Kitchen, Tarka Indian Kitchen, and Chick-Fil-A.

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News

Walmart leverages ‘employees’ for last-mile delivery initiative

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart has a new delivery team dropping off customers' online orders — but they don’t work for a major shipping company or third-party delivery venture.

The retail giant is testing a new delivery concept that leverages its own store employees to drop off online orders right at customers’ front doors. The new program is designed to solve the challenges associated with the last-mile of delivery, which include “cutting shipping costs and getting packages to their final destinations faster and more efficiently,” said Walmart’s U.S. digital chief Marc Lore.

The opt-in program, which is app-based, enables employees to set preferences, including how many packages they can deliver, the size and weight limits of those parcels, and which days they’re able to make deliveries after their work shift ends. The app also tries to minimize the collective distance associates need to travel off of their commute when making a delivery.

“Associates are fully in control of their experience. If they don’t want to participate, they don’t have to,” he said. “They can choose to opt in, and they can update those preferences at any time.”

The program is a strategic way to combat Amazon’s signature same-day delivery services. Between a network of 4,700 Walmart stores across the U.S. and more than 1 million associates, “our stores put us within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population,” Lore said.

“Now imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work, and the houses they pass along the way,” he added. “It’s easy to see why this test could be a game-changer.”

The test is currently available in two New Jersey stores, and one in northwest Arkansas. Many orders are being delivered the next day.

Walmart associates are being paid to participate in the program, however the chain did not reveal their compensation, “Associates love having the option to earn more cash while doing something that’s already part of their daily routine,” Lore reported. “An unexpected benefit is they’re finding quicker routes home, thanks to the GPS built into our proprietary app.”

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FINANCE

Hot fitness equipment start-up to expand retail footprint

BY Marianne Wilson

Peloton, a four-year-old startup that sells exercise bikes tied to a live-streamed workout experience, is revving up for expansion armed with fresh capital.

The company announced it has recently closed a $325 million series E financing round, which brings its total valuation to $1.25 billion. The round was led by Wellington Management, Fidelity Investments, Kleiner Perkins, and True Ventures. Other significant investors in this round included Comcast NBCUniversal, GGV Capital, Balyasny, and QuestMark.

Founded in 2012, Peloton sells a high-tech and high-cost ($1,995) exercise bike that allows home users to have, essentially, the same type of experience that they would have at a spinning class. It does so by selling a subscription service that gives the user access to live and on-demand fitness group classes (along with archived ones) led by elite cycling instructors. It also provides performance tracking metrics and a real-time leaderboard designed to motivate users.

The company sells its product through its website and its network of showrooms. It currently has 22 retail stores around the nation, including locations at such premium malls as The Mall at Short Hills, Short Hills, New Jersey; The Westchester, White Plains, New York; and The Galleria, Houston. It is set to open a store at Bellevue Square Mall, Seattle, at the beginning of June. The brand hopes to have 40 stores by year-end, according to Business Insider.

“We are changing the way people engage in fitness," said Peloton founder and CEO John Foley. "This financing will allow us to expand our product and content offerings, open new showrooms across the country, and continue to innovate the experience we offer our members at every touch-point."

In addition to its bike, Peloton sells a limited number of accessories, from cycling shoes to weights. It recently introduced a commercial-grade bike designed for high-traffic environments and equipped with software designed to quickly onboard new users. And in April, the company announced a partnership with Westin Hotels and Resorts. Peloton's commercial bike is already in over 30 Westin properties around the country.

“Peloton is supporting especially broad subscriber engagement and growth. We believe Peloton is the leader in a new business that has significant potential – physical interactive media,” said Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins.

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