FINANCE

Report: Family Dollar store closures in the wings

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — As analysts begin to speculate about the acquisition scenarios for Family Dollar – whether by Dollar Tree or Dollar General – one thing is clear: some store closures will occur.

According to a report by Wall Street Journal Online, a Dollar General takeover would close more stores than if Dollar Tree wins the bid. Dollar General said it is prepared to divest up to 700 of the combined company’s approximate 19,600 stores to satisfy antitrust regulators.

Nearly two-thirds of Dollar General’s 11,338 stores are within three miles of a Family Dollar store, according to commercial real estate data company CoStar Group, which could result in more closures than the anticipated 700.

“The prospect of closing more than just 700 stores is very real when you look at whether they will achieve higher sales or just be cannibalizing each other’s stores,” Suzanne Mulvee, a senior real estate strategist at CoStar, told WSJ.

The report went on to say that about a third of Dollar General stores are less than a mile from a Family Dollar store, but only about a quarter of Dollar Tree’s 4,891 stores are within a mile from a Family Dollar Store.

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OPERATIONS

Uber launches drugstore delivery service

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Taxi app company Uber introduced a trial service on Tuesday, offering on-demand delivery of medicine, toiletries and other drugstore products.

Uber is testing the "Uber Corner Store" over the next few weeks in parts of Washington, DC.

The service works like this: after toggling to the "Corner Store" option in the Uber app and requesting a driver, Uber sends you a text message with a link to a list of items available for purchase. An Uber driver then calls you to take your order, and upon delivery, the purchase is charged to your Uber account.

Uber is working to expand beyond personal transportation; the company launched a courier service in Manhattan earlier this year, joining companies like Amazon and Google, which have already introduced same-day deliver in select cities for groceries, household products and a variety of other items.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Entrepreneur launches shoe vending machine in Las Vegas

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Las Vegas — A resident of Las Vegas has launched a shoe vending machine, according to the Las Vegas Business Press. The business was born of a need to change out of high heels and into more comfortable footwear.

Ashley Ross launched Rollasole, a vending machine that dispenses comfortable flats. MGM Resorts International sells the shoes in several of its retail outlets in its Las Vegas resorts. And the shoes can be purchased in stores at Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as well.

Rollasole shoes also are provided in guest rooms at Caesars Palace’s boutique Nobu Hotel.

Ross’ company has two vending machines at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood; two at the Grand Canal Shoppes, one near Tao at The Venetian; two at the Fashion Show mall, including a large outdoor machine that can stock up to 200 pairs of shoes; and one near the Body English nightclub at the Hard Rock Hotel.

The smaller vending machines stock 70 pairs of flats. Ross services her machines once a week after buying inventory from her British supplier.

The shoes come in a variety of sizes and colors in the retail outlets, with a more limited selection from the vending machines.

The vended shoes come in small plastic cylinders and with polyurethane soles are rolled up in the tube. Each pair comes with a pouch to carry the heels they replace.

The vending machines have simple transaction instructions and a customer can choose black or one other color, whatever is stocked in the machine at the time. Shoes come in four sizes, small (sizes 5-6) medium (7-8), large (9-10) and extra large (11-12).

Vending machines will take transactions by cash or credit card. Most of those are a basic style that sells for $20, but other more elaborate styles sell for $40 in stores.

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