ECOMMERCE

Retailer debuts U.S. consumer drone delivery – and it’s not Amazon

BY CSA STAFF

The first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer home has occurred, and the retailer behind it is not who you would expect.

Leading convenience chain 7-Eleven partnered with independent drone delivery service Flirtey and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) to complete two deliveries from a store in Reno, Nevada on Sunday, July 10. 7-Eleven merchandise, including hot and cold food items, were loaded into a Flirtey drone delivery container and flown autonomously using precision GPS to a local customer’s house.

Once at the family’s backyard, the Flirtey drone hovered in place and lowered each package. The purchases were delivered to the family in the span of a few minutes. Products included Slurpee drinks, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and candy. In the future, both companies expect drone packages to include CPG products such as batteries and sunscreen. The delivery was conducted in celebration of 7-Eleven’s 89th birthday.

“Drone delivery is the ultimate convenience for our customers and these efforts create enormous opportunities to redefine convenience,” said Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins, executive VP and chief merchandising officer of 7-Eleven. “This delivery marks the first time a retailer has worked with a drone delivery company to transport immediate consumables from store to home. In the future, we plan to make the entire assortment in our stores available for delivery to customers in minutes. We look forward to working with Flirtey to deliver to our customers exactly what they need, whenever and wherever they need it.”

This event marks a major development in omnichannel retailing. There is still a long way to go before drones become a mainstream fulfillment mechanism, but clearly home delivery will look different in 10 years than it looks today. The fact that 7-Eleven, rather than Amazon or Walmart, was the first to perform a full-fledged drone delivery is also a sign that drones may become quite commonplace as a feature of all types of retail transactions. Other food retailers, including fast food and quick service chains as well as convenience operators, will also surely take note of how well drones fit into the model of delivering hot or chilled food items in a short time span.

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C-SUITE

Passing of the baton at J.C. Penney

BY Marianne Wilson

Photo:Myron E. (Mike) Ullman

Some three years after he returned to save J.C. Penney, industry veteran Myron E. (Mike) Ullman will retire from the company on Aug. 1.

Ullman is passing the reins of chairman of Penney’s board of directors to current CEO Marvin R. Ellison. The succession is in accordance with a transition plan the company outlined in 2014.

"I am delighted that the board has appointed Marvin as chairman,” Ullman said. “Over the past year and a half, he has proven himself to be the right leader for our company, as we have made significant progress in implementing the changes needed to rebuild J.C. Penney into a successful, modern retailer with a profitable and sustainable business. It's been a privilege to work closely with Marvin, and I am pleased to know that this company is in good hands for the future."

Ullman first led Penney from December 2004 to November 2011. He was succeeded by Ron Johnson, whose attempt to reinvent Penney resulted in a $985 million drop in profit during his tenure (from November 2011 to April 2013). Ullman returned as CEO to lead a turnaround effort.

"It is an honor to succeed Mike as the next Chairman of J.C. Penney,” said Ellison. “Mike has demonstrated great leadership, twice as CEO, and for the past year as our executive chairman. For someone who started his retail career as a $4.35 per hour store security officer, it is a blessing and an honor to be named chairman of J.C. Penney?

Ellison, 51, has been CEO of Penney since August 1, 2015, and served as president and CEO-designee of the retailer from November 1, 2014 through July 2015.

From August 2008 through October 2014, he served as executive VP – U.S. stores of The Home Depot. From June 2002 to August 2008, he served in a variety of operational roles at The Home Depot. Prior to joining The Home Ellison spent 15 years at Target.

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Beauty retailer opens milestone store

BY Marianne Wilson

Marla and Barry Beck, Founders of Bluemercury, open 100th store (Photo: Business Wire)

Bluemercury is testing a larger format space.

The specialty beauty products and spa retailer announced the opening of its 100th store, in Savannah, Georgia.

Located in the historic Jacob’s Men’s Shop Building in downtown Savannah, the space has a fresh and updated look, while still preserving traditional architectural elements such as exposed brick walls, wood flooring, and the historic original terrazzo entryway. Looking forward, at approximately 2,400 sq. ft., Bluemercury Savannah marks Bluemercury’s foray into a larger store size retail format.

Bluemercury was founded in 1999 by Marla and Barry Beck, who identified a gap in the market for a neighborhood beauty store. In March 2015, the company was acquired by Macy's Inc., which has focused on expanding the brand, both with freestanding stores and in-store shops at Macy’s.

“We continue to find the retail white space after 17 years in part because of our innovative approach to merchandising and our exceptionally laser focused real estate strategy, said Barry Beck, Bluemercury co-founder and COO. “Our Savannah store builds on our remarkable success in nearby Charleston, South Carolina, and we plan to add more stores to the region.”

The Savannah location houses over 70 leading beauty brands, including longtime Bluemercury favorites such as La Mer, Skinceuticals, Natura Bisse, Kiehl’s, Trish McEvoy, NARS, Oribe, Molton Brown, along with newcomers Hourglass, RMS, Tara Smith, and This Works. Bluemercury Savannah will feature the company’s first Jo Malone micro shop; an interactive shop-in-shop experience.

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