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Simon Property launches new business to invest in retail tech innovation

BY Marianne Wilson

Indianapolis — Simon Property Group is launching a new business, Simon Venture Group, that will invest in retail innovation, focusing on technology opportunities that enhance the shopping experience.

"We believe we have only scratched the surface on applying technology to the retail environment in innovative, interesting ways," said Mikael Thygesen, chief marketing officer of Simon Property Group.

The new venture will be led by J. Skyler Fernandes, who will be responsible for identifying, evaluating, and making investments. Fernandes was previously a partner at Centripetal Capital Partners, a multi-stage venture capital fund, where he concentrated on consumer Internet, retail, and high-tech with commercial applications. He is also the founder of One Match Ventures, a seed fund focused on consumer Internet and high-tech companies.
Simon Property currently owns or has an interest in more than 325 retail real estate properties in North America, Asia and Europe comprising approximately 243 million sq. f.

Plans call for Simon Venture Group to invest in early-stage to high-growth technology companies, making seed to series C+ investments and focusing on both direct and indirect strategic investment opportunities.

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Canada Post and Thinkwrap collaborate on shipping data for Oracle Commerce

BY Dan Berthiaume

Ottawa, Canada – E-commerce solution provider Canada Post and and e-commerce integrator Thinkwrap Commerce have launched new collaboration designed to simplify and accelerate incorporation of Canada Post’s shipping data into Oracle Commerce. By making it easier for retailers to incorporate Canada Post’s data with Oracle Commerce, the collaboration between Thinkwrap and Canada Post is designed to help retailers strengthen their e-commerce customer experience by providing shoppers with choice and convenience.

Customer-centric features include increased options for shipping times, delivery locations and easy returns, as well as improved tracking. At the center of the collaboration is a pre-built and reusable accelerator, a plug-in type software developed by Thinkwrap for Oracle Commerce. The accelerator makes real-time incorporation with Canada Post’s shipping data easier, without the need for additional customization. A more simplified process will enable and encourage more Canadian retailers to incorporate shipping data into their online stores.

"This new collaboration will allow Canada’s biggest retailers to better meet their customers’ online shopping expectations by providing them with the kind of options they want. Improving the end-to-end online shopping experience is key to making e-commerce in Canada stronger, and more competitive," said Rene Desmarais, senior VP, parcels, Canada Post.

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RH Gallery (Restoration Hardware), Boston

BY CSA STAFF
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RH (formerly called Restoration Hardware) continues its transformation from a hardware retailer to a lifestyle brand at its stunning Gallery store in Boston. The 37,670-sq.-ft. space, which took top honors in the 2014. A.R.E. Design Awards competition, is located in a landmark building in the heart of the city’s Back Bay.

Originally the home of the Museum of Natural History, the building, designed in 1862, has been carefully restored, on both the exterior and interior, to its former glory, and reimagined consistent with its original vision as a museum. Decades of structural modifications were stripped away and original details reinstated, putting the focus on the dramatic architecture.

Entering the space, a three-story central atrium is anchored by a custom elevator with a steel-caged glass-cab. Artistic vignettes of RH furniture, accented with found objects, create a gallery-like experience throughout the store. From the fresh floral bouquets in the atrium to the 18-ft. antiqued mirrored archways reflecting 12 sparkling crystal chandeliers reminiscent of the Palace of Versailles on level two, the space is filled with artistic installations that give customers home-design inspiration. Level three features an indoor conservatory and park with reproduction heritage olive trees, a 24-ft. illuminated steel Eiffel Tower, and a wine bar. All are housed under the restored original vaulted and iridescent gold-coffered ceiling.

The third floor is also home to four "Clubrooms," including the Billiards Room, complete with a refurbished vintage Brunswick table, open for play; the Music Room, a tribute to the days of vinyl, rock & roll and Motown, also home to a 100-year-old beer bar salvaged from a local Boston pub; the Library, filled with design and architecture reads; and the Cinema, celebrating the art of film and fame.

The building’s restored subterranean level is home to the first RH Baby & Child Gallery on the East Coast. Punctuated by original, 12-ft. vaulted brick ceilings, the space provides a new and innovative approach to designing and outfitting nurseries and children’s rooms.

The building’s original winder staircase, previously hidden behind walls, has been exposed through dramatic steel and glass archways, winding its way up to the third floor.

Architect/architect of record: Bergmeyer Associates, Boston


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