TECHNOLOGY

Best Buy to close almost half of its in-store Facebook VR stations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Facebook is scaling back its first big brick-and-mortar retail push.

The social media giant is closing approximately 200 of its 500 Oculus virtual reality (VR) pop-up stores operating in Best Buy locations across the United States, Business Insider said.

Facebook launched the program in 48 stores last May, and the technology — which was available for demonstrations and sales — was rolled out to 500 stores in August, Engadget said.

Sources differ on the reason for the closures. Pop-up employees told Business Insider that some kiosks would "go days without giving a single demonstration.” However, Oculus spokeswoman Andrea Schubert disagrees.

"We're making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets," Schubert told Business Insider. "You can still request [Rift] demos at hundreds of Best Buy stores in the U.S. and Canada.”

Facebook purchased Oculus in 2014. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the move believing that virtual reality was evolving to be the next major, game-changing computing platform.

While retailers such as Sam’s Club and Walgreens, among other brands, are dabbling with dif-ferent VR applications, the disruptor has yet to break into the mainstream like mobile phones, Business Insider added.

Facebook’s first big push into physical retail may not have played out as expected, but the social media giant may create its own permanent storefronts to sell and demo VR. Discussions around this initiative are still in the early stages, Business Insider reported.

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Trump takes a swipe at Nordstrom — is TJX next?

BY Marianne Wilson

Nordstrom on Wednesday found itself the latest target of President Donald Trump's Twitter attacks.

The department store’s shares fell from session highs midmorning after Trump tweeted that his daughter, Ivanka, had been treated “so unfairly.” His comments were made in response to Nordstrom’s decision to stop carrying the Ivana Trump brand, which the retailer said was based on the brand’s performance.

Nordstrom shares recovered their losses and moved 4% higher in late trading.

In related news, The New York Times reported that employees at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls (both of which are owned by TJX Cos.) were instructed not to display Ivanka Trump merchandise separately and to throw away Ivanka Trump signs.

“The communication was intended to instruct stores to mix this line of merchandise into our racks, not to remove it from the sales floor,” TJX spokeswoman Doreen Thompson wrote in an email to the Times. “We offer a rapidly changing selection of merchandise for our customers, and brands are featured based on a number of factors.”

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Fast-food brand launches online wedding registry for pizza-loving couples

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The wedding industry’s newest gift registry is being launched by an unlikely company — Domino’s Pizza.

The service, which is called the first registry “for couples that prefer delicious melty cheese to crystal gravy boats,” according to Domino’s website, targets couples unsure about what to serve at pre-, during or post-wedding festivities.

"We hear often from customers that Domino's was a part of their big day, from proposals to after-hours meals at their wedding," said Jenny Fouracre, Domino's spokesperson.

Domino’s took these comments to heart and created what might be the easiest — and most fun — item for couples to check off of their wedding to-do list. Couples create an online account that can be customized with pizza-inspired — yet romantic — artwork and a greeting.

Then they choose from 11 “gifts” “that fit your love story.” Satisfying events before, during and after the wedding, these cleverly-named meals range from a “2 a.m. Bachelor Party Feast” to a “Post-Honeymoon Adjustment to Real Life” meal.

Once “presents” are chosen, the registry is saved for friends and family to view and select for purchase. It can also be shared on Facebook or Twitter. All gifts are delivered to the lucky couple as Domino's e-gift cards.

"Choosing wedding gifts can be a daunting process, especially if couples can't agree on what to register for,” she added. “We wanted to make it easier for people to ask for and receive something that they'll really use, so our registry aims to bring couples together over their shared love of pizza.”

To celebrate the launch of Domino's Wedding Registry, the company also added wedding-inspired pins to its official Domino's Pinterest page.

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