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Retail & Experiential: Theme Parks, Amazon Go & More

A Nickelodeon theme park is headed to the Mall of China in Chongqing, China. The 28,000 sq. meter (or just over 300 sq. ft.) park will showcase 29 attractions and 14 Nick properties, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and PAW Patrol. The theme park is slated to open in 2020.

Animaccord and Italian theme park Leolandia will open a new branded area inspired by Masha and the Bear. La Foresta di Masha e Orso offers visitors more than 10,000 sq. meters (over 100 sq. ft.) to explore a themed roller coaster; a  courtyard with a water play area, slides and interactive water lilies; live shows; two shops; and a refreshment point. The new themed area extends the existing partnership between Masha and the Bear and Leolandia.

British Gymnastics and Cartoon Network come together for new joint venture to inspire and reward thousands of gymnasts across the country with the help of The Powerpuff Girls, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2018.

Sanrio opens the doors of the new Hello Kitty Club with around 3,200 children attending the launch. Kids were encouraged to get creative and make new friends through three immersive Hello Kitty areas: Hello Kitty Bakery, Hello Kitty Bubble lab, and Hello Kitty Dream Factory.

A Star Trek-based curriculum coming to interactive, community-based learning platform Learning for a Small World. The six-week program is designed by the Smithsonian Institution in coordination with CBS Consumer Products and developer NetDragon Websoft Holdings Ltd. It aims to give adult users a multimedia learning experience and sharpen their understanding of the Star Trek franchise and its impact on futuristic technology and social issues.

Retail Track

Nordstrom will start selling fashions from retailer Lou & Grey at 30 stores and online later this month. Lou & Grey, a concept created by Ann Taylor parent Ann Inc., operates 12 standalone stores.

U.S.-based Tory Burch will open its first Australian store in Sydney on Wednesday, with plans for a second location in Melbourne later this year.

South Korean retailer A Land opens its first U.S. store in Brooklyn, N.Y., with a mix of fashions, home goods, accessories and beauty items, most priced under $100. The 12-year-old retailer operates 19 stores in Korea, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Brookstone is going through “Chapter 22”, or its second bankruptcy in recent years. The specialty tech gadget retailer is shuttering its remaining 100 mall stores, but hopes to keep 35 airport stores open.

Heritage Home Group files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The furniture company has found an unidentified buyer for its Thomasville and Broyhill business units. RHF Investments, owner of furniture brands Century, Hancock & Moore, and Highland House, will acquire HHG’s luxury business, which includes the Hickory Chair, Maitland-Smith, and Pearson brands. The three brands will be sold for $17.45 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The company sold its Lane and Lane Venture businesses to United Furniture and Bassett Furniture, respectively, last year.

Walmart enters into a five-year strategic partnership with Microsoft for cloud and artificial intelligence technology. Microsoft’s Azure cloud solution is expected to significantly support and In brick-and-mortar, the tech giant is working on a cashier-less and checkout-less solution to better compete with Amazon Go.

Eighty-four percent of customers would prefer Amazon Go’s cashier-free shopping experience over that of a traditional grocery store, according to a study by Shorr Packaging. One in four said they’d be willing to pay more for the convenience. On the other hand, over 30% of Boomers wouldn’t shop at an Amazon Go store if they lived close to one, and one in five overall felt that they “would be losing out on something” by doing so.

The share of consumers concerned about negative impacts from new Trump tariffs jumped to 38%, up from 15% in May, according to the University of Michigan. That concern is fueling a rise in sales of big-ticket appliances like washing machines and televisions, despite some consumers holding back and waiting for Black Friday deals. According to the National Retail Federation, the average household gets a boost of $18,000 in purchasing power thanks to free trade agreements.

Retail revenue from consumer technology spending is set to reach $377 billion in 2018, a 6% increase over 2017, according to the Consumer Technology Association mid-year update. Market growth will be driven by artificial intelligence, voice-recognition technology and fast connectivity. In addition, wifi solutions, wireless earbuds and augmented and virtual realty headsets will each pass the $1 billion wholesale revenue mark for the first time.


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