Friday, June 14, 2024

Starring Ikea, eBay, and Heineken: the biggest retail technology news stories of the week — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

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It’s Friday, the weekend is almost upon us, so let’s kick back and reflect on another eventful week for the retail systems space. Here’s your briefing on the most important stories from the past five days, including Retail Technology Show 2024, MUJI, Fortnum & Mason, RELEX Solutions, Blue Yonder, Walmart, Sainsbury’s, and the 2024 RTIH Innovation Awards.

1. Ikea UK updates on Oxford Street London city store with grand opening set for spring 2025

Ikea UK reports that its Oxford Street city store will now be opening in spring 2025, as an extensive renovation project across all seven floors of the Grade II listed building continues.

It says that significant progress has been made throughout the project – led by Ingka Investments, the investment arm of Ingka Group, the largest Ikea retailer – which involves creating a home for the Oxford Street city store and developing four floors of office space.

A press release notes: “A renovation of this scale and significance is hugely complex, with some unexpected conditions revealed as the renovation programme has progressed.”

“A need for unforeseen additional work on the lower of the two basement levels was recently discovered to control water ingress, which is now underway.”

Peter van der Poel, Managing Director, Ingka Investments, says: “Ikea Oxford Street is a one of a kind project, involving the sensitive and sustainable upgrade of a Grade II listed building that is over a hundred years old.”

“Following the discovery of an unforeseen water ingress issue, we’re now taking vital steps to mitigate long-term flood risk, and to protect and future-proof this historic building for many years to come.”

2. Retail Technology Show grows number of senior level retailers and retail decision-maker visitors in 2024

As well as increasing overall visitor head count by +28% year-on-year, Retail Technology Show (RTS) reports that the number of senior, decision-making retail attendees also grew in 2024, with over eight in ten visitors in senior level roles.

Last month, RTS delivered its biggest ever showcase, with almost 400 tech exhibitors on the show floor and 120+ industry luminaries and leaders speaking on its stages discussing the industry’s hottest topics. 

As well as drawing an audience of 12,752 retail professionals to the two-day event at London Olympia, it continued to pull in a senior level audience in 2024, according to its latest Post Show Report. 

82% of RTS attendees operate within C-suite, senior management or ‘head of’ roles within their respective retail organisations, with the number of C-level visitors growing by +2 percentage points compared to 2023. 

This senior level of retail attendees also meant 83% of those retailers attending the RTS either influenced or authorised decisions on retail technology spend within their organisations, +1% higher than 2023.

As with 2023, once again visitors to RTS indexed highly among fashion and grocery retailers, with the highest number of attendees coming from the fashion and apparel sector (27%), up +6 percentage points year-on-year, followed by grocery (22%), which also grew +8 percentage points compared to last year. 

Other categories of retailer visitors included DIY, home and garden (9%), general merchandise and health and beauty (both 5%).

One of the biggest draws for retailers was to stay ahead of industry trends and consumer insights (28%).

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