Shoplifter pepper-sprays T.J. Maxx LP officer
Antonio Tykeo Bridges, 24, has pled guilty to aggravated assault and second-degree criminal damage after pepper-spraying a loss prevention officer who was trying to arrest his shoplifting accomplice. Columbus Police Sergeant Randy Long told the Ledger-Enquirer that authorities were summoned to a Columbus, GA, T.J. Maxx on December 9 when a man and woman were witnessed as they stocked a cart full of clothing, hid behind a corner of the building, and began removing the security devices from the garments without purchasing them. The store’s loss prevention officer was reportedly trying to arrest the woman when Bridges pepper-sprayed the officer in the eyes and fled the scene before authorities arrived.
Another T.J. Maxx in the area captured surveillance video of the same shoplifting suspects a few days later. The video was released to the media, and Bridges was then identified as a suspect. On his court date on Wednesday, Bridges was ordered held in the Muscogee County Jail under bond. The female suspect has yet to be identified, and nearly $2,000 worth of stolen items have yet to be recovered. [Source: Ledger-Enquirer]
Scottish Retail Consortium warns about 2017 challenges
Scotland’s retail industry faces “formidable” issues in the coming year, according to a recent pronouncement from the director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, David Lonsdale. Lonsdale’s New Year message pointed to rising inflation and taxes, as well as the implementation of a new apprenticeship levy, as major concerns for 2017.
Lonsdale also named the possible implications of Brexit, especially as they pertain to tariffs on imported goods, as a serious challenge that Scottish retailers will face in the coming months. [Source: BBC News]
Reflective glasses could blur CCTV images
A crowdfunding campaign for “Reflectacles,” an eyewear accessory that reportedly reflects light off the wearer’s face and confuses security camera sensors, has already raised $39,000 (well over the goal of $28,000) on Kickstarter. The spectacles reportedly improve visibility at night for runners or bikers, but are also designed to “protect your identity from the growing surveillance-state” by reflecting infrared light used by most surveillance camera technology, according to the project page.
Inventor Scott Urban, a Chicago-based designer, says the spectacles are made from micro-prismatic, retro-reflective materials normally found in laboratories. No batteries or lightbulbs are used; instead, the frames are completely analog and work by reflecting light back in the direction of the source. Urban plans to provide hundreds of pairs of the glasses to his crowdfunding campaign backers and will subsequently begin selling them online. [Source: Daily Mail, Kickstarter]
Get ready for the Centennial shopper
The retail industry has been talking endlessly about how best to serve the Millennial shopper. But are retail organizations ready for the “Centennials”? Centennials, or those consumers born between 1996-2011, already boast a purchasing power of close to $70 billion, according to Retail Info Systems News. This number is only expected to expand. But because Centennials reportedly spend 10+ hours per day online, grabbing their attention may be difficult.
Retailers must consider new strategies to engage this new, young shopper, starting with a mobile-first commerce approach and moving into curated and well-designed in-store experiences that fuse entertainment, experimentation, and shopping into a new kind of brand engagement. Retailers must also leverage social platforms and tap into the rich data analytics furnished by Centennials’ frequent use of digital tools to better respond to this demographic’s needs as they become clearer. [Source: Retail Info Systems News]
Sears and Kmart to close 30+ stores
Sears announced on Tuesday that it will close nearly 30 more Sears and Kmart stores in the early months of 2017, according to Business Insider. Liquidation sales will begin in early January, and closures will take place between March and April. This latest announcement brings the total number of Sears stores remaining to about 1,500 by early 2017. Many of the confirmed closures are in Florida, Kentucky, and West Virginia. [Source: Business Insider]