NYC New Mega Mall to Open With Online-Only Store Section

A new-age mega-mall in New York City coined “Hudson Yards” is now open for business.

Besides featuring 1 million square feet of popular retailers like Sephora and Louis Vuitton, there will be an array of restaurant concepts.

Hudson Yards developers have created the mega-mall with culinary experiences paired with convenience in mind.

“In addition to being located steps away from each other, several restaurants will have cafe or takeaway outposts offering “picnic versions” of meals should diners want to enjoy their food elsewhere or outside. There is also the ability to order via an app that streamlines delivery and pick up services across all Hudson Yards food properties, which Stuessi feels will be especially handy for the thousands of workers who’ll have offices with entrances that feed directly into the restaurant floors,” writes “Vogue.”

But there are also fine dining restaurants like Kāwi and Peach Mart by Momofuku and TAK Room by Thomas Keller.

In terms of retail, there will be a section dedicated to retailers that were previously online-only retailers.

These popular online brands, including show retailer M. Gemi and men’s athletic apparel company Rhone will be on the “Floor of Discovery.”

It’s an interesting transition, especially as other retail brands like Gap and Victoria Secret are focusing more on online business and are instead closing underperforming stores.

“We think about this as a long-term deal,” said Brian Berger, founder, and CEO of Mack Weldon, who is opening the first brick-and-mortar store at Hudson Yards.

Many are using these stores as a test to see if they can thrive in a normal retail setting.

“The statistic is in the markets where you have physical retail, the [e-commerce] business in that market increases by about 30 percent,” said Berger.

Some online retailers have aggressive plans to enter the retail space. The online mattress maker Casper, for example, plans to open at least 850 stores by 2023.

Hudson Yards isn’t the only mall to do this either. Malls across the country are introducing these online-only brands to entice new business.

“A business known as Fourpost is doing something similar at the Mall of America in Minnesota. And then there’s Neighborhood Goods, often referred to as the “department store of the future,” which is opening up stand-alone locations that house digitally native brands — like men’s wellness company Hims and sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods — and is soon coming to New York. A concept called HiO, headed by a former top real estate exec at Gap, is testing a space for online brands in a shopping center in Brooklyn,” writes “CNBC.”

The E-commerce giant Amazon has lofty goals to expand into the traditional retail space with its Amazon Go stores. Watch this past episode of The Barron Report to learn more about the Amazon Go stores and how these cashier-less stores are changing the retail space forever.

Will Amazon Roll Out Bigger Cashier-less Amazon Go Stores?

When the tech giant Amazon rolled out its Amazon Go stores, the company was on the verge of changing traditional retail as it did with the E-commerce space.

These stores allow customers to pick up items and they don't have to go to a cashier, instead, they are charged automatically for the items they leave with.

However, the first Amazon Go stores in Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco were delayed in 2017 because the company struggled with having more than 20 people inside.

According to a recent report from the "Wall Street Journal," the store's technology has trouble in "bigger spaces with higher ceilings and more products.”

But that isn't stopping Amazon from developing larger spaces with more products and the company has started testing in “a larger space formatted like a big store," as "WSJ" reports.

Watch the recent episode of The Barron Report above to learn more about the Amazon Go stores and how these cashier-less stores are changing the retail space forever.

The company has said that it isn't going to use this technology at Whole Foods, the organic grocery chain it acquired in June 2017.

But could that have changed after the success of Amazon Go stores?

Read more about Amazon potentially expanding the size of its Amazon Go stores at “The Verge” now.

Nonetheless, Amazon has aggressive plans to roll out up to 3,000 of cashier-less stores by 2021.

But these stores aren't just a threat to grocery stores and convenience stores. Many of the cashier-less Amazon Go stores offer grab-and-go food options and these stores have become the most popular during the workweek, especially at lunchtime. This means these stores are taking away the restaurant business.

Walmart is also testing a cashier-less concept at Sam's Club stores where shoppers will use an app to scan items as they shop.

52 Percent of Shoppers are Buying More Plant-based Products

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Although a lot of turkeys are being consumed today, more consumers are embracing a plant-based lifestyle.

According to yet another study, 52 percent of U.S. shoppers are eating more plant-based foods and beverages.

Apparently, these consumers don't think this is just a fad diet either.

In the study by DuPont Nutrition & Health, 60 percent of those surveyed plan to keep the switch to plant-based foods permanent because they feel healthier being on this diet.

“There is a seismic shift occurring in eating habits globally, creating a significant market opportunity. Most important, our research reveals that for most consumers, this has moved beyond experimentation into a permanent change brought on by health, lifestyle and social factors,” said Greg Paul, DuPont official in a press release about the study.

Read more about the Dupont study at “bizwomen” now.

This year, there have been multiple studies reporting similar findings.

According to Nielsen, 40 percent of Americans are trying to eat more plant-based foods.

Kimpton's 2019 Culinary & Cocktails Trend Forecast by Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants group said that the plant-based movement is going into overdrive in 2019.

Plant-based sales reached $3.3 billion this year, as reported by Nielsen.

But that's just the beginning. The plant-based industry is expected to be worth $5.2 billion in sales by 2020, according to Oregon-based Allied Market Research (AMR.)

When tracking social data pulled from Foodable Labs, we saw that plant-based consumption is up by 300 percent over the last year. Specifically, 51 percent of chefs have added vegan menu items to their menus this year, which is a 31 percent increase from last year.

Learn more about the plant-based movement and how it is here to stay in the video below.

How This Firm Became One of the Biggest VC Funds in Food

As consumer tastes continue to evolve, the more demand there is for high-quality healthier products.

With that in mind, these suburban moms turned venture capitalists are on a mission to bring healthier packaged food brands to the masses.

Both Lauren Jupiter and Jordan Gaspar used to be in grocery aisles as “the people who read the nutrition facts, the people who read the ingredients in the two different products sitting next to each other on the shelf" and decided to launch the investment firm AccelFoods to help grow small packaged food products they believe in.

Found in 2013 with only $4 million, the firm now has three separate funds of $85 million.

The fund and the companies it backs have been a success because consumers have changed the way they shop at grocery stores.

They want “cleaner labels, more transparency, not having ingredient panels that are 60 items long and full of words that you can’t pronounce,” said Jupiter.

Today's buyers are willing to invest in higher quality products that are better for them. Food is now seen as fuel to millennials, the better the fuel or food, the better performance of the engine or body.

"The Baby Boomer generation that’s aging and looking for natural alternatives to traditional medicine...the millennial mom purchasing on behalf of her family and investing in allergen-friendly foods...digital natives who are willing to invest more heavily into the food they put in their bodies than even the house that they sleep in,” said Gaspar.

Read more about the firm and how it's fostering the growth of smaller food product companies at "Forbes' now.

Earlier in the year, we spoke to Gasper about how the firm is disrupting the industry with its companies in its portfolio offering innovative food products.

Listen to this episode of The Barron Report below, where host Paul Barron speaks with Gaspar about trends and what types of companies AccelFoods seeks to invest on.

These Retailers are Now Offering On-site Food Options to Lure in More Shoppers

These Retailers are Now Offering On-site Food Options to Lure in More Shoppers

As e-commerce giants like Amazon continue to conquer the retail space, traditional retailers are struggling to get shoppers to visit their stores.

However, retailers are getting creative and are offering dining options in stores to entice customers to stay awhile

Ikea isn't the only home store serving food items anymore. Crate and Barrel is partnering with Bill Kim, the culinary mastermind behind the Urbanbelly and BellyQ concepts, to open a restaurant at a Chicago store.

Then Restoration Hardware opened a “90,000-square-foot experience” in New York, which combines retail with a rooftop restaurant, wine terrace, park, and coffeehouse.

This isn't only a trend with home decor retailers either. AT&T opened "The Lounge," which is a retail space paired with a hangout coffeehouse.

Then, back in 2017, Tiffany & Co. opened The Blue Box Café at its flagship store in New York.

Retailers offering food options makes sense too since more consumers are eating out. Today's market offers more affordable yet quality food options.

According to Joanne Joliet, the research director at the research firm Gartner, 48 percent of consumers' family food dollar is spent on restaurants and food in 2017. While in 1955, only 25 percent was spent.

Read More