Jan 12, 2019 - Economy & Business

The store of the future is a supermarket

Erica Pandey, author of @Work

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With their high volume foot traffic, grocery stores are ideal labs to test bold ideas meant to save brick and mortar retail.

China's Alibaba is leading the way. In its Hema supermarkets shoppers can choose groceries in store, then get them delivered, or they can order online, then drive over to pick up.

  • In the U.S., Kroger has partnered with Microsoft to roll out grocery stores with LED shelves that reflect sale prices in real time and sensors that track which shelves need to be restocked.
  • Grocery logistics is a new business. The Kroger-Microsoft prototype also allows the stores to accept and quickly fulfill online orders. The partners plan to monetize by selling the tech to other retailers.

Be smart: The dystopian human-less grocery store of the future isn't coming soon — it's just too creepy.

"There will definitely be skepticism around it. It feels a little like big brother. Are they going to be monitoring me in the store?," says Barbara Denham, a senior economist at Reis, a commercial real estate analytics firm owned by Moody's.

Special report: The future of retail

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 500 schools in South Korea have either closed or postponed reopening, according to the Korea Times, which cites data from the Ministry of Education.

Why it matters: South Korea has been a model for how to handle the novel coronavirus, and the closures reportedly followed concerns from parents and teachers over child safety. The country's confirmed death toll has plateaued at 269 over the past few days, with few increases, per Johns Hopkins data.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.