Venezuela might have the mannequins with the world’s biggest breasts, but Britain now has the most tech-savvy models gracing its store windows and shop floors.
This week three UK retailers launched the world’s first mannequins embedded with so-called iBeacons – little Bluetooth transmitters that can send alerts to smartphones in the vicinity, offering details about the clothes such as how to buy them online and where to find them in store.
It may seem hard to understand how one could go bankrupt selling iPads and MacBooks in one of Europe’s richest countries, but that is what happened Tuesday to iCentre, the largest Apple reseller in the Netherlands, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.
A judge in the Dutch town of Haarlem proclaimed the 34-store chain bankrupt on Tuesday, after a week of negotiations between the company, its creditors and potential buyers failed to produce a rescue plan. And on closer inspection, iCentre’s fate is not so hard to explain. Like other Apple resellers, iCentre was coping with a long-term shift from notebook and desktop computer sales towards smartphones and tablets, which have lower profit margins.
Some people avoid buying clothes online because they don’t know the right size; others do buy online but end up returning ill-fitting products.
Now one of the companies aiming to address this problem – Fits.me – has raised a further £5m in venture capital funding. That follows the news earlier this year that some big names – including Adidas and Hugo Boss – have signed up to its technology.
The FT’s latest ebook is about Amazon and its voracious expansion from online book retailer into technological giant.
Is the company a force for good? Can it justify its current stock price? Why does Amazon compete with the companies it provides services to? Will Amazon agree to pay more tax in the UK as Starbucks just agreed to do?
Thanks to everyone who took part in the Q&A. If you have further questions, please post them to Twitter using #FTAmazon. Barney Jopson, the FT’s US retail correspondent, and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, global media editor, will answer them here as soon as possible.
The small detail in a planning application has led to speculation that Google might be opening its first retail store, at its European headquarters in Dublin.
Google is revamping the Montevetro office block on Dublin’s Barrow Street, and the plans submitted to Dublin City Council include a provision f0r some retail space in a snazzy new, attention-grabbing mezzanine development. Could this be an experiment by Google to see if a physical store – where they could demonstrate the workings of Chromebooks, or display Android phones – would work for them?