US retail sales rose 0.4% in June from the previous month, beating analysts' forecasts and capping a four-month stretch of increases, according to the Commerce Department. Sales increased in 11 of 13 categories, and overall sales were up 3.4% from June of last year.
Increases in streaming services, artificial intelligence-enabled devices and in-vehicle technology are the main sources of 2.2% year-over-year growth in the US consumer technology market, which is on track to exceed $400 billion in retail revenue in 2019. The Consumer Technology Association's biannual US Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report was based on US factory sales to dealers for more than 300 products.
Food Lion will cut the ribbon on 92 renovated stores in South Carolina and North Carolina this week. Updates include expanded craft beer offerings, more local produce, streamlined checkout areas, new signage, added grab-and-go-items and walk-in produce coolers.
Using a new technique, Nestle has successfully produced a chocolate without added sugar, which the company will use in KitKat bars available in Japan this fall. The new chocolate instead uses white pulp from the outside of cocoa beans, which already contains natural sweetness.
Kinto, a Japanese home brand available on e-commerce sites and in kitchen specialty shops, is winning the praises of social media posters who love its minimalist style. Its many products include a pour-over coffee maker, ceramic rice cooker and double-wall travel tumbler.
Ford Motor and Volkswagen announced Friday that they will work together to develop autonomous and electrified vehicles, although both will remain "independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace," says Ford CEO Jim Hackett. The collaboration will be via the Pittsburgh-based startup Argo AI, which is testing autonomous cars in five US cities.
Automotive News' Jackie Charniga looks at how making dealership employees licensed insurance agents could boost F&I sales while providing an improved customer experience. "Selling auto insurance at the dealership reduces the lag between purchasing a car and insuring it, improving customer satisfaction," she writes.
While Tesla is still the dominant name among electric vehicle manufacturers, Zachary Stutler looks at potential rival Vancouver-based Electra Meccanica. The fledgling company, co-founded in 2015 by Henry Reisner, has three vehicles listed on its website and the first, a three-wheeled, single passenger car called SOLO, is scheduled for mass production later this year.
DISH has unveiled the AirTV Mini, a streaming dongle powered by Android TV; the company says the device has more memory and a faster processor than comparable products from Amazon, Google and Roku. The AirTV Mini is 4K high dynamic range-compatible and offers Sling TV, Netflix and over-the-air channels.
Kwikset has unveiled a commercial-grade smart lock, the SmartCode 955, which is geared toward security for facility managers, residential and commercial property owners, and small-business owners. The SmartCode 955, which retails for $119, also allows for rekeying the locks to make lost, loaned or unreturned keys unusable.
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