Jun 30, 2020
No more dressing rooms: This virtual fitting experience is moving into Brookfield malls
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Fit:Match is rolling out this fall a handful of spaces with Brookfield, which owns malls such as Brookfield Place in downtown New York and Fashion Show in Las Vegas, the companies announced Tuesday.Source: Brookfield
Tired of schlepping into dressing rooms to try on clothes and find your right size? And feeling like you're a different size at different stores?
Well, there's a new solution for that.
A start-up that has developed 3D technology to scan your body in under a minute and tell you what size you are for different clothes at different retailers has teamed with one of the biggest U.S. mall owners to start opening kiosks at malls across the country.
Fit:Match is rolling out this fall a handful of spaces with Brookfield, which owns malls such as Brookfield Place in downtown New York and Fashion Show in Las Vegas, the companies announced Tuesday. The first open at Oakbrook Center in Chicago in mid-August, followed by Glendale Galleria in Los Angels and Stonebriar Centre in Dallas in mid-September.
The retail start-up's founder and CEO said he wants to disrupt an archaic industry and fitting process and to help many apparel companies boost their bottom lines by getting to know their customers better — down to their exact pant, shoe and shirt sizes.
"How do you make apparel shopping profitable? You limit returns, and you increase conversion rates," Fit:Match founder and Chief Executive Haniff Brown told CNBC. "You don't have to spend as much money on marketing for a person when you know them already."
Fit:Match opened a pop-up shop at Brookfield's Baybrook Mall in Houston last November.
"We thought, just walking into a store to get fitted is boring," said Patty Hirt, director of retail development at Brookfield Properties, about why the two teamed up. She said many people passing by the Baybrook location would be intrigued to come and see this new technology being used in real time — younger shoppers especially. The average age of visitors was 26, she said.
"Now, that have a lot of brands approaching them" to get on the Fit:Match platform, she said. "We decide to work with them to help them scale."Brookfield has also invested money into Fit:Match, which is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but the company declined to say how much.Source: Fit:Match
All of this transpired before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic on March 11. Fit:Match and its technology have been years in the making. Now, the concept just makes even more sense.
Retailers have been considering virtual fitting rooms for many years. Several start-ups such as Israeli-based Sizer and the body data platform 3DLOOK tout the ability to scan bodies to help with sizing in retail. None of these concepts has been able to grow at scale yet, but the pandemic could give them a boost.
People by and large are not comfortable going back into fitting rooms. One recent survey found about 49% of millennial consumers said they would not feel safe trying on clothes in dressing rooms, even after the pandemic subsides. And that percentage was much higher for baby boomers, at 71%.
Overall, according to the poll conducted by retail predictive analytics company First Insight, 65% of women said they would not feel safe trying on clothes in dressing rooms. Fifty-four percent of men said the same.
"The coronavirus has moved this industry away from high touch to low touch," First Insight Chief Executive Greg Petro said.
According to Brown, getting a scan with Fit:Match is going to be a "totally contactless" experience, which would bode well for people afraid to physically try on clothes.
A 10-second body scan will take more than a dozen measurements of a person, which are then synced with the inventory at each of its retailer partners to show the person items he or she might like based on fit, Brown said. It also hides the inventory that does not fit.
Each user gets a fit "ID" that they can personalize over time, and get fitted again as their body changes.
Fit:Match's goal is to add more retailers to its platform over time. It has not yet disclosed which companies it is currently working with.
In the future, bricks-and-mortar apparel stores will solely serve as "vehicles to provide fulfillment," Brown added. "We view this as the future. This will become table-stakes."
Brookfield has also invested money into Fit:Match, which is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but the company declined to say how much.
"I absolutely see this going out across the country," Brookfield's Hirt said. "Think about fit on every level. Back-to-school for kids ... retailers really struggle to get sizing right for kids. There are a number of applications."VIDEO2:2902:29How shrinking American mall will impact local tax revenueThe ExchangeRelated Tags
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News Source: CNBC
NASCAR moving Watkins Glen race to Daytona road course
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR will move its August road course race from Watkins Glen in upstate New York because of state health restrictions, and the event will shift instead to the road course at Daytona International Speedway.
The move means the Cup Series will make its debut on Daytona’s road course, which is used by the IMSA sports car series and incorporates part of the famed 2.5-mile oval. The race on Aug. 16 was necessary to move from Watkins Glen because NASCAR cannot meet New York’s quarantine requirements for out-of-state visitors.
“This is an unprecedented time in the history of our nation and Watkins Glen International,” racetrack President Michael Printup said. “The dynamic situation we are all confronting is impacting our daily lives and activities in unimaginable ways.”
NASCAR will return to Daytona two weeks later as scheduled for the regular season finale on the oval. The Aug. 29 event is unchanged from the original 2020 schedule that has been patched back together following a 10-week shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
NASCAR said Wednesday it will determine if fans are allowed at Cup races on a market-by-market basis, in accordance with local and state guidelines.
NASCAR is expected to run its Nov. 8 season finale as scheduled, barring changes to health protocols during the 10-week playoff series.
The revisions announced Wednesday cover six Cup races at three tracks. Michigan International Speedway will host a doubleheader before NASCAR’s debut on the Daytona road course. After that race, Dover International Speedway will host a doubleheader, and the playoff field will be finalized the next week at Daytona.
NASCAR was not scheduled to compete on the road course at Daytona until next February in the exhibition Busch Clash to kick off the season. But many of the ideas for next year’s schedule have been forced into the present as NASCAR attempts to complete its 38-race schedule.
The All-Star race next Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway will be the fourth midweek race since NASCAR resumed on May 17 and just the second time in event history the race won’t be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Track officials shifted the race to Tennessee, where up to 30,000 fans will be able to attend, because North Carolina is not allowing large gatherings.
Pocono already hosted Cup races on consecutive days, so Michigan and Dover make for three doubleheader weekends this season. The Cup Series also had its first doubleheader with IndyCar last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NASCAR has adopted one-day shows without practice or qualifying, and the starting lineups have been set by random draws or inversions based on the last race’s finishing order. Many of the elements NASCAR was forced into trying in 2020 could be seen on next year’s schedule.
NASCAR will race Sunday at Kentucky Speedway. It will be the 13th Cup race since NASCAR resumed racing eight weeks ago.
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