Separated by thin partitions, 15 little photo studios used exclusively to update the website line up in a corner of Zara’s huge headquarters near Corunna in Spain’s northwest.Under a constant barrage of camera flashes, models strike pose after pose to get seven photos showing the piece of clothing under all angles.In total, 1,500 photos are put on line twice a week to match the speed at which articles of clothing are replaced in-store.Amazon, Alibaba competition”Online sales are becoming an element that is contributing significantly to the company’s growth,” said Pablo Isla, CEO of the Inditex group which owns Zara among other brands like Massimo Dutti, said this week at the annual results’ presentation.In 2017, these represented 10 percent of sales, a figure unveiled this week after years of secrecy over a crucial sector that Inditex only entered in 2010, on the late side.Sergio Avila Luengo, an analyst at IG Markets, said gaining “more visibility online” was the main challenge for Inditex if it wants to remain “competitive on the long term”.He said the retail giant started having trouble clearing its stocks for the first time in 2017 due to competition from Amazon, which sells everything from books to clothes.For its part Sweden’s H&M, Inditex’s arch-rival, has recognised that a drop in profits in 2017 was due in large part to online competition. Explore further Clothing retailers like Zara are looking to turn their network of stores into an asset instead of a liability as they try to deal with internet rivals like Amazon. Logistics investments, new technology… Faced with fierce online competition from the likes of Amazon, affordable fashion giants Zara and H&M are shoring up their defences, trying to use their stores to boost internet sales. The clothing market “is in big transformation,” CEO Karl-Johan Persson said in February.”It is happening fast and it is challenging everyone.”We know about the big online platforms, I’m thinking Amazon and (China’s) Alibaba, affecting our industry,” he said, adding smaller niche online players were also “a force to be reckoned with”.In the United States, Amazon was in 2016 the top online clothes vendor.It holds 11 percent of the global clothing market, and this is expected to rise to 19 percent in 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.German online clothing and shoes platform Zalando and Britain’s Asos, meanwhile, saw their European sales leap 25 percent and 34 percent respectively between 2012 and 2015, according to the Ecommerce Foundation. The extensive logistics infrastructure of Amazon gives it an advantage against clothing retailers. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Zara and H&M shore up defences as internet threatens (2018, March 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-zara-hm-shore-defences-internet.html Amazon primed to hire 2,000 new employees in France Major logistics challengeFaced with this threat, H&M devoted 45 percent of its investment to internet in 2017, or close to 600 million euros ($736 million), for a new photo studio and personalised apps for its clients.Inditex is also investing, but would not unveil how much.Both groups are gradually offering the possibility for next-day or even same-day delivery of online orders, as well as the possibility to easily pick up and return clothes to stores. © 2018 AFP These services may be crucial for customers but they represent a major logistics challenge, especially when faced with Amazon which already has “a much bigger logistics structure, already adapted to all sorts of different products,” said IG Markets analyst Avila Luengo.As it counter-attacks, Inditex has opened 19 warehouses in the world dedicated only to the internet, which are managed like stores. H&M is soon to follow suit.Both are also taking advantage of their thousands of stores, including for client delivery.When online sales are launched in new markets, “we get to profitability really quick,” H&M financial director Jyrki Tervonen told investors in February.He said this was “thanks to the fact we already have a store network, we are a well-known brand, appreciated among the consumers.”Inditex has invested a lot in the renovation of its stores, removing the smallest ones in favour of huge flagship shops in city centres.Both groups are implementing systems to avoid missing out on a sale if for instance the size isn’t available for a customer, by telling him or her that the item is available online.Gildas Minvielle, head of the economic observatory at the French Fashion Institute, said their strategy was to combine both sales methods.”Distributors that develop their stores and their online sales perform quite well,” he said. H&M and Zara-owner Inditex are investing in systems that help ensure they don’t miss in-store sale opportunities due to missing sizes, alerting customers the article is available online. read more


Cambridge Analytica’s acting chief executive, Alexander Tayler, said Friday that he was sorry that SCL Elections, an affiliate of his company, “licensed Facebook data and derivatives from a research company (Global Science Research) that had not received consent from most respondents” in 2014.”The company believed that the data had been obtained in line with Facebook’s terms of service and data protection laws,” Tayler said.His statement said the data was deleted in 2015 at Facebook’s request, and denied that any of the Facebook data that Cambridge Analytica obtained was used in the work it did on the 2016 U.S. election. Britain’s information regulator said Saturday it was assessing evidence gathered from a raid on the office of data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, part of an investigation into alleged misuse of personal information by political campaigns and social media companies like Facebook. Information Commissioner’s Office enforcement officers work inside the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Information Commissioner’s Office enforcement officers work inside the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Enforcement officers working for Information Commissioner arrive at the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Explore further Enforcement officers working for Information Commissioner arrive at the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) The scene at a window as Information Commissioner’s Office enforcement officers work inside the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Information Commissioner’s Office enforcement officers work inside the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) More than a dozen investigators from the Information Commissioner’s Office entered the company’s central London office late Friday, shortly after a High Court judge granted a warrant. The investigators were seen leaving the premises early Saturday after spending about seven hours searching the office.The regulator said it will “consider the evidence before deciding the next steps and coming to any conclusions.””This is one part of a larger investigation by the ICO into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties, social media companies and other commercial actors,” it said.Authorities in Britain as well as the U.S. are investigating Cambridge Analytica over allegations the firm improperly obtained data from 50 million Facebook users and used it to manipulate elections, including the 2016 White House race and the 2016 Brexit vote in Britain.Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny wrongdoing.The data firm suspended its CEO Alexander Nix this week after Britain’s Channel 4 News broadcast footage that appeared to show Nix suggesting tactics like entrapment or bribery that his company could use to discredit politicians. The footage also showed Nix saying Cambridge Analytica played a major role in securing Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Enforcement officers working for Information Commissioner’s Office enter the offices of Cambridge Analytica in central London after a High Court judge granted a search warrant, Friday March 23, 2018. The investigation into alleged misuse of personal information continues Friday to determine whether Cambridge Analytica improperly used data from some 50 million Facebook users to target voters with ads and political messages. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Citation: UK watchdog evaluates evidence from Cambridge Analytica (2018, March 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-uk-watchdog-evidence-cambridge-analytica.html UK seeking warrant to access Cambridge Analytica servers (Update) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more


A miniature blood vessel, formed on agarose/gelatin hydrogel. Green represents VE-cadherin, a protein that glues cells together, and blue is nuclei. Credit: Yongzhi Qiu Citation: Mini-vessel device probes blood interactions in malaria, sickle cell disease (2018, April 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-mini-vessel-device-probes-blood-interactions.html Biomedical engineers have established a model system for studying these problems, which has potential for use in other cardiovascular diseases as well. The system builds a network of artificial blood vessels, based on familiar “hydrogel” materials that dissolve with heat: gelatin and agarose, a sugar derived from seaweed.The results were recently published by Nature Biomedical Engineering.”The key technological innovation here is that our hydrogel can keep these vessels growing for weeks to months, which is much longer than standard approaches,” says senior author Wilbur Lam, MD, Ph.D. “With this system, we can study not only how vessels respond to aspects of disease but also how well the vessels will heal over time once those insults are removed.”Lam is assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.Working with Lam, instructor Yongzhi Qiu, Ph.D. and colleagues constructed a hydrogel-based microfluidic device, with branching vessels roughly 20 micrometers across. The device can then be coated by endothelial cells, which line blood vessels, and connected to a pump. An advantage of using hydrogels, the authors write, is that hydrogels are not as stiff as solid polymers, and thus respond in a more physiological relevant manner to changes in fluid flow.Once fully assembled, the endothelial cells weaken their barriers in response to inflammatory molecules such as TNF-alpha and then heal afterwards.The researchers also tested responses to heme, a component of hemoglobin formed when red blood cells break open, and they tested the effects of occlusion-prone red blood cells from sickle cell disease patients and red blood cells infected by Plasmodium parasites.The model system could be used to further dissect the effects of red blood cells vs other cells and inflammatory molecules, and to screen for drugs that could prevent damage to blood vessels, the researchers say. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Nature Biomedical Engineering In diseases such as malaria and sickle cell disease, red blood cells break down, with harmful effects on the rest of the body – particularly the lining of small blood vessels. Provided by Emory University Engineers create miniature self-sealing ‘wound’ More information: Yongzhi Qiu et al. Microvasculature-on-a-chip for the long-term study of endothelial barrier dysfunction and microvascular obstruction in disease, Nature Biomedical Engineering (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41551-018-0224-z read more