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By Dora Mekouar
As once-iconic brands like Tiffany & Co., Harley Davidson and the Gap grappled with declining sales, one of the nation’s largest retailers was busy making some in-store changes.
Target started offering more organic and natural food, stepped up designer collaborations with up-and-coming brands, added a line of gender-neutral children’s decor, and created a showroom-style area to showcase the latest in home decor.
The in-store experience remains critical. Even though more people than ever are shopping online, just 11% of all retail sales occur over the internet. A full 89% of all retail purchases happen the traditional way, by walking into a store, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Target, the 8th largest retailer in the country, made tweaks to its stores in hopes of appealing to one particular kind of consumer.
“Target was really stuck in neutral and then was able to innovate through its stores, innovate through its digital, and, all the sudden, was able to again drive growth with millennials,” says Jason Dorsey, president and lead millennial researcher at the Center for Generational Kinetics.
America’s retailers are taking notice now that millennials have overtaken aging baby boomers as the country’s largest living generation of adults. And it’s a generation that differs from their parents when it comes to their consumer tastes. For starters, they’re more adventurous and want to try something new. They’re also interested in connecting with brands that feel authentic.
“What millennials tell us is that an authentic brand is candid. It has a personality. The brand itself has very distinct values, a distinct voice, and it has a candor to it that they can relate to, identify with, and trust,” Dorsey says, adding that convenience is also key.
“This generation has been conditioned to be able to order everything through a small screen and if you make it hard or difficult or too many steps, then they’re not choosing to go that route.”
Millennials are expected to be big spenders over the next decade as they begin to buy and furnish new homes and start having children. Brands that fail to appeal to these influential young shoppers — who are currently in their mid-20s to late 30s — can quickly find themselves in trouble.
“Millennials are more hesitant to buy legacy big brands that they think don’t really understand or get them or their priorities,” Dorsey says. “You see this a lot in alcohol where you’ve seen a move away from your Bud Light, Coors Light, those type of brands and into craft beers, things that are seen as more unique, hard ciders, just a variety of other options that millennials feel better represents them, sort of more of a unique experience.”
Being seen as not unique or different has had an impact on brands the baby boomer generation — those between 55 and 75 — once helped make iconic.
After an extended sales slump, Tiffany & Co. is currently in the process of being acquired by the same French luxury group that owns Louis Vuitton and Sephora. Millennials haven’t shown much interest in the 200-year-old retailer’s signature rings, necklaces and bracelets that were once prized by their parents.
Harley Davidson motorcycles, which represented freedom and the unlimited possibilities of the open road to older generations, now faces being left behind by millennials who are more interested in using ride-sharing apps to get around.
Harley-Davidson recently reported its worst quarterly sales in recent history, continuing a slide that began in 2014.
And there was a time when American teenagers thought nothing was cooler than wearing the Gap’s chino pants and branded sweatshirts. But today’s hipsters aren’t buying the retailer’s offerings, which industry experts say haven’t changed much in the last 20 years.
How millennials want to be seen, particularly through social media, is another big driver of millennial purchases, according to Dorsey.
“You know millennials are the most photographed generation of adults in history,” he says. “How millennials want to see themselves really impacts what they buy in terms of, ‘Does this brand, product or service alignment my values? Does the store … treat people well? If it’s a restaurant, is the food responsibly sourced?’ All of these things are suddenly playing in that consumer narrative.”
The good news for retailers is that millennial dollars are still very much up for grabs, but it is up to the brands to figure out how to appeal to young shoppers who have very specific ideas about how and what they want to eat and buy. (VOA)
Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.
Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.
Surgeons attached the pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days. The kidney did what it was supposed to do — filter waste and produce urine — and didn't trigger rejection.
"It had absolutely normal function," said Dr. Robert Montgomery, who led the surgical team last month at NYU Langone Health in New York. "It didn't have this immediate rejection that we have worried about."
This research is "a significant step," said Dr. Andrew Adams of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who was not part of the work. It will reassure patients, researchers and regulators "that we're moving in the right direction."
The dream of animal-to-human transplants, or xenotransplantation, dates to the 17th century with stumbling attempts to use animal blood for transfusions. By the 20th century, surgeons were attempting transplants of organs from baboons into humans, notably Baby Fae, a dying infant, who lived 21 days with a baboon heart.
With no lasting success and much public uproar, scientists turned from primates to pigs, tinkering with their genes to bridge the species gap.
Pigs have advantages over monkeys and apes. They are produced for food, so using them for organs raises fewer ethical concerns. Pigs have large litters, short gestation periods and organs comparable to those of humans.
Pig heart valves also have been used successfully for decades in humans. The blood thinner heparin is derived from pig intestines. Pig skin grafts are used on burns, and Chinese surgeons have used pig corneas to restore sight.
Kidney ready for transplantation from a live donor Image credit: wikimedia commons
In the NYU case, researchers kept a deceased woman's body on a ventilator after her family agreed to the experiment. The woman had wished to donate her organs, but they weren't suitable for traditional donation.
'Good could come from this'
The family felt "there was a possibility that some good could come from this gift," Montgomery said.
Montgomery himself received a transplant three years ago, a human heart from a donor with hepatitis C because he was willing to take any organ.
"I was one of those people lying in an ICU waiting and not knowing whether an organ was going to come in time," he said.
Several biotech companies are in the running to develop suitable pig organs for transplant to help ease the human organ shortage. More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for kidney transplants. Every day, 12 die while waiting.
The advance is a win for Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, the company that engineered the pig and its cousins, a herd of 100 raised in tightly controlled conditions at a facility in Iowa.
The pigs lack a gene that produces alpha-gal, the sugar that provokes an immediate attack from the human immune system.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved the gene alteration in the Revivicor pigs as safe for human food consumption and medicine.
But the FDA said developers would need to submit more paperwork before pig organs could be transplanted into living humans.
"This is an important step forward in realizing the promise of xenotransplantation, which will save thousands of lives each year in the not-too-distant future," said United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt in a statement.
Experts say tests on nonhuman primates and last month's experiment with a human body pave the way for the first experimental pig kidney or heart transplants in living people in the next several years.
Raising pigs to be organ donors feels wrong to some people, but it may grow more acceptable if concerns about animal welfare can be addressed, said Karen Maschke, a research scholar at the Hastings Center, who will help develop ethics and policy recommendations for the first clinical trials under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"The other issue is going to be: Should we be doing this just because we can?" Maschke said. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Transplant, Pig, Human, Kidney, FDA
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Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.
The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.
These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.
The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.
Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.
Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."
The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.
"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences
On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020. Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.
According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.
Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector. In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.
According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting. On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.
Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: BJP, RSS, New Education Policy, Education, India