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• The Wall Street Journal reports that "scanner guns—the bar-code readers used in warehouses world-wide—are getting a makeover, as retailers scramble to boost productivity amid a surge in online orders.
From 'rings' that workers wear on their hands to modified smartphones, companies are testing alternatives to the 'brick on a stick' scanners that have been the industry standard for decades."

The goal, the story says, is to "shave a few precious seconds off the time it takes for workers to select, pack and ship items."

The Journal goes on: "Retailers and others that sell online, as well as logistics companies, are hungry for new ways to improve efficiency to counter the added labor and transportation costs associated with filling online orders. Competition from e-commerce giant Inc. on both price and speed has forced them look for any possible way to cut costs and shorten delivery times, experts say. The most sophisticated of these companies already analyze the movements of their employees down to minute details."

Newsday reports that the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), which used to operate supermarkets, "will turn over nearly three dozen store leases to the locations’ landlords, including 11 now-vacant Waldbaum’s and Pathmarks on Long Island that it has been unable to sell.

"The move, approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge in White Plains this week, will allow the landlords to lease the space to new tenants, who may not be grocery store operators."

• In upstate New York, the Democrat and Chronicle reports that Wegmans is installing hearing assistance systems in all of its stores, with the goal of having them in place by the end of the year.

The story says that "sixteen Wegmans stores currently have hearing assistance systems — with at least one store in each of the six states where the company has stores ... Induction hearing loop stations are installed at pharmacy counters, customer service desks and designated checkout lanes."
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