Business Briefs – January 3, 2017

FDA Probes Dangers of Exploding E-Cigarette Batteries

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FDA is probing the dangers of exploding batteries in e-cigarettes, after dozens of reports of devices that have sometimes injured users.

The agency announced a two-day public meeting for April, according to an online posting. E-cigarettes are hand-held devices that vaporize liquid nicotine. There’s no scientific consensus on whether they help reduce rates of cigarette smoking.

Here Come ‘Smart Stores’ With Robots, Interactive Shelves

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tomorrow’s retail stores want to take a page from their online rivals by embracing advanced technology.

Amazon’s new experimental grocery store in Seattle, opening in early 2017, will let shoppers buy goods without needing to stop at a checkout line. Sensors track items as shoppers put them in baskets or return them to shelves. The shopper’s Amazon account gets automatically charged.

Kroger, Neiman Marcus and Lowe’s are among the companies already experimenting with futuristic retail stores. Robots could help guide shoppers to the right aisle, while augmented reality apps could help you see how a particular shade of paint will look in the living room. Many of these technologies will be unveiled or demonstrated at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which begins Tuesday.

Beantown As Shoetown: Sneaker Makers Stake Claim In Boston

BOSTON (AP) — Shoe makers are racing to the Boston area as they compete for millennial talent. Reebok picked the city’s rapidly growing Seaport District for its new global headquarters in December. New Balance and Converse both opened splashy new headquarters in 2015 that helped redefine the city skyline.

Wolverine moved a regional campus in Waltham, just outside Boston, this summer from Lexington, Massachusetts. And shoe maker Rockport in January will open a new headquarters in the affluent Boston suburb of Newton. The new locales recognize that younger, more skilled workers prefer to be closer to cities and the amenities they provide rather than distant suburbs, industry watchers say.