Retail scales down, Nieman Marcus embraces innovation and more in today's wrap-up

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Major department stores are realizing they need less square footage, but scaling back can be a challenge. (Getty/zoom-zoom)

Department stores take different approaches as they scale back to reinvest

JCPenney's recent announcement that it would shutter more than 130 stores follows news that Kohl's would trim square footage and Macy's would close 100 locations. But shrinking short-term to grow in the long run isn't simple or cheap. CNBC reports that store closures, severance, and other costs related to the Macy's store closures totaled $230 million in the fiscal fourth quarter. CNBC article

With the iLab, Neiman Marcus has institutionalized innovation

Many retailers will cling to something shiny and new as they see their competition adopt it. No one wants to be left behind. Far rarer is the business that makes breaking new ground with retail technology part of their mission. From its memory mirror to voice assistance technology, Neiman Marcus is doing just that through its innovation lab, or iLab. RetailDive article

Payments in the future might be coming via Facebook Messenger, Slack

Merchants take note: Several financial services companies are exploring the next wave of payments via Slack and Facebook Messenger chatbots. But are chatbots sophisticated enough to handle payments? PaymentSource article (reg. req.)

Retailers raise their voices on proposed BAT tax

The National Retail Federation launched a television ad campaign on Tuesday opposing the GOP-proposed border-adjustment tax, reported The Hill. The plan would tax imports and exempt exports. Target Chief Executive Brian Cornell used his time on CNBC's "Power Lunch" yesterday to oppose the plan, as well. CNBC interview