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Fuji Blowing Up, Via TikTok

Old, New School Tech and Companies Pivoting

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It took TikTok to bring Fujifilm back into vogue.

Fujifilm is facing unprecedented demand for its retro-themed X100 digital cameras, which have become a status symbolTikTok influencers and young social media enthusiasts.Fujifilm doubled production in China, but struggles to keep up with orders for the $1,599 X100V. 

Fujifilm's imaging division, bolstered by this demand, became the largest profit contributor in fiscal 2023. However, production challenges persist due to the camera's complex design.

Fuji, along with Kodak, dominated the market for 35mm and other camera films for decades, but faltered as photography moved into digital formats.

As the camera craze helps Fuji rise, another older technology has lost its last major outlet.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, owner of DVD rental kiosk system Redbox, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing $970 million in debts. The decline of Redbox symbolizes the broader collapse of the DVD market, with sales plummeting by 92% since their peak. Redbox’s financial troubles, including numerous lawsuits and unpaid wages, underscore the waning era of physical media rentals.

In another blow to older technology, the old fashioned check is no longer welcome at Target.

The retailer announced it will stop accepting personal checks at its stores starting July 15. The decision comes as check usage has sharply declined, with only 15% of non-cash payments being checks by 2012. Target’s move aims to streamline checkout processes, offering various digital and card payment options instead.

Checks remain prevalent in business-to-business transactions, particularly in industries like construction and retail, but Target’s move illustrates their decline in retail settings.

Digital payment options continue to gain wider acceptance, however.

A report by PYMNTS Intelligence highlights that while digital wallets are widely used for online shopping and peer-to-peer payments, only 8.7% of U.S. consumers have used digital wallets to store non-financial credentials, such as event tickets or loyalty programs. The report suggests that consumers are yet to fully explore the broader applications of digital wallets.

Finally, two old-name outlets have announced brick and mortar expansions.

JCPenney unveiled a new store at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, N.J., its first opening in eight years. This is part of JCPenney’s $1 billion investment plan to revitalize its stores, upgrade its online presence, and improve supply chain capabilities. The retailer aims to rejuvenate its 121-year-old brand and attract new customers.

Jack in the Box is set to open eight new locations in the Chicago area by 2025, marking its return to the region after over four decades. The expansion includes a mix of traditional and innovative restaurant formats, reflecting the company's broader growth strategy. The jump into Chicago markets follows recent expansions into Georgia, Florida, and Michigan.

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