Retail news round-up: UK retail bosses to skip roundtable to discuss Brexit and Amazon unveils Echo voice-powered gadget in Britain and Germany

Retail bosses snub meeting to discuss risks and opportunities of Brexit

UK retail bosses have snubbed David Davis’ meeting invitation to discuss the pros and cons of Brexit, The Guardian reported.

The Brexit secretary has reportedly contacted retail chief executives last week to call them to a roundtable, but it is understood that no major industry bosses plan to attend.

“Chief executives were not willing or able to clear diaries for what looks like a tick-box exercise from the department. There is no substance to the agenda,” one source revealed.

The source added: “The way it’s been run is a bit chaotic. It was short notice and that was a big reason why many chief execs couldn’t go.”

Amazon brings voice-activated Echo device to Britain and Germany

Etailer Amazon has launched its voice-activated smart home controls device dubbed ‘Echo’ in Britain and Germany, following its debut in the US in 2014, Reuters reported.

The Star Trek-inspired gadget, costing £149.99 in Britain and €179.99 in Germany, comes equipped with Alexa software that responds to voice commands to answer questions, order groceries, control internet-connected devices, call cabs and play music through third-party services such as Uber and Spotify.

Amazon's head of devices Dave Limp said the retailer had spent two years preparing for the European launch, with 1,000 engineers working to train the software to understand everything from local accents, senses of humour and colloquial phrases.