News Briefs

Staying on top of breaking news in the retail industry is a commitment Retail TouchPoints editors take seriously. Each day, we publish the latest information in this News Briefs section. Up-to-the-minute stories cover retail implementations, new product announcements, financial updates, executive appointments and overall global updates affecting every aspect of the retail industry.

First Data And Verifone Collaborate To Combat Data Breaches

Verifone FirstDataPayment solutions providers First Data and Verifone have established a new partnership to help U.S. merchants reduce their exposure to payment data breaches and accelerate mass acceptance of EMV-enabled credit and debit cards.

“As we have seen over the past few years, data breaches have become widespread and undermine consumer confidence and privacy,” said Guy Chiarello, President of First Data. “While EMV acceptance in the marketplace will strengthen data protection, it creates a burden on merchants and those that serve them. This partnership with Verifone furthers our objective of working with the leading payment technology providers to benefit merchants and their customers.”  


Amazon Extends One-Hour Delivery To Prime Members In NYC

After announcing that it would extend one-hour delivery to consumers in the New York City area for last-minute holiday gift needs, Amazon has decided to make the service available year round.

Amazon has announced the launch of Prime Now, which will offer one-hour delivery on thousands of items to Prime members in New York City. Powered by Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers, Prime Now will give customers quick and easy access to essentials like paper towels, shampoo, toys and batteries.


Quiksilver Taps Demandware To Ramp Up Global E-Commerce Business

Quiksilver, a sports lifestyle company, plans to implement the Demandware cloud commerce platform on a company-wide, global scale. All three Quiksilver brands — Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes — currently operate on the Demandware Commerce Cloud across North America, Europe and Russia.

The retailer switched from an on-premise solution to Demandware to improve product time to market and provide a consistent consumer experience across its three brands and numerous geographies.


Wal-Mart Must Pay $188 Million To Workers In Class Action Suit

WalmartThe Pennsylvania Supreme Court has mandated Wal-Mart Stores to pay $188 million to former employees who were not appropriately compensated for all hours worked, according to an SEC filing from the retailer.

The court upheld a lower court’s 2007 ruling in a class action suit filed against Wal-Mart Stores. As part of the lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that the company failed to pay the employees for hours worked and prevented them from taking their full meal and rest breaks.


ChowNow Adds ApplePay To Online Ordering Solution

chownow2ChowNow, an online ordering solution and smartphone app developer for restaurants, will offer Apple Pay as part of its platform, making it the first online ordering program to offer the payment technology. All ChowNow client ordering apps will accept Apple Pay by January 2015.

With the Apple Pay integration, ChowNow will enable diners with an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch to complete orders with a fingerprint instead of manually inputting their credit card numbers and billing addresses. As a result, restaurants will be able to provide ease and convenience to customers, helping to boost satisfaction and overall order volumes.


American Apparel Fires Dov Charney, Appoints New CEO

American Apparel has fired former CEO and Founder Dov Charney for reasons related to the terms of his employment agreement, according to a company statement. The retailer’s Board of Directors has appointed Paula Schneider as CEO, effective Jan. 5, 2015. Interim CEO Scott Brubaker will consult American Apparel and assist with the transition.

Prior to her appointment at American Apparel, Schneider served in executive roles at numerous retail and apparel companies, including BCBG Max Azria, Gores Group, Laundry by Shelli Segal and Warnaco.


InSparq Trending Product Engine Boosts Sales 7.8%

Social merchandise recommendation engine inSparq has driven a 7.8% lift in online sales for online apparel retailer
The platform enables retailers to showcase trending products to all web site visitors, including those without a past purchase or browse history. The engine is designed to differentiate from traditional recommendation engines such as Amazon that are catered more toward repeat customers.

IBM And Apple Introduce Store Associate Suite

IBMAppleAs part of their enterprise partnership, IBM and Apple unveiled the IBM MobileFirst suite of apps for iOS. The apps bring IBM Big Data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad users and are functional for numerous industries, including retail, telecommunications, government and financial markets.

The service includes the Store Associate Suite, which carries two new apps, Sales Assist and Pick & Pack. These apps are designed to enable enhanced engagement between customers and sales associates. They also allow sales associates to provide real-time product, inventory availability and location information to customers based on historical patterns and profile data.


Blackhawk Gift Cards Now Available At Select USPS Locations

USPSThe United States Postal Service (USPS) and gift card and payments provider Blackhawk Network have entered a distribution deal that allows USPS to offer closed loop gift cards from Blackhawk at select post office locations.

“The USPS is excited to work with Blackhawk Network to offer gift cards in our post offices – it is a completely natural fit,” said Nagisa Manabe, EVP and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer of USPS. “We have been focused on providing more consumer services and products, and working with Blackhawk allows us to offer one of the best managed programs and product suites to our customers.”


Amazon Enables Shopper Price Negotiation With ‘Make An Offer’

Amazon has introduced a new feature called “Make an Offer,” which allows buyers to negotiate with sellers over the initial price offered on specific products. With the feature, buyers can suggest lower prices, which the seller has the right to accept or reject.

More than 150,000 items listed on the marketplace are eligible for the feature, across categories such as Sports and Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins and Fine Art. The feature is expected to expand to “hundreds of thousands” more items in 2015, according to a company statement.


Bebe Stores Reportedly Targeted In Data Breach

bebeBebe Stores, a women’s apparel chain, potentially may be the latest retailer to suffer a breach in credit and debit card data, according to a report from Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity. Officials from Bebe Stores have not commented on the report.

Krebs initially heard reports from numerous unidentified financial institutions regarding a pattern of fraudulent charges on credit cards used at Bebe locations across the U.S between Nov. 18 and Nov. 28. It is unclear if the apparent breach is still ongoing, or if it occured prior to Nov. 18, 2014. There also is no data to suggest the breach has had any effect on the retailer’s online store.


Simon And EBay Unveil First “Connected Mall” Directory

Shopping center operator Simon has partnered with eBay to launch the “Connected Mall” interactive directory at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, Calif. The new digital experience includes point-to-point navigation for mobile devices, as well as personalized offers and deals.

The Connected Mall is designed to provide retailers with a new way to boost store foot traffic and collect customer feedback. Presented on a 72-inch, HD touchscreen, the directory includes 3D maps that provide customers with an accurate representation of their location in the mall.


RadioShack And Lenders Disagree On Loan Terms

RadioShack disclosed that it received a notice from one of its lenders, Salus Capital Partners, claiming that the retailer had breached covenants on a $250 million term loan.

The retailer asserted that the Salus accusations are “wrong and self-serving” and that it will “vigorously contest these claims.” The claims relate primarily to a recapitalization and investment agreement made on Oct. 3, 2014.


Tumblr Ranked As Fastest-Growing Social Network In 2014

tumblrTumblr has seen its active user base grow 120% in the last six months, making it the fastest-growing social network in 2014, according to research from GlobalWebIndex. Tumblr edged out Pinterest, which reported an active user increase of 111% throughout the same time period.

The fastest-growing social mobile app in the last six months is Snapchat. With a 56% increase in users, Snapchat's growth has been spearheaded by a large teen presence in several countries, including: Ireland (38% of teens have used the app in the past month), Canada (35%) and the UK (35%). Not far behind Snapchat are Facebook Messenger (52% increase in users) and Instagram (47%).

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