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.

GS1 US and JICC Digital Couponing Standard To Streamline Settlement

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Digital coupons just got safer for customers to use and retailers to accept. GS1 US and the Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) have collaborated to create a standard for paperless couponing. The new GS1 Standard helps retailers identify digital couponing transactions in a cash register transaction log with increased traceability at checkout, enabling more streamlined settlement for retailers. The standard builds upon previously established industry best practices for barcode-based paper coupons and helps identify coupons in POS transactions. Consumer interest in mobile couponing is at an all-time high — the number of mobile coupon users in the U.S. has grown nearly 18% in the past year to 92.6 million, according to eMarketer data, and by the end of 2016 mobile coupon users are expected to increase another 11% to 104 million.  “The new GS1 Standard is a step forward in addressing industry needs at a time when consumers are relying…

Apple Looks To India As Next Frontier For Retail Stores

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When Amazon decided to invest in additional $3 billion in India in June, they sent a clear message to every other retailer that the country was a high-priority destination going forward. Apple appears to have caught onto this trend as well, with CEO Tim Cook announcing that the tech giant will open retail stores in India. The announcement comes after Apple’s quarterly earnings report revealed that the retailer’s profit dipped 27% to $7.80 billion, largely due to a saturated market for iPhones.

Under Armour Set To Open Store At Prime NYC Location And Sell In Kohl’s

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Despite a 58% decrease in net income in Q2, Under Armour bolstered its revenues 28% to $1 billion, with the company setting sights on expansion. The athleticwear brand will be taking over the former location of FAO Schwarz in New York City as early as 2018, and will begin to sell products at Kohl’s stores nationwide and on starting in early 2017. Building a second Manhattan store in the 53,000-square-foot location at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street is the ultimate power play for Under Armour, which has sought to beef up its brand and fire up competition against Nike and the resurgent Adidas.

CART Debuts Innovation Pitch Forum For Retail Technology Startups

The Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) has announced a new event that focuses on bringing relevant and transformative innovation to retail. Dubbed the Retail Innovation Pitch, the inaugural event will recognize the growth of domestic and international retail technology startups looking to make their way in the U.S. market.

Starbucks Creates Siren Retail Group To Manage Specialty Store Growth

Starbucks has promoted Cliff Burrows to head its new Siren Retail Group, which will encompass the retailer's Roastery, Starbucks Reserve and stand-alone Princi bakeries. Burrows, who has been with Starbucks since 2001, most recently as Group President for the U.S. and Americas, also will take charge of growing the company's global Teavana business. The Siren Group's debut is part of several organizational changes at the company, including the promotion of John Culver to the role of Group President for Starbucks Global Retail. His most recent position was Group President for China/Asia Pacific, Channel Development and Emerging Brands.

Creditors Group Seeks Trustee To Manage Sports Authority Bankruptcy

While Sports Authority has continued to close its stores and sell off its remaining assets in the wake of its March 2016 bankruptcy filing, the retailer’s unsecured creditors are seeking ways to ensure they will be paid at least some of what they are owed. The creditors committee recommended a Delaware bankruptcy court to convert the case to a Chapter 7 liquidation, in which a trustee would be appointed to oversee the retailers’ bankruptcy. The committee argued that:

PayPal-Visa Deal Signals Some Agreement Within Fragmented Mobile Payments Industry

The longstanding rivalry between PayPal and Visa appears to have been quelled, with the companies striking a deal designed to make it easier for Visa cardholders to use the online payments system. With mobile payment transactions expected to reach $27 billion in 2016, many companies are seeking a place at the table. As mobile payments overall continue to grow, PayPal and Visa are essentially bending to consumers’ will, with an understanding that a more open, inclusive payments platform will reel in more transactions for everyone. But more importantly, they’re showing that two major payments businesses can play nice in an environment that often has been characterized more by exclusion than cooperation.

$1 Billion Price Tag For Dollar Shave Club Represents Potential Payoff For Other Disruptive Brands

CPG titan Unilever has agreed to acquire men’s subscription grooming brand Dollar Shave Club, with the transaction being valued at as much as $1 billion in cash, according to Fortune. The high price tag could be  a great sign for other industry disruptors breaking into verticals populated by few major established players, according to industry analysts. Dollar Shave Club had a $630 million valuation as of November 2015, a number that’s even more impressive considering the century-long dominance of the Gillette and Schick brands, which are now owned by multinational CPG firms Procter & Gamble and Energizer Holdings, respectively.

Customers Flock To Hello Kitty-Themed Pop-Up Café In California

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Irvine, Calif. just got a whole lot cuter. The city is now home to America’s first Hello Kitty Café, and consumers are flocking to the pink shipping container refurbished into a walk-up counter and dining patio area. In fact, the crowds were so big that the café had to temporarily close for a few hours.

Aéropostale Forced To Seek Buyer As Reorganization Is 'Not Feasible’

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Aéropostale, the latest of several teen retailers that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, is unlikely to reorganize after all. The retailer determined that “reorganization on a standalone basis is not feasible,” according to a court filing reported by Bloomberg. Instead, Aéropostale will opt to sell its assets to a new buyer. The retailer's goal is to find a lead bidder by Aug. 15. If there’s a sign that any other parties are interested, Aéropostale will hold an auction for its assets on Aug. 22, 2016.

Age Old Dispute Between Merchants And Card Networks Underlies Walmart-Visa Skirmish

Credit card fees appear to have finally reached a breaking point for one major retailer. After months of talks stalled, Walmart’s Canadian branch took a first step in what may possibly result in the phasing out of Visa as a payment option at its 400 stores throughout the country. Walmart Canada has already stopped taking Visa cards in three separate stores in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Walmart Canada indicated in a statement on its web site on July 11 that the interchange fees associated with Visa credit card purchases remain “unacceptably high.” Walmart says the fees it pays Visa in Canada are four times higher than in other countries. Walmart’s U.S. stores work under a different agreement with Visa, and are not affected by the dispute.

Mastercard Masterpass Will Serve 5M Stores In 77 Countries

Mastercard has introduced the global digital Masterpass solution, which allows consumers to pay online, through mobile apps or in brick-and-mortar stores. Currently available at hundreds of thousands of merchants online or in-app, Masterpass contactless payments will soon expand to more than five million physical locations in 77 countries, with 1.8 million merchant locations in the U.S. alone. "Easy and intuitive payment methods have become table stakes," said Craig Vosburg, President of North America Mastercard at an event introducing the new service on July 14. "We've evolved our network to enable connections, security, ubiquity and interoperability. We want to enable our customers to pay anywhere, anytime, any way they want."

When Grocers Collide: Ahold And Delhaize To Divest 86 Stores In Wake Of Merger

Netherlands-based grocer Ahold and Belgian-based rival Delhaize have agreed with buyers to divest 86 U.S. stores in an effort to win the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approval for their pending merger. The merger is scheduled to be complete at the end of July 2016 pending FTC clearance. The combined company will be named Ahold Delhaize.

American Express Named Top Finance Brand For Mobile Experiences

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American Express was voted the best financial services brand for mobile experiences, according to Future of Finance, a report from digital experience consultancy Episerver. The report analyzed the mobile sites, Android, iPhone and tablet apps of 40 top UK and U.S. financial service providers. American Express took the lead in both UK and U.S. benchmarks, scoring high marks for its seamless design and usability across all platforms, regions and mobile devices. Though available on all platforms, AMEX scored particularly high on both Android mobiles and tablets for its use of location services and the latest "Touch ID" security features. Here are the UK’s top five financial mobile experiences: American Express The AA Hargreaves Lansdown PayPal Barclaycard Overall, the mobile experience scores were lower for the financial sector than they were in Episerver’s cross-market retail benchmark, which launched in November 2015. “For traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, a mobile-first approach has generally been…
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