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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.

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

  • Published in News Briefs
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’

  • Published in News Briefs
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

  • Published in News Briefs
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…

Pokémon Go Showcases Potential Of Augmented Reality In Retail Featured

The Pokémon Go smartphone app has created plenty of buzz since its release in the U.S. and Australia on July 6, with more than 15 million people having downloaded the app from the Apple Store. From a retailer’s perspective, that’s 15 million case studies for how potential shoppers are getting used to and using augmented reality-based apps within their daily life. This could be great news for brick-and-mortar stores and malls, which have been seeking out ways to increase store traffic. Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, revealed that the app would include “sponsored locations” which would enable businesses to sponsor stops within the game, including “Pokéstops” and “Pokégyms” designed to help users collect items and stage battles with other opponents.

Burberry's Sales Fall Despite Growth At Home

  • Published in News Briefs
Even as some UK retailers have avoided the Brexit pinch, luxury retailer Burberry reported that its Q1 same-store retail sales fell 3%, as problems in Hong Kong and mainland Europe offset growth in the UK.  The company announced retail sales of $562.5 million, up 4% overall for the three months ending June 30, 2016. However, once new store openings were excluded from the calculations, Burberry's sales dipped by 3%. Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the Americas all experienced low single-digit same-store sales declines.

UK Startup Bridges Store And Mobile With Real-Time Inventory Data

  • Published in News Briefs
Although all Brexit-related news continues to stay top-of-mind for UK retailers and consumers, one startup is going full speed ahead to ensure that local stores throughout the nation can continue to connect with shoppers. Retail tech startup NearSt is aiming to bridge the in-store and mobile experiences with the launch of its NearLive platform, as well as its web site and mobile app. The platform, which has already partnered with local bookstores in London, is expanding its retail partnerships to more sellers including consumer electronics, DIY goods, health and beauty products, sportswear, stationery and gift shop services.

Brazil’s Drogaria Araujo Prescribes Itself Optimization and Analytics Services

  • Published in News Briefs
Drogaria Araujo, a drugstore chain with more than 160 stores in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, has selected Revionics Price Suite, Revionics Promotion Suite and Analytics Services to improve its price and promotion management and optimization capabilities. “In the midst of a slowing economy and rising inflation, it is more important than ever to offer our customers a competitive price image and create more localized, profitable promotions,” said Bruno Araujo, Commercial Director at Drogaria Araujo.

Dixons Carphone Group Adopts Cloud Technology for Seamless Integration, Scalability

  • Published in News Briefs
London-based telecommunications retail and services company, Dixons Carphone Group is migrating to an IBM hybrid cloud to integrate two distinct infrastructures, post-merger, and enable easy scaling to better manage the peaks and valleys of seasonal shopping trends.  “We know we can trust IBM Cloud to seamlessly integrate the infrastructures of both companies into one hybrid cloud that will enable us to continue focusing on other parts of the business,” said David Hennessy, IT Director for Dixons Carphone. “We are the retailer people trust to bring technology to life in a way that works for them and we are confident in IBM’s ability to support us in the next stage of our development.” 

Travis Perkins Selects Infor To Improve Customer and Employee Experience

Travis Perkins, a UK-based retailer of building materials and home improvement tools, has partnered with cloud-based enterprise solutions platform provider Infor. The retailer selected Infor CloudSuite to deliver a variety of strategic, technical and financial benefits, with the goal of enhancing the experience for its customers and employees across the business. The Infor partnership is the retailer’s most significant investment in IT solutions to date, according to a company statement.
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