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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.

Target Holiday Plans Include Free Shipping, New Apps And Seasonal Deals

Target has announced a series of new initiatives for the holiday season to provide customers with more valuable and memorable experiences.

With overall conversions on digital channels increasing by 20% this year, Target is improving the online shopping experience by providing free shipping on all e-Commerce orders through December 20. Additionally, the retailer has expanded the number of products eligible for in-store pickup. More than 65,000 items are now available for in-store pickup, with 80% of orders able to be fulfilled within an hour.

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Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Joins Motorola PartnerEmpower Program

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Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions
, a provider of POS technology for the retail industry, has joined the Motorola PartnerEmpower Program to further expand its omnichannel offerings.

In signing the Global Systems Integrator Agreement from Motorola, Toshiba now is certified to resell Motorola scanners, mobile computers and wireless network solutions to retail customers. Toshiba also will be able to provide end-users with value-added services, such as consulting, education, staging and integration.

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Staples Investigates Potential Data Breach

staples3Staples may be the next in a line of retailers experiencing a payment card data breach. The retailer is presently investigating the potential breach and has contacted law enforcement, according to Mark Cautela, Sr. Public Relations Manager at Staples.

“We take the protection of customer information very seriously, and are working to resolve the situation,” said Cautela in an email. “If Staples discovers an issue, it is important to note that customers are not responsible for any fraudulent activity on their credit cards that is reported on [in] a timely basis.”

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Obama Makes Payment Security Top Of Mind With New Executive Order

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President Obama has signed a new Executive Order, onboarding the government to lead the charge in better securing transactions and sensitive data.

The BuySecure Initiative was crafted to better assist victims of identity theft, improve the government’s payment security. It also is intended to  accelerate the implementation of more robust security technologies and development of payment security tools.

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American Express Brings Membership Rewards Program To McDonald’s

AmexMcDAmerican Express and McDonald’s announced that Membership Rewards program members will have the ability to use their points to purchase food and beverages at the chain’s restaurants. The new offering is expected to be rolled out in 14,000 participating McDonald’s locations nationwide by December 2014.

The American Express Membership Rewards program enables Card Members to earn one point for virtually every dollar charged on eligible, enrolled American Express Cards. With the McDonald’s partnership, American Express also will donate $1 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) every time an American Express card member uses points for their McDonald’s orders. To use points at participating restaurants, members must:

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Starbucks Introduces Mobile Order, New Store Formats, Contest For Holiday Campaign

Starbucks-reserveStarbucks will roll out a Mobile Order and Pay feature across all U.S. stores in 2015. Initially, the technology will be implemented in cafés in the Portland, Ore., area before the end of 2014. 
 
The service is integrated with the Starbucks mobile app and is designed to enable customers to place orders in advance of their visit. Customers who use the service will have their order ready for them once they arrive at their selected Starbucks location. 
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Wal-Mart Boosts Investment In E-Commerce, Reduces Store Openings

Wal-Mart Stores has announced plans to focus more investments in e-Commerce and digital initiatives in FY2016 up to $1.5 billion, a 50% increase from the $1 billion estimate for FY2015.

In contrast, the retailer will add fewer store space in FY2016: approximately 30 million square feet down from 34 million in FY2015. The company expects to open between 60 and 70 supercenters and 200 to 220 Neighborhood Markets in FY2016, both reduced from the 120 supercenters and 240 Neighborhood Markets projected to be built by the end of FY2015.

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Apple Pay Launches October 20

Apple Pay on iPad Air 2Users of Apple’s latest mobile devices can start loading credit cards and make payments on Monday, October 20 when iOS 8.1 is pushed for release. Apple Pay allows shoppers to pay for items using their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus devices in participating stores and within apps. The newly announced iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 also will include Apple Pay, however these devices do not include NFC chips, so functionality is limited to payments within apps.

“Our team has worked incredibly hard to make Apple Pay private and secure, with the simplicity of a single touch of your finger,” said Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services at Apple. “The reaction to Apple Pay has been amazing. We continue to add more Apple Pay ready banks, credit card companies and merchants, and think our users will love paying with Apple Pay.”

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TiVo And HSN Turn The TV Into A Shopping Touch Point

Shop By RemoteTiVo and HSN have partnered to launch Shop By Remote, an interactive shopping tool that allows TiVo users to shop for products featured on HSN through their televisions. This new shopping tool is available to all TiVo users.

“HSN is excited to partner with the creators of TiVo and to bring to our shared customer a fantastic TV shopping experience,” said Peter Ruben, EVP of Affiliate Marketing and Sales for HSN. “The ease and convenience of HSN Shop by Remote is a natural fit with TiVo’s intuitive, highly user-friendly interface.”

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SAP Partners With IBM To Expand Cloud Services

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SAP 
has selected IBM as a premier strategic provider of cloud infrastructure services for its business applications. With the partnership SAP aims to accelerate customers' ability to run their businesses in the cloud. 

The SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud offering is now available through the IBM cloud, allowing the company to expand into new markets, domestically and globally. 

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Office Depot Implements Supplier Collaboration Solution From HighJump Software

Office Depot
Office Depot
has selected the Atlas Products network-based supplier collaboration platform from HighJump Software to better manage its European trading operations. 

A global provider of products, services and solutions for the workplace, Office Depot currently serves consumers through its more than 2,000 retail locations, e-Commerce web sites and a business-to-business sales channel.

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JCPenney Names Home Depot Exec President And CEO-Designee

EllisonThe JCPenney Board of Directors has selected Marvin Ellison, current EVP of U.S. Stores at The Home Depot, as the company’s next President and CEO-Designee effective November 1, 2014. Ellison also will officially succeed current CEO Myron “Mike” Ullman III as CEO and a member of the JCPenney Board of Directors when Ullman steps down on August 1, 2015.

Ellison has nearly 30 years of retail experience, serving in his current position since August 2008. He has worked at Home Depot in numerous executive roles for 12 years, including President of the company’s Northern Division and SVP of Global Logistics. Prior to joining Home Depot, Ellison spent 15 years with Target in a variety of operational roles, including Corporate Director of Asset Protection.

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EarthLink Unveils PCI Compliance Solutions Suite

EarthLinkPCIEarthLink Holdings Corp., an online services and cloud solutions provider for multi-location businesses, has launched the PCI Compliance Solutions suite designed to help retailers achieve and maintain PCI DSS 3.0 compliance while ensuring financial breach protection.

“When we speak with retail CIOs, the increasing risk of data breaches and cost-effective PCI compliance remain top of mind,” said Rick Froehlich, EVP of Products and Consumer at Earthlink. “But many do not know where to start or lack the in-house expertise to tackle the issue.”

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National Retail Federation Forecasts Holiday Sales To Increase 4.1%

NRF Holiday SalesThe National Retail Federation (NRF) expects sales in November and December to increase 4.1% to $616.9 billion. The forecast is a full percentage point higher than the 3.1% increase experienced in 2013 and the first time it has topped 4% since 2011. The NRF attributes this potential growth to a number of factors that include a longer holiday shopping season than 2013 and issues that will not impact shoppers this year, such as the government shutdown. Lower utility costs due to a mild summer and falling gas prices also contributed to the higher forecast.

The NRF holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model that uses indicators that include consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales releases. This year’s forecast also included non-store categories, such as direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales.

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