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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.

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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Target Pilots Curbside Pickup In 10 Locations

CurbsideRetail powerhouse Target is testing curbside pickup at 10 stores throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The new fulfillment option is available through a partnership with Curbside, which provides a mobile commerce app that allows consumers to find, purchase and redeem products at their local stores faster and easier.

“At Target, we are always looking for new ways to improve the shopping experience,” said Casey Carl, President of Omnichannel at Target. “We’re excited to see how our Bay Area guests respond to the Curbside service, which provides an extremely convenient way for guests to get what they need on those days when every moment counts.”

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MasterCard Launches Tool To Identify Security Attacks

MastercardMasterCard announced the launch of SafetyNet, a tool designed to reduce the risk of cyber hacking of banks and processors. SafetyNet uses MasterCard’s global network to identify potential attacks before they start — in some cases before the bank or processor is aware of the attack.

SafetyNet is one part of MasterCard’s multilayer defense, which includes tools for banks, consumers and retailers. It is offered complementary to the issuing bank and uses algorithms to monitor different channels and geographies. The tool is already integrated into MasterCard’s payment network

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Capital Teas Launches Mobile App With LevelUp

CapitalTeasAppCapital Teas, a specialty tea provider, has selected LevelUp to power its mobile payment and loyalty app. The app is designed to provide one place for customers to access their method of payment and loyalty rewards. The app is scheduled to launch in November and will be available as a free download on the App Store and Google Play.

"Our customers demand high-quality loose teas, herbal infusions and excellent customer service,” said Peter Martino, Co-founder and CEO of Capital Teas.  “They also expect a simple, user-friendly mobile experience, and we intend to give them exactly that. We don't want our customers to have a disjointed payment and loyalty experience by having to open one app to pay, then another app to track their loyalty progress. We want them to simply open up their mobile wallet, see all their payment options in one place and pick the one that's going to provide them with the ability to pay, and get rewarded, with a single tap."

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