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Which retail companies have reported the most successful year-over-year growth? How much did company X spend on its latest expansion? In the Retail TouchPoints Financial News section, industry insiders can find out what their peers are spending and how they are faring in the marketplace. This information can be useful for future implementation strategies, real estate ventures and growth opportunities.

Chewy Files For IPO

E-Commerce pet food retailer Chewy has filed for an IPO and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CHWY.” The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.

Amazon Outperforms Q1 Earnings Expectations With Record $3.6 Billion Net Income

Amazon heavily outperformed Q1 earnings expectations, reporting earnings of $7.09 per share — well ahead of the $4.72 per share predicted by Refinitiv. Profitability continues to be a bigger priority for the e-Commerce giant; its net income reached a record $3.6 billion, while its operating income of $4.4 billion represented…
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PayPal Participates In $11 Million Happy Returns Funding Round

PayPal has made a strategic investment in Happy Returns as part of an $11 million financing round that also included existing investors U.S. Venture Partners and Upfront Ventures. The returns, logistics and reporting solution provider has raised a total of $25 million since its founding in 2015. “Our mission is to make returns more delightful for consumers, more cost-effective for retailers, and more sustainable for the planet,” said David Sobie, Co-Founder and CEO at Happy Returns in a statement. “We’re thrilled to work with PayPal to make the process of returning more seamless for shoppers and our service more broadly available to PayPal’s large network of merchants.”

FullStory Raises $32 Million To Expand Digital Customer Experience Capabilities

FullStory, a digital intelligence platform, secured $32 million in Series C funding. The round, which brings the company’s total funding up to $47 million, was led by Stripes Group. Existing investors, including Dell Technologies Capital, GV, Kleiner Perkins and Salesforce Ventures, also contributed. The company said it plans to use the funds to expand on its platform’s digital intelligence capabilities and grow its team with at least 100 new hires over the next year.

Vue.ai Raises $17 Million To Deliver AI-Driven Styling Recommendations, Visual Search

Vue.ai, a platform designed to provide retailers with AI-driven and computer vision-based styling recommendations, automated product tagging, shoppable content and visual search capabilities, has raised $17 million in a Series B funding round led by Falcon Edge Capital. The new round brings the company’s total capital raised to $27.5 million. Already generating a fourfold annual revenue increase in 2018, Vue.ai will use the funds to grow its international team and scale its existing consumer base, according to a company statement. The platform is designed to automate critical functions across departments that are heavily dependent on human intuition, unifying data about products, people and processes. Global retailers such as Macy’s, thredUP, Argentina-based Mercadolibre and India-based Tata presently use Vue.ai.

China-Based Luckin Coffee Files U.S. IPO After Raising $150 Million

Starbucks has aspired to become the preferred coffee destination in China for a few years now, originally outlining a plan to open 5,000 cafés by 2021. But it is not the only coffee company pursuing aggressive growth in this market: China-based Luckin Coffee is planning 2,500 stores in 2019 alone, one year after building out a total of 2,000 in 2018. In the latest stage of its expansion, Luckin Coffee filed for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The coffee chain intends to list under the symbol "LK" on the Nasdaq, setting a placeholder amount of $100 million to indicate the size of the IPO, according to an SEC filing. The filing reports a 3,883% revenue increase between Q1 2018 and Q1 2019, but with losses more than tripling total revenue over that same period. For the first three months of 2019, the company continued to post a net loss of $85.3 million. Much of these losses come from the rapid store expansion — Luckin only opened its first café in October 2017 — in addition to the company’s focus on value pricing. It’s a far cry from the Starbucks focus on brand prestige to attract…

Casper Becomes Third Retailer In Two Weeks To Reach ‘Unicorn’ Status

Casper is joining Glossier and Rent the Runway as the latest digital native retailer to be valued at $1 billion, on the heels of a new $100 million Series D funding round. With the cash infusion, Casper is now valued at $1.1 billion, and seeks to use the funding to scale its global expansion efforts across brick-and-mortar, e-Commerce and wholesale. The funding and valuation come as Casper is seeking to hire underwriters for an IPO, according to Reuters.

Levi Strauss Raises $623.3 Million In IPO

Levi Strauss & Co. raised $623.3 million through its IPO, valuing the company at over $6.5 billion. The retailer offered approximately 36.7 million shares at $17 each, and has begun trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LEVI.

Starbucks Invests $100 Million In Food, Retail Startup Venture Fund

Starbucks has invested $100 million in Valor Siren Ventures, a new fund with plans to grow the next generation of food and retail startups. The fund will identify and invest in companies developing technologies, products and solutions related to food or retail. The venture fund investment is the first of its kind for Starbucks. Fund manager Valor Equity Partners hopes to raise an additional $300 million from other investors in the coming months; separately, Starbucks will explore direct commercial arrangements with the startups.

Glossier Valuation Reaches $1.2 Billion After $100 Million Funding Round

Glossier has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Sequoia Capital, with the direct-to-consumer beauty company now valued at $1.2 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal report. In 2018, Glossier generated more than $100 million in revenue, largely by selling unisex skincare, makeup and fragrance merchandise. In February 2018, the beauty brand secured $52 million in Series C funding to boost total funding to $86 million, achieving a valuation of $390 million. Of the roughly 130 VC-backed “unicorn” companies (those valued above $1 billion) in the U.S., only 14 have a female co-founder, putting Glossier in rare company, according to a 2018 PitchBook report.

StellaService Raises $11 Million, Sells Off Mystery Shopping Solution

StellaService has raised $11 million in its most recent funding round for Stella Connect, its people success platform for customer service teams. This SaaS solution provides clients including Jet.com, Williams-Sonoma and Warby Parker with an updated approach to motivating contact center agents and empowering managers. With Stella Connect becoming the parent company’s core product, StellaService has sold its mystery shopping software to PowerReviewsfor an undisclosed sum. The funding round included new investors Harbert Growth Partners and Zendesk.

Neiman Marcus Comes To Agreement With Lenders, Aims To Drive $5 Billion In Total Sales By 2024

Neiman Marcus has reached an agreement with majority noteholders and term lenders to extend the maturity of the retailer’s term loans and unsecured notes by three years. The plan, if implemented, is expected to provide Neiman Marcus with “ample runway” to execute on and complete its transformation plan, which has been dubbed “Project Rolex.”
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