Financial News - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Sat, 19 Oct 2019 05:58:42 -0400 RTP en-gb Trigo Raises $22 Million To Scale Checkout-Free Technology Trigo Raises $22 Million To Scale Checkout-Free Technology

Trigo, a computer vision platform providing checkout-free technology to grocery retailers, has raised $22 million in a Series A funding round. With the funds, Trigo seeks to scale its technology in stores larger than 5,000 square feet (twice the size of an average Amazon Go store), and advance its partnerships with U.S. and European grocery retailers.

The Tel Aviv-based company already has partnered with a number of global grocery chains, including leading European retailers and Israel's largest grocer, Shufersal, which will be deploying Trigo's technology in 280 stores over the next five years. Trigo has raised $29 million in total funding to date.

The round was led by growth fund Red Dot Capital with the participation of existing investors Vertex Ventures Israel and Hetz Ventures.

The Trigo computer vision system uses ceiling-mounted cameras, neural networks, advanced AI and proprietary algorithms to identify and record the items picked up by shoppers while they are in the store. The technology also is designed to ensure that shoppers are not charged twice for items, and that items are removed from the total if they are discarded before a person leaves the store.

The company's 3D space-mapping technology can be retrofitted into existing stores. The platform is designed to enable consumers to spend their shopping time picking up the items they need while avoiding the need for scanning altogether. Shoppers can be billed automatically or may pay cash or card upon exiting.

The Trigo technology also will enable shoppers to "opt in" or “opt out” of the system with their mobile devices when they enter the store. Those who opt in will identify themselves via a loyalty program, while those who "opt out" will instead have an "unidentified” experience where personal data remains untracked.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Tue, 17 Sep 2019 12:36:21 -0400
Simbe Secures $26 Million In Funding Simbe Secures $26 Million In Funding

Simbe Robotics, Inc. announced two separate funding deals today – a Series A equity financing round and an inventory financing agreement with SoftBank Robotics (SBR). The $26 million Series A was led by Venrock with participation from Future Shape, Valo Ventures, and Activant Capital. The equity capital will go toward business operations including growing their team; scaling sales, marketing and customer success functions; and continued investment in R&D.

Founded in 2014, Simbe provides data-driven inventory solutions for retailers. Additionally, Simbe’s Tally robot is capable of performing multiple store traversals per day and executing a variety of auditing tasks.

Following their initial partnership to scale Simbe’s business globally, SBR and Simbe will expand their collaboration to include inventory financing, accelerating Simbe’s global deployment of Tally. The funds will support scaled manufacturing of an additional 1,000 Tally units over the coming two years.

“With Simbe, retail stores can free up scarce labor to spend more time doing high-value activities like interacting with customers. Retail is changing, and stores must modernize to succeed in today’s environment,” said David Pakman, partner at Venrock and a Simbe board member in a statement.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Financial News Thu, 12 Sep 2019 16:37:18 -0400
Neighborhood Goods Raises $11 Million Ahead Of New Store Openings Neighborhood Goods Raises $11 Million Ahead Of New Store Openings

Neighborhood Goods, a retailer that positions itself as the modern reinvention of the traditional department store, has raised $11 million in a new round of financing led by Global Founders Capital to aid in expanding its brick-and-mortar presence.

More specifically, the funding is designed to help Neighborhood Goods secure more real estate, build its staff, ramp up its supply chain with faster delivery options and build out a backend digital platform where all the retailer’s brand partners can check sales metrics in real time.

The Texas-based company has raised $25.5 million to date and is expanding into a new location in Austin to complement its store in Plano. Later this year, the retailer is planning to open a location in New York City’s Meatpacking District, according to CEO and Co-Founder Matt Alexander.

Further ahead, Neighborhood Goods says it’s planning to roll out more locations in 2020. Alexander told CNBC that he can see the company getting to the point where it opens a new shop as rapidly as every three to four months.

In building out a modern department store that showcases a rotating collection of products from newly popular brands such as Rothy’s, Dollar Shave Club, Draper James and Stadium Goods, Alexander aims to create an environment that adapts to consumer shopping habits. For example, Neighborhood Goods holds weekly events like workout classes, gardening workshops and tastings. During a panel at The Lead Innovation Summit held July 9-10, Alexander noted that innovation is fluid and must be a continuous process.

“There’s always going to be a ‘work in progress,’” Alexander said. “You have to have a general sense of self-awareness and willingness to acknowledge that you don’t necessarily have a finished product and the answer to every problem.”

Previous investors Forerunner Ventures, Serena Ventures, NextGen Venture PartnersAllen Exploration, Capital Factory and others participated in the most recent round.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:14:16 -0400
Olivela Raises $35 Million In Series A Funding Olivela Raises $35 Million In Series A Funding

Olivela, a fashion and beauty retailer housing 400+ luxury brands, has secured $35 million in Series A financing led by Morgan Stanley. The company is built on a philanthropic business model, donating 20% of proceeds to charitable causes across the globe.

The funding will be used to fuel Olivela’s next phase of growth, which will include more partnerships with charitable partners locally, nationally and internationally. Olivela is curating a “Women’s Empowerment” takeover that will kick off with a trip to Jordan to meet with 30 young women who were sent to school from Olivela’s donations last year, as well as 100 more who will go to school next year.

The vision for Olivela started when Founder Stacey Boyd visited Dadaab, Kenya, to attend a gathering at the world's largest refugee camp for Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai’s 19th birthday celebration.

After returning home, Boyd shared her experience with leading luxury designers from fashion brands such as Givenchy, Jimmy Choo, Stella McCartney and Valentino, asking them if they would partner with her to build a luxury fashion and beauty retail concept that would help support at-risk communities.

Olivela opened its first brick-and-mortar location, a pop-up shop, in Nantucket, Mass. from June to October 2018, before turning into a standalone boutique. The retailer has since opened another boutique in Aspen, Colo. and has held pop-up events in Miami, San Francisco, Houston and on Long Island.

Launched in 2017, Olivela has donated to global charities like CARE and Malala Fund, in addition to community charities such as the Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Aspen Education Foundation. The current team of 60+ has offices in New York, London and San Francisco.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Financial News Fri, 06 Sep 2019 09:23:08 -0400
Theatro Secures Strategic Investments From Honeywell And Cisco Theatro Secures Strategic Investments From Honeywell And Cisco

Theatro, the developer of a voice-controlled mobile platform connecting hourly employees to enterprise resources, has secured investments from Honeywell Ventures and Cisco Investments. Neither company has disclosed the total amount they have invested in Theatro.

The investments by Honeywell and Cisco are designed to help maximize the reach of Theatro’s in-ear virtual assistant for retail store associates and expand the industries and markets Theatro can serve.

The voice-driven Theatro Intelligent Assistant platform, offered as a “hardware-enabled” software as a service solution, is designed to give deskless employees a “heads up and hands-free” connection to their enterprise systems and management teams.

Through its relationship with Honeywell’s Safety and Productivity Solutions business, Theatro can expand the set of options available to users of Honeywell mobile solutions. For Cisco, the investment extends its strategic vision of Cognitive Collaboration, which leverages software, hardware, artificial intelligence, machine learning and network synergies to drive interoperability and workforce transformation.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Tue, 27 Aug 2019 15:32:24 -0400
Cole Haan Preps For IPO Cole Haan Preps For IPO

Premium shoemaker Cole Haan, currently owned by private equity firm Apax Partners, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO), following significant sales and profit growth. The decision comes after the footwear company said its annual sales grew 14% to $687 million, while adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) jumped 56% to $95.3 million.

“Our management team is confident in the opportunities we have created for the Cole Haan brand and our business globally,” Cole Haan CEO Jack Boys said in a statement. “Based on the momentum we have generated in the business and the opportunities we believe are before Cole Haan, we have determined that now is the time to prepare for an initial public offering of the company’s shares.”

The company is in the process of starting discussions with investment banks, according to Bloomberg. Timing of a possible offering has not been disclosed.

Nike used to own Cole Haan before selling the brand to Apax for $570 million in 2013. At the time, Cole Haan, built primarily on dress shoes, appeared to fall out of favor as consumers shifted toward comfort and casual footwear. The brand’s growth had slowed, with annual sales at the time gaining just 2.7% to $535 million in 2012.

But the brand hopped on the athleisure trend at the right time, pivoting toward sneakers and slip-ons after the sale. Earlier this month, the brand launched its Grand Ambition line, with each shoe infused with comfort technology created in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Biomechanics Laboratory.

Additionally, while other footwear retailers such as Payless and Nine West struggled on their way to bankruptcy, with the former shuttering its North American operations entirely, Cole Haan has benefited from having relatively few stores (112 in the U.S. and Canada), which allowed it to spin its focus to e-Commerce more efficiently.In North America, nearly 30% of Cole Haan’s total sales are online.

The company’s success caught the attention of its debt investors, who raised $290 million in term-loan financing in February.

Cole Haan even has an advantage from competitors when it comes to potential negative impact of additional tariffs on Chinese imports. While China supplied 53% of footwear to the U.S. in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Cole Haan has said it primarily sources its manufacturing in Vietnam and India.

Footwear IPOs remain a rarity — Cole Haan’s would be the first in the U.S. since 2006, when Crocs Inc. and Heelys Inc. filed for offerings.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Mon, 26 Aug 2019 12:16:14 -0400
Boll & Branch Receives $100 Million Investment To Boost Growth Boll & Branch Receives $100 Million Investment To Boost Growth

Boll & Branch has received a $100 million strategic investment from the Flagship Buyout Fund of L Catterton. The retailer will use the funds to fuel its growth, accelerate the expansion of its retail and wholesale businesses and support its direct-to-consumer business.

"We have grown quickly since our launch in 2014, and are thrilled to welcome L Catterton to the Boll & Branch family,” said Scott Tannen, Founder and CEO of Boll & Branch, in a statement. “L Catterton brings unmatched experience in direct-to-consumer retail and home goods and is the ultimate value-added partner."

Boll & Branch puts an emphasis on sustainability by using certified-organic cotton and transparent business practices, including a Fair Trade certified supply chain. L Catterton has been investing in brands with a similar focus on corporate responsibility, including Elemis, Mizzen+Main, Restoration Hardware and ThirdLove.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Financial News Mon, 26 Aug 2019 10:31:43 -0400
JRNI Raises $6 Million In Financing, Names Chief Technology Officer JRNI Raises $6 Million In Financing, Names Chief Technology Officer

JRNI, a customer engagement platform for omnichannel conversion, has closed a $6 million extension to its Series C financing led by PeakSpan Capital, with participation from Downing Ventures and Somerston Group. The round builds on the $13.4 million Series C financing JRNI received in April 2018 and brings the company’s total funding to $23.2 million.

The investment will help JRNI expand its global footprint and accelerate its sales, marketing, development and customer success initiatives in the U.S. Additionally, JRNI recently rebranded from BookingBug to reflect the modern customer journey.

JRNI also has hired Simon Copsey as its first Chief Technology Officer. Copsey, who has 30 years of software, engineering and product experience, will oversee the solution provider’s technology and product strategy and will lead the development, engineering and product teams.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Financial News Wed, 21 Aug 2019 14:26:23 -0400
Q2 Roundup: Walmart Wins Big, Department And Apparel Stores Must Prepare For Tariffs Q2 Roundup: Walmart Wins Big, Department And Apparel Stores Must Prepare For Tariffs

With another major earnings week underway, the biggest names in retail continue to grab the most attention, albeit for quite contradictory reasons:

  • Walmart was a big winner despite its internal struggle over high e-Commerce losses;
  • Department stores such as Macy’s, Kohl’s and JCPenney still haven’t shown significant signs of growth even as partnerships and investments ramp up; and
  • Current and looming Chinese tariffs continue to put worry lines on the faces of department store and apparel retail executives.

Walmart reported a 37% increase in e-Commerce sales, along with a total revenue increase of 2.9% to $131.7 billion, while same-store sales jumped 2.8%.The average ticket was up 2.2%, better than a 1.8% increase a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) was $1.27, outperforming the $1.22 initially forecast by Refinitiv.

Some of the best news for Walmart comes in what to expect down the line. For the remainder of the fiscal year, Walmart now forecasts an adjusted EPS to range between “a slight decrease to a slight increase,” an improvement compared with a prior forecast that was calling for “a low-single-digit percentage” decline. 

“This is a bold statement from Walmart,” said Jharonne Martis, Director of Consumer Research at Refinitiv in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. In general, “retailers are telling us not to expect too much from them for Q3. To date (Aug. 19), we have received 19 negative Q3 guidance pre-announcements and only seven positive, so the fact that Walmart is doing it in such a time of uncertainty definitely underlines the strength of the retailer.”

Net income for Walmart rose to $3.61 billion compared with a net loss of $861 million a year earlier, illustrating that even though the company reportedly is taking massive losses in its digital division this year and making significant investments across its supply chain and e-Commerce initiatives, it is still making plenty of money overall.

“Walmart continues to tactically grow market share as evidenced by increased margins,” said Charlie O’Shea, VP and Lead Retail Analyst at Moody’s in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “With guidance for the second half raised, and the competitive landscape in the U.S. continuing to favor size and strength, we expect Walmart to continue to be one of the pacesetters in retail, with continued share growth benefitting from its next day delivery effort, which is rolling out at a breakneck pace, now covering 75% of U.S. households.”

Department Stores Continue To Slide: Is This Their ‘Kodak’ Moment?

Walmart’s very strong quarter has come to be more or less expected. Another recurring feature of quarterly earnings reports: continued weakness in department stores. Prior to the earnings result announcements, Refinitiv estimated that the department store category altogether would see an average 1.3% dip in same-store sales for the quarter.

“You buy discounters, and you sell department stores,” said Boris Schlossberg, Managing Director at BK Asset Management said on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “Department stores are actually having a ‘Kodak’ moment, and not in a very good way. They’re getting completely disintermediated as we go forward.”

Macy’s net sales fell 0.5% to $5.55 billion in Q2, with same-store sales increasing by a paltry 0.3% across all owned and licensed locations. Net income dropped to $86 million, or 28 cents per share, from $166 million,or 53 cents per share for the same period a year ago. Refinitiv had expected Macy’s to earn net income of 45 cents per share.

Macy’s kept its sales guidance for the remainder of the year unchanged. However, the company lowered its earnings guidance; the retailer is now expecting its fiscal 2019 earnings per share to be in the range of $2.85 to $3.05 compared to its previous forecast of $3.05 to $3.25.

"Department stores continue to be challenged in their effort to stabilize operating margins,” said Christina Boni, VP and Senior Credit Officer at Moody's in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “Although Macy’s comp sales remained positive at 0.3%, Q2 performance was clearly disappointing, as operating income declined approximately 50%. Inventory clearance pressured Macy’s gross margins despite management of expenses. Total inventories were up only 1.5% at the end of the quarter, which suggests that Macy’s should be better positioned to enter the fall season.”

While Kohl’s has turned a lot of heads with its Amazon returns initiative and recent “Curated by Kohl’s” partnership with Facebook, the department store still saw Q2 same-store sales drop 2.9%, a bigger drop than the 2.5% that had been forecast by Refinitiv. The retailer also saw a drop in net income, from $292 million to $241 million, and saw overall sales drop 3.3% to $4.17 billion.

JCPenneyreported a whopping 9% same-store sales decline, well below an expected decline of 5.2%, on top of total Q2 revenue declines of 7.4% to $2.62 billion. The one silver lining (from a certain point of view) for the company is that its net loss of $48 million is half that of its $101 million loss last year. But the company clearly has a long way to go; earlier in August, the department store received notice that it was at risk of being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Its stock fell below $1 on July 19 and has been trading below that level ever since.

Looming Tariffs Spell Uncertainty For Department, Apparel Retailers Ahead Of Holiday Season

As if department stores don’t have enough trouble to deal with, the continuing trade war between the U.S. and China is doing them no favors. Although the Trump administration is postponing the 10% tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese goods until Dec. 15 — including those on popular consumer items such as cellphones, laptop computers, video game consoles, computer monitors and some toys, shoes and clothing —retailers still must deal with uncomfortably high levels of uncertainty as they prepare for the holiday season.

“Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said it very clear last week that customers have no appetite for higher prices, and that is very evident in the results we’ve seen so far in earnings,” said Refinitiv’s Martis. “If the tariffs were to be passed on and if retailers have to tack on those prices for the consumer, that might be devastating for the weak-performing retailers. In a study where we looked at some of the retailers that are more vulnerable to the tariffs due to more products manufactured in China, it’s evident that all five department stores — Macy’s, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Nordstrom and Dillard’s — would be hurt the most if hit by higher prices due to tariffs.”

On the other hand, Walmart, Ross Stores and TJX are all built to best handle this, particularly since Walmart sources less than 10% of items from China, and shoppers that remain interested in lower prices will continue to gravitate to off-price retailers.

Still, any retailer stocking Chinese-made items has good reason for concern. As recently as 2018, China was still a dominant supplier of apparel and footwear to the U.S. China accounted for 33% of global apparel imports to the U.S., while footwear accounted for 53%, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. With the tariffs having such a major impact on these products, retailers’ toughest challenge this holiday season will be in determining the right amount of inventory they should carry.

“A good proxy for them is going to be back-to-school, because parents will have to spend money for their children,” Martis said. “That’s going to give them a good idea as far as how much a consumer is willing to spend, and how much they should really adjust their inventory levels accordingly. How much merchandise should we have for the holiday season given the fact that there might be Chinese tariffs that will be implemented in the beginning of December?”

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Wed, 21 Aug 2019 09:01:33 -0400
Vuori Secures $45 Million Investment To Fuel Further Growth Vuori Secures $45 Million Investment To Fuel Further Growth

Activewear retailer Vuori has received a $45 million growth equity investment from Norwest Venture Partners. Norwest will acquire a minority stake in the retailer and Jon Kossow, Managing Partner at Norwest, will join the Vuori board of directors as part of the deal.

Norwest has been building a portfolio of direct-to-consumer and omnichannel brands that includes Birdies, Casper Sleep, Grove Collaborative, Jolyn, Kendra Scott, Madison Reed and Topo Athletic. Its investment will help Vuori maintain its rapid growth rate, which has hit close to 200% annually.

“Since launching Vuori, we've added so many incredible team members to our community, all of them completely aligned with our mission to deliver the best activewear in the market,” said Joe Kudla, Founder and CEO of Vuori in a statement. “From our employees, to our retail partners, to the folks who drop by our stores just to say hello, starting this business has been a team effort since day one. We are thrilled that our team is further expanding to include Norwest, and look forward to what our partnership will bring.”

]]> (Bryan Wassel) Financial News Tue, 20 Aug 2019 12:06:46 -0400