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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.

Instacart Raises $600 Million, Raising Total Financing To $1.6 Billion

Instacart has raised $600 million as part of a financing round led by D1 Capital Partners. The online grocery delivery company, which has raised $1.6 billion to-date, will use the funds to recruit engineers and product development talent, expand its presence in North America and increase awareness of Instacart at retail partner stores. Instacart can currently reach more than 70% of U.S. households and 50% of Canadian households through its network, which includes more than 15,000 grocery stores across 4,000 cities. The delivery service’s retail partners include Kroger, Aldi, Loblaw, Sam's Club, Sprouts Farmers Market, Publix, Albertsons and Walmart Canada. "The U.S. is nearly a $1 trillion grocery market, and last year we saw almost every major grocer in North America bring their delivery business online in a significant way,” said Apoorva Mehta, CEO and Founder of Instacart in a statement. “We believe we're in the very early stages of a massive shift in the way people buy groceries, and we expect that one in five Americans will be shopping for their groceries online in the next five years." However, Instacart will face significant competition , including from first-party delivery networks: Amazon expanded Whole Foods delivery to 10 additional cities…

Allbirds Raises $50 Million, Eyeing UK, Asia Expansion

Allbirds, the footwear retailer known best for selling wool sneakers, has raised $50 million in funding led by T. Rowe Price. With the funding, Allbirds is now valued of $1.4 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Tiger Global and Fidelity Investments also participated in the round. The digital native, with flagship stores in San Francisco and New York City, already has plans to open eight more stores in the U.S. and is opening its first London store next week. The funding will assist the retailer in expanding both its brick-and-mortar store presence and its international shipping capabilities. Allbirds reportedly is seeking to open a store in Asia as well, although there has been no indication where it would be built. The company currently ships to locations across the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and plans to ship throughout the UK in 2019.

H&M Buys $20 Million Stake In Klarna, Will Integrate Payments Platform

H&M is investing $20 million in Klarna, a Swedish bank and online payment solution provider. The investment equals a stake of less than 1% in the company. With the partnership, H&M will implement Klarna across all channels as a means to further integrate its digital and physical stores, the two companies said in a joint statement. The partnership, which spans 14 European countries including the UK and Sweden in its first phase, will go live in 2019. The deal could expand to the U.S. and Asia at some point, Klarna first told the Financial Times.

Bread Secures $60 Million To Extend Financing Platform Capabilities

Bread, a marketing technology company that builds customizable financing solutions for retailers and brands, has completed a $60 million round of equity financing. The company, which first closed $126 million of equity and debt financing in August 2017, offers a white label financing platform designed to help retailers reach more consumers seeking to pay in monthly installments. The company will use the capital to extend Bread’s omnichannel capabilities, expand into new verticals and strategic opportunities, and offer more cross-channel marketing strategies designed to help the retailer improve conversions and customer lifetime value (LTV).

Postmates Raises $300 Million Funding Round, Eyes 2019 IPO

In the latest sign that investor confidence in on-demand delivery continues to skyrocket, Postmates has raised $300 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global Management. The deal values the company at approximately $1.2 billion, according to Fortune. Postmates previously raised $140 million at a $600 million valuation in 2016. The funding comes one month after last mile competitor DoorDash raised $250 million to reach a $4 billion valuation.

Custora Raises $13.75 Million In Latest Funding Round

Custora, a cloud-based retail customer analytics platform, has raised $13.75 million in a Series B funding round led by General Capital, with participation from existing investors Foundation Capital and Greycroft. The Custora software unifies data from disparate sources, creates AI-powered predictive analysis and shares the analytics across internal teams and customer touch points. The company works with both small and large retail brands including J.Crew, Tiffany & Co., Uniqlo and Kenneth Cole.

Dollar General Outperforms Dollar Tree; Discounters Overall Continue To Thrive

Dollar General saw net sales jump 10.6% to $6.44 billion in Q2 as stronger sales of consumables, seasonal items and apparel offset declines in home goods. The company also raised its fiscal 2018 outlook for net sales to rise between 9% and 9.3%, compared with previous guidance of rising approximately 9%. The discounter continues to grow rapidly, reiterating that it plans to open approximately 900 new stores in fiscal 2018. It also will remodel 1,000 locations and relocate 100 stores.

DSW Boosts Comp Sales Nearly 10%, Shutters Canadian Town Shoes Banner

DSW is the latest retailer to experience an excellent Q2, beating analyst estimates and raising its full-year financial outlook. Q2 revenue increased 16.4% to $795.3 million, well ahead of the $691 million expected; comparable sales increased 9.7%, significantlysurpassing a Thomson Reuters forecast of 2.5% growth. Gross profit increased from 29.2% of sales to 32.1%. Adjusted earnings came to $0.63 per share, ahead of $0.46 per share projections. The company updated its full-year adjusted earnings guidance in the range of $1.60 to $1.75 per diluted share, compared to its previous range of $1.52 to $1.67 per diluted share.

Best Buy Sees Q2 Sales, Profit Growth Even As Retailer Maintains Long-Term Focus

Best Buy has continued its solid run as consumer confidence reaches its highest point since October 2000. In Q2, the electronics retailer took advantage of increased traffic to improve financial results across the board: Comparable store sales jumped 6.2%;  Revenue rose 4.9% to $9.38 billion, up from $8.9 billion a year ago, as domestic revenue rose 4.4% to $8.6 billion and international revenue rose 10.8% to $740 million; and Net income rose from $209 million to $244 million, while adjusted earnings per share (EPS) reached $0.91, well ahead of the $0.83 expected.

Narvar Raises $30 Million; Aims To Expand Global Footprint

Retail logistics software provider Narvar has secured $30 million in a Series C funding round, raising a total of $64 million since its founding in 2012. This round was led by venture capital firm Accel with participation from Battery Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and Scale Venture Partners. In conjunction with the financing, Ryan Sweeney, partner at Accel, will join Narvar's board. "We recognized a huge opportunity for brands to deliver exceptional post-purchase customer engagement and have helped retailers realize this vision for more than 300 million people,” said Amit Sharma, Founder and CEO of Narvar in a statement. “We'll use this new investment to continue developing leading products for our customers while investing heavily in international growth to support global brands."

PebblePost Raises An Additional $25 Million In Funding

PebblePost, creator of Programmatic Direct Mail, has secured $25 million in Series C funding led by Advance Venture Partners (AVP). The additional capital will enhance the company’s Programmatic Direct Mail capabilities, which use online interest and intent data to send more meaningful physical promotions.

Q2 Growth At Walmart, Target, TJX Hints That Retail’s Woes Are In The Rear-View Mirror

In 2017, the stories of retail bankruptcies, store closures and the decline of department stores conveyed a bleak outlook for the state of retail, giving rise to the term “retail apocalypse.” But one year later, it appears the industry has gone a long way toward righting itself, with some of retail’s top players leading the way in Q2. Walmart, Target, The Home Depot and TJX all had excellent financial quarters, with the troubled department store sector even experiencing a slight bounceback (excepting JCPenney) on the strength of continued reinvestments. Urban Outfitters, the biggest winner of Q2, is something of a surprise. The retailer’s success showed that fashion and apparel can perform if fast inventory churn and low markdown rates are executed properly.
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