Latest Retail News - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Mon, 21 May 2018 18:06:24 -0400 RTP en-gb Adobe Buys Magento Commerce For $1.68 Billion Adobe Buys Magento Commerce For $1.68 Billion

Adobe will acquire Magento Commerce for $1.68 billion. Adobe will integrate the Magento Commerce Cloud into the Adobe Experience Cloud, creating a single platform for both B2B and B2C customers.

The Magento Platform combines digital commerce, order management and predictive intelligence to enable shopping experiences across multiple industries. The acquisition will add thousands of pre-built extensions to the Adobe Experience, including payment, shipping, tax and logistics solutions.

Both companies will continue operating independently until the deal closes, and Magento CEO Mark Lavelle will continue leading Magento as part of Adobe’s Digital Experience business. He will report to executive vice president and general manager Brad Rencher.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Mon, 21 May 2018 17:27:40 -0400
Walmart Rebrands Personal Shopping Service Pilot As ‘Jetblack’ Walmart Rebrands Personal Shopping Service Pilot As ‘Jetblack’

Walmart has rebranded Code Eight, a subsidiary of the retail giant’s tech incubator Store No. 8, to Jetblack. In 2017, Code Eight started testing a personal shopping service for “busy NYC moms”, designed to enable shoppers to buy and research products via text messaging.

Rent the Runway Co-Founder Jenny Fleiss is in charge of the service. Fleiss first joined Walmart to lead the initiative in May 2017.

Walmart is currently beta testing the platform in Manhattan. Visitors to are greeted by a landing page that says, “Nice work, you found us!” There is a button on the page enabling users to request early access to the program.

Jetblack is Walmart’s latest go at appealing to new types of consumers, particularly Millennials, as part of its e-Commerce revamp. The target customers for Jetblack are wealthy city dwellers, and the service is designed to offer free delivery of household products within 24 hours. Other purchases are delivered within two business days, and returns can be picked up for free from customers’ homes.

The “Jetblack” name allegedly comes from Marc Lore, CEO and Founder of and Head of Walmart U.S. e-Commerce, according to Recode. Lore apparently had the idea for a high-end personal shopping service for before it was acquired by Walmart in 2016.

Jetblack is one of several projects being run under Store No. 8. Others include Project Kepler, a startup working to build cashierless stores similar to Amazon Go as well as a virtual reality initiative.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Mon, 21 May 2018 11:01:45 -0400
Fresh Produce Modernizes POS And Analytics With Mi9 Retail Fresh Produce Modernizes POS And Analytics With Mi9 Retail

Fresh Produce, a designer, manufacturer and retailer of women’s lifestyle products, has chosen Mi9 Retail as its POS software provider. Fresh Produce will implement the Mi9 Mosaic platform at its 16 company-owned stores and e-Commerce site.

Additionally, Fresh Produce will utilize the software’s analytics suite to gain insights from omnichannel shopper data. Other features include full transaction management on any device and real-time omnichannel inventory visibility.


]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Mon, 21 May 2018 09:35:15 -0400
Nordstrom, JCPenney Disappoint In Q2, But For Different Reasons Nordstrom, JCPenney Disappoint In Q2, But For Different Reasons

Although Macy’s successfully maintained its holiday season momentum in Q1, fellow department stores JCPenney and Nordstrom weren’t as fortunate in their earnings results.

Same-store sales at Nordstrom rose 0.6% in Q1, below estimates of 1.1%, while JCPenney same-store sales rose 0.2%, well short of analysts' forecasts for roughly 2% growth. JCPenney saw total revenue dip 4.3% to $2.58 billion, but narrowed its net losses from $187 million to $78 million. The most unfortunate result for JCPenney is its expectations for the year: 2018 guidance initially ranged between earnings of $0.05 and $0.25 per share, but the retailer has cut the outlook range down to a loss of $0.07 to a gain of $0.13 per share.

Nordstrom’s Q1 miss on same-store sales was enough to overshadow better-than-expected revenue and earnings for the first quarter. It didn’t help that its Nordstrom Rack off-price business also disappointed in same-store sales, generating only 0.4% growth. Traditionally, Nordstrom has seen better gains from its off-price stores, so the shift in consumer demand is a bit of a surprise.

However, digital sales were up 18% year-over-year at Nordstrom, and digitally-enabled sales were up 29%.

The results from both companies disappointed investors, with Nordstrom stock dipping more than 10% and JCPenney dropping more than 15% since their respective earnings reports. But both tell different stories of disappointment.

JCPenney has been in worse shape than its contemporaries for years and has tried to crawl back to profitability via store closings, job cuts and the introduction of Sephora beauty boutiques in stores. The retailer still has more than $4.1 billion total debt, a huge problem that is unlikely to go away any time soon.

Nordstrom has been in a far better position than other department stores, avoiding the store closings that JCPenney, Macy’s and Sears have struggled with over the past two years and floating closest to consistently positive sales numbers. But the retailer is fresh off an internal struggle for its future, in which members of the founding family sought to buy the entirety of the company’s shares and take it private. A committee called off the talks after being unable to reach a buyout agreement, leading the company to remain largely in the hands of shareholders.

Both retailers’ Q1 results post significant but different questions that each will have to handle, before they can quell any shareholder concerns about the future direction of their businesses.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Fri, 18 May 2018 17:42:39 -0400
Lulus Raises $120 Million On The Back Of Strong Millennial Following Lulus Raises $120 Million On The Back Of Strong Millennial Following

Lulus, an e-Commerce fashion retailer, has closed a $120 million investment from IVP, a venture capital and growth equity firm, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), a global investment management firm.  

With the funding, Lulus plans to support growth initiatives like building out its East Coast fulfillment center, entering new categories such as shoes, and increasing its headcount.

Mother-daughter team Debra Cannon and Colleen Winter founded Lulus in 1996 to cater to shoppers in their twenties, but more than two decades later the company has thrived on its ability to attract Millennials, particularly through social media channels.

"It would be very hard to go out to Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest — look for fashion in our demographic — and not find something from Lulus," said Winter, CEO of Lulus, in an interview with CNBC.

“Instagram captured an impressive 96% of total social media interactions for retailers over the last year alone,” said Alizah Farooqi, Content and Marketing Associate at Gartner L2 in a blog post. “Through the platform, Lulus gains another advantage. More than 85% of the brand’s online clothing is Lulus-branded. When the Lulus Instagram handle shares these items using the hashtag #LoveLulus, 1.3 million followers become increasingly loyal to the brand.”

The California-based fashion brand began as a brick-and-mortar boutique in California before fully shifting online in 2010. The company has no short-term plans for brick-and-mortar stores, but Winter isn't ruling that out, revealing that “core outlets” are a possibility in the future.

Lulus also prides itself on being data-driven to help it more efficiently order clothes, sidestepping the burdensome costs of unused merchandise.

IVP has a history of investing in innovative consumer companies like Glossier, HomeAway, The Honest Company, Snap and Twitter, making Lulus a fit for the firm. As part of the company's investment, Eric Liaw, General Partner at IVP, will join the Lulus Board of Directors.


"Lulus' business is exposed to a number of long-term growth drivers that align with CPPIB's Thematic Investing strategy,” said Poul Winslow, Managing Director, Head of Thematic Investing and External Portfolio Management, CPPIB. “Lulus' proven track record as a successful retailer targeted to Millennial women and as an early participant in the e-Commerce space demonstrates their ability to thrive in the rapidly changing retail segment where customers are increasingly shopping online.”

Lulus Raises $120 Million On The Back Of Strong Millennial Following


]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Fri, 18 May 2018 13:32:52 -0400
Buoyed By Digital Transformation, BJ’s Launches IPO Buoyed By Digital Transformation, BJ’s Launches IPO

BJ's Wholesale Club has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “BJ.” The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.

The IPO follows a rapid e-Commerce expansion by the retailer, which  (BOPIS) service and a wish list feature on its mobile app earlier in May 2018. Additionally, BJ’s expanded its partnership with Instacart in March 2018, providing same-day delivery from all 215 of its East Coast clubs.

BJ’s was taken private in 2011, when current owners Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners acquired the club retailer for $2.8 billion. The firms tried to sell the company for approximately $4.5 billion in 2017, according to New York Post. Amazon had expressed interest at the time, though the e-Commerce giant ultimately made its push into grocery through its acquisition of Whole Foods.

The retailer’s focus on its digital offerings is based on what it calls the “5 S’s,” which stand for Speed, Simplicity, Scalability, Support and Security. The emphasis on e-Commerce development included the appointment of executives to newly created roles: Naveen Seshadri was named VP of Digital Commerce and Experience in February 2018, while Rafeh Masood joined BJ’s as SVP, Chief Digital Officer in May 2017.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 18 May 2018 12:42:47 -0400
UNTUCKit Continues Physical Expansion With 25 New Stores In 2018 UNTUCKit Continues Physical Expansion With 25 New Stores In 2018

UNTUCKit plans to open 25 stores in 2018, including seven at Simon shopping centers. The formerly pure play e-Commerce retailer has been rapidly expanding its physical presence since opening its first physical store in 2015.

Earlier in May, UNTUCKit opened locations at The Galleria in Houston and Ross Park Mall in Pittsburgh. Other stores slated to open at Simon properties include:

  • The Fashion Mall at Keystone (Indianapolis)
  • St. Johns Town Center (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • Town Center at Boca Raton (Boca Raton, Fla.)
  • The Shops at Clearfork (Fort Worth, Tex.)
  • Stanford Shopping Center (Palo Alto, Calif.)

The retailer’s goal is to reach a total of 50 stores in 2018 and 100 stores by 2022. The brand has been expanding its offerings as it grows, introducing performance wear, shoes, and both children’s and women's lines. UNTUCKit has been experimenting with its brick-and-mortar footprint, including a test of an IoT and RFID platform from SATO Global Solutions in the flagship 5th Avenue New York City store.

UNTUCKit started opening stores after its online presence had “primed the market” for its brand, according to Aaron Sanandres, Co-Founder of UNTUCKit, speaking at the Retail Innovation Conference 2018. The retailer believes that physical retail isn’t going anywhere, and that omnichannel shoppers are more valuable than customers who shop only in-store or online.

“We knew early on in our company’s history that we’d have a retail presence, simply because our customers were asking us for it,” said Sanandres. “They wanted to touch and feel, they wanted to try something on. Implicit in their request for stores was a shared vision that retail platforms provide a level of trust that an online-only company has a really difficult time matching.”

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 18 May 2018 12:31:01 -0400
Will Walmart E-Commerce Growth Silence Wall Street Doubters? Will Walmart E-Commerce Growth Silence Wall Street Doubters?

Walmart saw Q1 U.S. e-Commerce sales jump 33% year-over year, a quarter after seeing online revenue growth slow down to 23% during the 2017 holiday season. But the retail giant still has work to do if it seeks to reach its lofty guidance goal of 40% e-Commerce growth in 2018.

In Q1 2018, Walmart posted a positive earnings report, seeing:

  • Revenue increase 4.4% to $122.69 billion, beating Thomson Reuters estimates of $120.51 billion;
  • U.S. same-store sales jump 2.1%, beating Thomson Reuters estimates of 2.0%;
  • U.S. foot traffic jump 0.8%, signaling higher ticket sizes; and
  • Sam's Club same-store sales increase 3.8%, driven by comparable traffic growth of 5.6%.

Walmart’s e-Commerce explosion from late 2016 through most of 2017 was driven by a string of acquisitions and a three-fold increase in its online assortment to 70 million products. But even with these brands added to the portfolio, analysts and investors question whether the growth is sustainable.

Investors have been wary of Walmart’s optimistic projections in 2018, with the company’s stock price dipping more than 21% since its peak on Jan. 29.

To make its 2018 revenue goal a reality and quell investor concerns, Walmart is doubling down on e-Commerce investments. The company is encouraging more online purchases, expanding in-store pickup capabilities to 2,200 stores and adding 500 more “pickup towers” by the end of the year.

Walmart rolled out a completely revamped e-Commerce site in May, designed to bring a more human element to the shopping experience with more local and personalized elements and specialty shopping experiences in the home and fashion verticals.

After months of waiting, Lord & Taylor is launching a flagship store on in the coming weeks. To differentiate these offerings from Walmart's lower-priced labels, customers will see a banner with the words "Premium Brands from Lord & Taylor" on relevant pages.

Walmart even launched its own mattress and bedding company in March, Allswell, which is presently sold exclusively online. Products aren’t sold on or in Walmart stores. The new offering — which Walmart describes as an “Instagram-worthy dream bed” — aims at the more affluent and digitally savvy customer that the retailer has been making a big push to reach in recent years.

Beyond the new partnerships and investments in the U.S., Walmart hopes that its fortunes overseas can supplement income driven at home. The retail giant made its biggest investment yet in acquiring a controlling stake in Indian e-Commerce company Flipkart for nearly $16 billion. While Flipkart wouldn’t contribute to U.S. e-Commerce revenue (and the purchase is a clear hit to Walmart’s short-term income), the potential of online retail growth in India is too significant to ignore. While the market was $20 billion in 2017, it could reach as high as $73 billion by 2022, according to Forrester.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 18 May 2018 09:20:26 -0400
Kroger Shakes Up Grocery Delivery Market With Ocado Partnership Kroger Shakes Up Grocery Delivery Market With Ocado Partnership

Kroger will expand its online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery capabilities through a partnership with Ocado, a UK-based online grocery retailer. Ocado will partner exclusively with Kroger in the U.S., providing the grocery retailer with access to its Ocado Smart Platform.

The companies are working to identify locations for three automated warehouses in the U.S. this year and up to a total of 20 locations in three years.

Kroger will take an additional 5% stake in Ocado, bringing its total investment to more than 6%. The partnership is part of the Restock Kroger initiative.

“We see Ocado as an innovative, exciting and transformative partnership in pursuit of our Restock Kroger vision, to serve America through food inspiration and uplift,” said Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO of Kroger, in a statement. “We are actively creating a seamless digital experience for our customers. Our partnership with Ocado will speed up our efforts to redefine the food and grocery customer experience — creating value for customers and shareholders alike.”

Ocado uses purpose-built robots, which are capable of picking a 50-item order in minutes, to man its automated warehouses, Paul Clark, Ocado Chief Technology Officer, wrote in the Harvard Business Review. The retailer harnesses AI and machine learning to predict demand for 50,000 different products offered through its retail program, among other tasks.

“Ocado has really awesome technology that works,” said Ken Lonyai, Independent Consultant and Strategist, in a RetailWire discussion. “Kroger has been impressive in its efforts to explore innovation and stand up to threats from Amazon and Walmart in grocery. Automated inventory/pick and pack at this level is a competitive boost and the exclusivity raises them an extra couple of notches.”

The Kroger deal is “seismic” for Ocado, which has been looking to break into the U.S. for some time, according to Bryan Roberts, Global Insights Director at tcc global. However, the market poses different challenges than the UK.

“The scale of the deal could shake up the current U.S. grocery e-Commerce market, offering a step-change in service levels, order accuracy and timeliness,” said Roberts in an email sent to Retail TouchPoints. “But much of the U.S. lacks the benign market drivers that make UK grocery e-Commerce thrive, like dense populations and low car ownership among city-dwellers. It is likely that the partnership will adopt a city-focused strategy in the fulfilment center roll-out.”

Ocado already has a presence in other countries, including partnerships with Sobeys in Canada, Groupe Casino in France and ICA Group in Sweden.

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Thu, 17 May 2018 15:05:09 -0400
Corporación GPF Implements Oracle Retail For Inventory Optimization Corporación GPF Implements Oracle Retail For Inventory Optimization

Corporación GPF, a pharmacy and convenience store brand based in Ecuador, has implemented Oracle Retail Merchandising and Oracle Retail Warehouse Management to increase operational efficiencies and store productivity as part of a continued strategy to deliver innovative health and wellness solutions to consumers.

The brand’s rapid expansion in recent years has led it to recognize the need to replace its existing merchandising management, logistics and POS systems to position for continued growth across more than 600 pharmacies and convenience stores nationwide, three owned brands and $500 million in annual revenue.

GPF adopted a phased implementation with Oracle to unify business processes and democratize access to data insights across the company.

Retail Consult, an Oracle Platinum level partner, drove the first phase, starting with Oracle Retail Merchandising System and Oracle Retail Warehouse Management solutions. The second phase included Oracle Retail Xstore and Oracle Retail Store Inventory Management.

"Transformational products require company engagement and the right partner for the success of the implementation," said Fernando Jacome, Technology and Process Director of Corporación GPF, in a statement. "We have achieved success by creating multifunctional teams. Leaders must engage users from the beginning, allow enough time for testing, employ project governance and rely on efficient risk management processes. With a clear mission established by the Executive Board, we created a culture of engaged and dedicated employees."

With the completion of this project, GPF expects to optimize its core business processes and ensure data consistency. Additionally, it will gain visibility into out-of-stock inventory in stores and distribution centers, analysis of daily inventory deliveries to stores and perspective on automatic orders. GPF also will be able to synchronize inventory and logistics to the point of purchase.

]]> (Klaudia Tirico) News Briefs Thu, 17 May 2018 11:52:35 -0400