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April 15, 2020

On the web

March Retail Sales Plunged Record 8.7% As Coronavirus Shutdowns Took Hold

Wall Street Journal (pay wall)

“U.S. retail sales posted their largest drop on record in March, as widespread shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic prompted American shoppers to sharply reduce spending on cars, clothes, restaurants and bars. Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online, decreased a seasonally adjusted 8.7% in March from a month earlier, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That marked the biggest month-on-month decline in retail spending since the Commerce Department started the data set in 1992. American shoppers responded to the pandemic, stay-at-home directives and stock-market drops in March by reining in spending on big-ticket items such as new cars, electronics, clothing and furniture. From a year earlier, retail sales were down 6.2% in March.”

January 23, 2020

On the web

After Bankruptcy, Nearly Half of Retailers Close All StoresSecured creditors are recovering all or most of their investments when retailers file for bankruptcy protection, even as nearly half these companies don’t survive with a physical presence, according to Fitch Ratings research. Among large retail and supermarket chains that filed for bankruptcy protection over the past 15 years, 45% closed all of their stores, the ratings firm said in a new report. Fitch found that the bankruptcies of 25 out of 55 retail and supermarket companies ended in liquidations.

Wall Street Journal

“Secured creditors are recovering all or most of their investments when retailers file for bankruptcy protection, even as nearly half these companies don’t survive with a physical presence, according to Fitch Ratings research. Among large retail and supermarket chains that filed for bankruptcy protection over the past 15 years, 45% closed all of their stores, the ratings firm said in a new report. Fitch found that the bankruptcies of 25 out of 55 retail and supermarket companies ended in liquidations.”

January 13, 2020

On the web

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass: ‘Amazon Is Working’


Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass says the retailer’s partnership with Amazon is going well, despite Kohl’s reporting dismal holiday sales that cast doubt on the strategy. “I get this question, ‘Is Amazon working?’” Gass said Sunday at the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show in New York, in an interview with CNBC’s Courtney Reagan . “Amazon is working. This returns program is working. We’re seeing the traffic. We’re getting new customers.””

January 3, 2020

On the wires

November 11, 2019

On the web

Returns Totaled $369 Billion In 2018, But Many Can Be Prevented – Retail TouchPoints

Retail Touch Points

“Returns hit the bottom line in multiple ways: the value of returned merchandise was $369 billion in 2018, and it takes, on average, more than seven people to handle processing a return. Additionally, 80% of first-time customers who return their order will never buy from that retailer again. However, most returns happen due to preventable issues, such as shipping the wrong item, a damaged product or inaccurate product description. This puts 65% of product returns under retailers’ control, and every $1 million in returns prevented adds $500,000 to their EBITA.”

August 28, 2019

On the wires

REI Co-op Launches New Credit Card Benefits for Cardholders to Enjoy a Life Outdoors

“REI Co-op is adding new benefits to its REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard®, making it easier than ever for cardholders to enjoy life outdoors. In addition to 5% back on purchases at REI cardholders now enjoy 2% back on mobile wallet purchases, and extra savings on REI’s adventure travel trips when they use their Annual Dividend – all with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.”

August 27, 2019

On the web

More Than a Third of Retailers Admit They Are Unprepared for the Digital ‘future’


“New research has found that a worrying number of retailers are not actively preparing for the future, with 35% admitting to having no business transformation strategy in place for the rise of digital technology and changing consumer habits.   The survey of 100 top UK retailers, conducted by full-service eCommerce agency PushON , found that 20% have not invested anything in developing the digital side of their business in the past year.   Of those retailers that do have a strategy in place, only 27% said that they are currently progressing well with their transformation.”

August 23, 2019

On the web

Target’s Same-day Pickup and Delivery Services Growing at Double the Rate of 2018


“Target’s investment in same-day pickup and delivery options is paying off. The company, which today offers same-day in-store pickup, drive-up and same-day delivery through its acquisition of Shipt, said this week that these services combined have more than doubled their sales in the last year. In addition, they accounted for more than a third of Target’s digital sales, up from about 20% last year.”

August 21, 2019

On the web

July 16, 2019

On the web

Large Retailers Saw 64% Increase in Sales on Monday, Thanks to Amazon Prime Day


“It’s no longer a winner-take-all scenario for Amazon Prime Day — in fact, that hasn’t been true for years. As soon as other large retailers realized they could piggyback on Amazon’s annual sales event to boost their own revenues from counter-sales, they’ve been doing just that. According to new data from Adobe Analytics out this morning, large retailers have already seen a big jump — a 64% increase — in their U.S. e-commerce spending thanks to Prime Day on Monday, July 15, when compared with an average Monday.”

July 15, 2019

On the web

The One Amazon Prime Day Deal That Walmart and Target Can’t Match

Wall Street Journal (paywall)

Amazon.com Inc. and other big retailers kicked off an annual July sales event that has come to rival Black Friday in terms of discounts and the surge in online shopping. But for the e-commerce giant, the Prime Day event isn’t just about selling discounted Instant Pots or Levi’s jeans. It is another way to tighten its grip on shoppers by getting them to enroll in its Prime membership program, which adds an important revenue stream and loyal customers.”

July 8, 2019

On the web

Spurred by Amazon, Supermarkets Try Swapping Cashiers for Cameras

Wall Street Journal (paywall)

“A man strolled down the candy aisle of a grocery store in England last month, picked up a bar of chocolate and stashed it in his back pocket. He wasn’t stealing. Specially equipped surveillance cameras were tracking both his body and the products he was taking off the shelves, to help him pay for them. Tesco PLC, one of the world’s largest supermarket operators, demonstrated this technology recently to investors, labeling it as one of the retailer’s big ideas for making shopping at its physical stores more convenient. Tesco is one of several grocers testing cashierless stores with cameras that track what shoppers pick, so they pay by simply walking out the door.”

June 19, 2019

On the web

China’s Unmanned Store Boom Ends As Quickly As It Began

Nikkei Asian Review

“When Chinese tech companies started rushing to open unmanned convenience stores a couple of years ago, some seasoned bricks-and-mortar players said the trend would soon hit a dead end. They were right: Across China, shops once considered the future of retail have been shutting their doors for good. In May, on Huaqiang North Road in the heart of Shenzhen’s electronics shop district, a Buy-Fresh Go store that had been held up by the media as a model of automated retail closed after only about a year. The store had been stripped of all its high-tech equipment and an ad seeking a new tenant was placed at the entrance.”

June 17, 2019

On the web

Forget the Mall, Shoppers Are Buying Gucci at Airports

Wall Street Journal (paywall)

“Makers of luxury goods from liquor to perfume think they have found the antidote to the fading American shopping mall : airport terminals. The world’s airports, drawing ever more travelers with time to kill, have become havens of high-end shopping, where stores sell $400 bottles of whiskey and $4,000 purses against the backdrop of day spas, hot springs and, in one case, a butterfly garden. For the first time last year, Estée Lauder Co. generated more revenue at airports globally than at U.S. department stores, which for decades had been beauty companies’ biggest sales driver. Other luxury-goods companies, from spirits maker Bacardi Ltd. to Kering SA’s KER +1.60% Gucci, are also expanding their presence at airport terminals.”

June 13, 2019

On the web

June 3, 2019

Top Post

The Mall Meltdown Continues

Wall Street Journal (paywall)

“Retailers’ earnings season has gone from bad to worse. The bleeding intensified last week , with shares of Abercrombie & Fitch plummeting 26% on Wednesday, the biggest percentage decline since the company went public. PVH Corp., owner of brands including Van Heusen, Tommy Hilfilger, and Calvin Klein, dropped 10% that day, too. On Thursday, women’s wear chain J.Jill was down a jaw-dropping 53% and on Friday, Gap Inc. slid 9%. It is hard to miss what all of these retailers have in common: They are mall-based. While retailers posted generally strong numbers in 2018, raising hopes of a retail renaissance, this year has seen a reversion to the pre-2018 trend: department stores and mall-based retailers giving up share to discount stores and e-commerce.”

May 23, 2019

On the web

Target Q1 Beats Street Amid Surging Digital Sales, Store Traffic Growth

Chain Store Age

“Comparable digital sales surged 42%, contributing 2.1 percentage points to comparable sales growth. Same-day fulfillment services (order pick up, drive up and Shipt) drove well over half of the company’s digital sales growth. During the quarter, Target completed 53 of the approximate 300 store remodels it is scheduled to complete this year. It also opened seven small-format stores, including its first location in Santa Barbara, Calif.”

May 21, 2019

On the web

Big Retailers’ Sales Lag As They Gird for Tariffs

Wall Street Journal (paywall)

“Sales at several store chains slowed during the latest quarter, clouding the outlook for the retail sector as it braces for a significant increase in tariffs on goods imported from China. Sales at Kohl’s Corp. KSS -12.34% , J.C. Penney Co. JCP -6.96% , Nordstrom Inc. JWN 1.04% and Home Depot Inc. HD 0.26% weakened as they experienced a slower start to the year. Comparable sales fell 3.4% at Kohl’s, and were down 5.5% at Penney. Both retailers missed analysts’ expectations for the quarter, which ended on May 4. Nordstron’s net sales fell 3.5%.”

April 17, 2019

On the web

April 16, 2019

On the web

What Retail Recovery? Malls Under Pressure As Stores Close

Wall Street Journal (paywall)

“Strong retail numbers last year from department stores Macy’s Inc. and Nordstrom Inc.raised hopes that the beleaguered mall industry would finally rebound. But recent developments this year are pointing to more trouble ahead. A number of struggling retailers are closing stores and being more selective about where to open ones, dimming prospects for many mall owners and investors.”

April 10, 2019

On the web

Walmart to Expand In-store Tech, Including Pickup Towers for Online Orders and Robots


“Walmart is doubling down on its technology innovations in its brick-and-mortar stores in an effort to better compete with Amazon. The retailer today announced the expanded rollout of several technologies — ranging from in-store Pickup Towers to help customers quickly grab their online orders to floor-scrubbing robots. These jobs were, in many cases, previously handled by people instead of machines.”

April 9, 2019

On the web

Retailers Riled up About Regulated Debit Interchange as Authorization Costs Decline

Digital Transactions

“The Retail Industry Leaders Association issued its call after the Fed last month released its latest bi-annual study of the debit card market , as required by the Durbin Amendment to 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act. The new study, for the year 2017, says average per-transaction authorization, clearing, and settlement costs for regulated debit card issuers, excluding their fraud losses, fell to 3.6 cents in 2017—a cumulative decline of 54% percent since the Fed began collecting such data in 2009.”

April 8, 2019

On the web

March 21, 2019

On the web

Cash-less? Cash Only? You’ve Got to Be Crazy to Reject Any Form of Payment

The Guardian

“If you’re a supporter of “cash-less” stores you’re probably a chain store like Sweetgreen or a disruptor like Amazon. These companies argue that cashless stores are safer for employees, provide a quicker and more seamless experience for their customers, and encourage more productivity and better accounting. They’re probably right about that.”

March 15, 2019

On the web

Carrefour Romania Offers Biometric Payments on Top of “single Digital Portal”


“Carrefour is testing biometric payments in Romania as part of an ongoing digital transformation project.   The chain will allow customers to pay through facial recognition at conventional and self-service check-outs at its Skanska supermarket in Bucharest. The company did not specify how customers create the digital profile that they can use at the checkout.   Carrefour also said it would “strengthen” its collaboration with Google to find new areas of cooperation on online commerce, although it did not give details. The collaboration has previously led to the introduction of training hours for employees to share digital knowledge.”

March 5, 2019

On the web

March 1, 2019

On the web

Amazon to open All-new Grocery Stores Separate from Whole Foods

Ars Technica

“Amazon reportedly feels confident enough in its grocery-store quests to branch out into new ventures. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon plans to open dozens of new grocery stores that will be distinctly different from the company’s Whole Foods Market stores. The retail giant has reportedly already signed leases for some locations and plans to open the new grocery stores in cities across the country, including San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.”

February 26, 2019

On the wires

February 13, 2019

On the wires

Kroger Introduces Kroger Pay and Kroger REWARDS Debit Card

Kroger Pay is a quick, safe and easy-to-use feature within the Kroger Family of Stores apps—available for iOS and Android devices. After a customer enters their custom PIN or biometrics, the app provides customers with a single-use QR code to scan at the terminal to quickly communicate payment and loyalty card information, which includes digital coupons and personalized offers. The single-step solution reduces checkout time and creates a more frictionless experience for both store associates and customers. Kroger Pay is available to use at both traditional checkout lanes and self-checkout stations.”

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