News Briefs

Staying on top of breaking news in the retail industry is a commitment Retail TouchPoints editors take seriously. Each day, we publish the latest information in this News Briefs section. Up-to-the-minute stories cover retail implementations, new product announcements, financial updates, executive appointments and overall global updates affecting every aspect of the retail industry.

American Express Allows Members To Use Rewards Points On

Amex-Sync-Best-BuyBest Buy and American Express have partnered to enable American Express U.S. card members enrolled in the Membership Rewards program to use their points for online purchases on

With the new offering, eligible American Express card members can use Membership Rewards points to pay for part or all of their purchases. Card members also can check their Membership Rewards points balance before they check out on


Epson Unveils New Products, Partnerships At RetailNOW

epsonEpson has unveiled a series of new products at the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) RetailNOW conference, which is being held August 2-5 in Orlando, Fla.

The new hardware includes the TM-m10 and TM-m30 mobile-friendly POS receipt printers, as well as three new additions to the Mobilink printer series. During the event, Epson also announced a new distribution agreement with M-S Cash Drawer.


Charming Charlie Selects Oracle Retail For Merchandising, Expansion

ccWomen’s contemporary jewelry and accessory retailer Charming Charlie has selected Oracle Retail Merchandising solutions to support both its immediate business needs and its international expansion plans.

Over a 13-month period beginning in late 2013, with the help of systems integrator and Oracle PartnerNetwork Gold level member, OLR, Charming Charlie implemented Oracle Retail Merchandising System, Oracle Retail Trade Management, Oracle Retail Price Management, Oracle Retail Invoice Match and Oracle Retail Store Inventory Management. The integrated Oracle Retail systems support best-in-class operations across areas such as inventory management, sales forecasting and pricing/markdown management.


More Parents To Complete Back-To-School Shopping After School Starts

BacktoSchool.3As many as 31% of parents shopping for children in grades K-12 plan to complete their back-to-school spending after the start of the school year, increasing from 26% in 2014, according to research from the Deloitte 2015 Back-To-School Study. Additionally, 38% of respondents say shopping for this season is less important because they replenish school supplies throughout the year.

Shoppers in 2015 simply don’t have the need to buy the items they purchased last year, according to the survey. The number of consumers who plan to reuse last year’s items has risen from 26% to 39% between 2011 and 2015.


Former Walmart Exec Hired As CMO Of 99 Cents Only

99jacksinclair99 Cents Only Stores has named former Walmart EVP Jack Sinclair as its new Chief Merchandising Officer (CMO). In this role, Sinclair will be responsible for the merchandising and marketing functions of 99 Cents Only Stores.

Sinclair served more than seven years as EVP of the U.S. Grocery Division at Walmart, which generated growth through a focus on local assortment and fresh foods, before retiring from the position in March 2015.


Lowe’s Canada Acquires 12 Former Target Locations Amid Expansion Efforts

ca.lowesLowe’s Canada has completed its acquisition of 12 former Target locations, including a distribution center in Milton, Ont., for approximately $114 million. This acquisition came as part of a real estate auction following Target's decision to cease operations in Canada.

Construction currently is underway for two additional stores in Ancaster and Mississauga, Ont., representing an additional investment in excess of approximately $38 million. The new stores are designed to enhance Lowe's presence in Western Canada and strengthen its base in Ontario.


Stripe Now Valued At $5 Billion Following Partnership With Visa

Visa has formed a strategic partnership with online payment provider Stripe to support new technologies and online payment experiences for merchants, developers and consumers worldwide. In a recent funding round, Visa, American Express and Sequoia Capital have collaborated to invest an undisclosed sum in Stripe, which is now valued at $5 billion.

With the partnership, Stripe will accelerate its international expansion, particularly in emerging markets, accessing Visa’s global footprint through its acquiring and issuing partners. As part of the agreement, the companies will collaborate on issues related to payment security and product information, as well as e-Commerce experiences such as “buy buttons.”


EBay Closes Down Same-Day Delivery Service

EBay has discontinued its eBay Now same-day delivery service, according to a company blog post. The online marketplace also announced it will close down multiple standalone mobile applications, including eBay Valet, eBay Fashion and eBay Motors. In retiring the mobile apps, eBay plans to migrate these functionalities into its flagship eBay app.

The company is undergoing a transformation in an attempt to narrow the focus on its online marketplace, with the blog post indicating that these closures are the “first phase of their sunset plans.” News of the closures follow eBay’s sale of its Enterprise business for $925 million and its official split from PayPal.

When the eBay Now service launched in 2012, customers in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and parts of the San Francisco Bay Area were able to access same-day delivery of items from local merchants via couriers.

EBay also is discontinuing a local pilot program in Brooklyn, NY that started in December 2014 and offered same-day delivery from approximately 80 local merchants. Both eBay Now and the Brooklyn program will officially stop service on July 31.

The company initially shut down the eBay Now mobile app in November 2014, bringing the program’s delivery capabilities and many participating merchants’ inventory into its core mobile apps.

“While we saw encouraging results with the eBay Now service, we always intended it as a pilot,” said RJ Pittman, Chief Product Officer of eBay, in the post. “We are now exploring delivery and pick-up/drop-off programs that are relevant to many more of our 25 million sellers, and that cover a wider variety of inventory that consumers tell us they want.”

EBay will continue to pilot scheduled delivery in the UK, according to the post.

Most of the employees affected by the eBay Now shutdown will be reassigned elsewhere in the company, an eBay spokesperson told CNET.


52% Of SMBs Will Not Be EMV-Ready By Oct. 1 Deadline

EMV-2More than half (52%) of SMBs will not be EMV-ready when the EMV liability shift deadline passes on Oct. 1, 2015, while 37% of SMBs still have no plans to accept EMV cards after the deadline, according to a study from payment solutions provider Cayan.

Cayan surveyed 344 small business owners and managers in June 2015 for the study designed to uncover tactics for SMBs that currently have no existing EMV plans to transition to EMV-enabled technology after October 1.


Mondaine Taps Mobispoke For U.S. E-Commerce Expansion

Mondaine, a Swiss watch manufacturer, has enlisted digital retailing platform Mobispoke to launch its U.S. e-Commerce site and support the debut of its first smartwatch, the Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart.

Prior to designing and executing the new site in June 2015, Mondaine did not have a U.S. e-Commerce presence, and relied on third-party retail partners to acquire sales across the country.


Lyft Rewards Drivers, Riders With My Starbucks Rewards

a starbucks
As part of a new, multi-year deal, transportation network Lyft and Starbucks are collaborating to reward loyal drivers and riders.

Lyft drivers now have the opportunity to become My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program gold status members, and both drivers and riders can earn Starbucks loyalty stars, which are redeemable for food and beverages. Additionally, Lyft drivers can receive Starbucks eGifts from customers using the Lyft app. This gives users an opportunity to thank their Lyft drivers in a different, more personal way.


BucketFeet Taps RetailNext To Expand Store Network

bucketfeetretailnextBucketFeet, a footwear brand and retailer, has selected RetailNext as its in-store retail analytics provider. By implementing the technology, BucketFeet plans to improve its in-store shopping experiences and strategically expand its brick-and-mortar footprint.

“BucketFeet is deploying RetailNext’s market-leading in-store analytics platform to better understand in-studio shopping behaviors,” said Bobby Stephens, Operating Co-Founder, President and COO at BucketFeet. “RetailNext’s platform will support growth at our brick-and-mortar locations and help us ensure our omnichannel customer experience is consistent and compelling.”


SmarterHQ Wins $8 Million In Latest Funding Round

smarterhqMultichannel marketing platform SmarterHQ has secured $8 million in a funding round led by Simon Venture Group and Battery Ventures. The company has raised a total of $20 million in venture financing since 2014.

This most recent round of financing will be used to accelerate SmarterHQ’s growth and expand its award-winning predictive marketing platform. Since its inception in 2010, SmarterHQ has expanded its client roster to include brands such as Eddie Bauer, Finish Line and eBags.

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