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Economy Rough on Retail, Yet Luxury Still Strong

| Ian McRae

A trio of industry experts offered a mostly gloomy picture of retail economic indicators at this week’s Shoptalk conference at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, noting recessionary trends and a nagging reduction in demand for durable, higher-ticket goods as consumers keep their powder dry.

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Ecommerce Returns Dispositioning Targeted By Two Boxes

| Mike O'Brien

Two Boxes, a software startup promising to make the dispositioning of ecommerce returns more efficient for brands and 3PLs, has launched with a $4.5 million seed round and advisors from Amazon, Shopify, Whiplash, Loop Returns and Rent the Runway. Funding was led by Vinyl Capital, with Matchstick Ventures and Range Ventures.

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BNPL Usage Grows, Curbside Pickup Declines

| Mike O'Brien

Buy now pay later (BNPL) usage continues to grow, as cash- and credit-strapped consumers dinged by inflation use it for a wider variety of purchases. The share of online purchases using BNPL increased by 14% and revenue grew by 27% in 2022, according to new data from Adobe Digital Insights.

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Consumer Data Privacy on the March

| Mike O'Brien

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), an amendment to the 2018 CCPA, went into effect Jan. 1, requiring publishers/advertisers to comply with new consumer data privacy guidelines. Other states including Connecticut, Colorado and Virginia are getting onboard. We break down the initiatives and their implications in this podcast.

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Kohl’s Adding 250 More Sephora Locations

| Mike O'Brien

Offsetting a weak fourth quarter report, department store firm Kohl’s is significantly expanding its store-within-a-store partnership with leading beauty brand Sephora, adding 250 such locations and bringing the total to 850 in 48 states as it pursues a target of $2 billion in sales by the end of 2025.

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Boxed Considers Bankruptcy, Hopes For a Buyer

| Mike O'Brien

Boxed, the once high-flying online answer to price clubs like Costco, BJ’s Wholesale and Sam’s Club, is considering a bankruptcy filing if it can’t find a buyer as its struggles continue 15 months after going public in a much-anticipated SPAC deal. At the same time, Boxed said it plans to lay off about 25% of its 136 employees.

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Society Brands Looks to Step Up Acquisition Pace

| Mike O'Brien

Society Brands, an Ohio-based acquirer with a small-but-growing portfolio, asks its founders to stick around as brand directors, incenting them with an equity stake from a future liquidity event or IPO over the next few years as the company accelerates its pace of acquisition. The company’s six brands were all acquired in 2022.

Ecommerce Entertainment Equals Engagement

| Sebastian Hamann

Ecommerce entertainment is a fast-emerging trend merchants will need to build into growth strategies and investment plans. “Showbiz” will be the new ecommerce battleground. The convergence of tech, commerce, brand power and consumer hunger for enjoyable experiences will increasingly drive competitive differentiation.

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Pitney Bowes, Hestia Put Competing Proxy Statements Forward

| Mike O'Brien

Pitney Bowes announced a refresh of its board in a proxy statement, but it was not enough to satisfy a large stakeholder that has put forward its own slate of five outside board candidates ahead of the company’s annual meeting in May, saying wholesale changes are needed to boost performance.

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Online Brand Protection: Safeguard This Valuable Asset

| Prasanna Dhungel

Online brand protection is the process of safeguarding your brand’s reputation, value and revenue from various forms of infringement. This includes brand value degradation and revenue churn from noncompliant acts by both unauthorized and authorized resellers, competitors, partners, dealers and affiliates.