April, good month/bad month

April, good month/bad month

Retail Technology Innovation Hub takes a look at the retail technology space during April and rounds up the winners and losers

Good month for…

Argos has for the first time exceeded £2 billion in sales generated through customers using smartphones and tablets. These shoppers now account for more than 70% of all Argos online sales – making it the retailer’s fastest growing channel – and across Sainsbury’s Group, £4.7 billion sales are now generated online.

Klarna has released its annual financial report for 2018.  

With an average of one million transactions a day on its platform, the company’s total global sales volumes rose by 36% YOY in 2018 to $29 billion. There was also a 31% lift in revenue to $627 million. Adding 25,398 new merchants globally in 2018 - growth of almost 25% compared to 2017 - it now provides payment services to over 130,000 retailers, including Ikea, H&M and its brands (Cos, & Other Stories, Monki, Weekday, Arket), Ticketmaster Europe and Sonos. It also pulled in almost 26 million new consumers last year.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally cleared PayPal’s $2.2 billion takeover of iZettle, concluding that the merged group would still face “significant competition” from the likes of Worldpay and Square. Its final decision is expected by mid-June.

US startup Happy Returns has closed a $11 million funding round headed up by PayPal. 

Helsinki-based blockchain-powered social marketplace SOMA has closed a €1.1 billon bridge funding round, which includes the Finnish Government and private angel investors.

Kurly, the South Korean company behind online grocery delivery platform Market Kurly, has completed a KRW 100 billion ($88 million) Series D funding round. 

UK supermalls retail spend will rise 7% out to 2023 as spend is diverted away from “lacklustre and often neglected town centres”, according to GlobalData.

Online beauty retailer The Hut Group is set to ramp up its tech spending after securing improved banking facilities, in excess of $1 billion.

London is the top city globally for senior customer experience (CX) job opportunities, research by Feefo has found.

After being in bear territory there is a growing sense that Bitcoin is back, according to Nigel Green, Founder and Chief Executive of financial advisory organisation deVere Group.

Green was speaking as the cryptocurrency jumped 20% earlier this month, crossing the $5,000 line. “I’m now calling that the market has bottomed and the so-called crypto winter has come to an end,” he said.

“I believe it will now move higher over the next few weeks and months, making steady gains for investors. As the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, this will have a positive impact on prices in the wider crypto sector.”

Starship Technologies has notched up 50,000 commercial deliveries in the UK.

Asia will generate $4264 billion of grocery sales by 2023, almost the same as Europe and North America combined, according to IGD.

Ethical consumer mobile app CoGo has closed a £300,000 funding round led by members of investment platform Conduit Connect and a series of angel investors and family offices.

Bad month for…

Only four of the UK’s 100 largest online retailers provide customers with personalised information about the status of their orders, with 27% not communicating at all during the delivery period, according to a study carried out by parcelLab.

JCPenney has quietly dropped Apple Pay.

Year-on-year total UK retail employment fell by 2.4% in Q1 2019, a higher reduction than the one of 2.2% seen in Q4 2018, according to the BRC. And more jobs will disappear unless the Government changes its approach to the sector, the organisation claims.

Sainsbury's and Asda have ditched their planned £13 billion merger after it was blocked by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), with the regulator saying it would lead to higher prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK.

The jury’s out on…

Drone delivery may cut costs, but consumers will pay the price in privacy, according to GlobalData.

Lush is closing its UK social media accounts.

Debenhams has announced 22 stores that will close early next year, putting 1,200 jobs at risk.

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