The retail tech space in July: good month/bad month

The retail tech space in July: good month/bad month

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

Good month for…

US ‘buy now, pay later’ venture Sezzle made its Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) debut this week and laid claim to being “a formidable opponent for the likes of Afterpay and Klarna, particularly in the North American market”.

The company, which has thus far pulled in more than 5,000 active retailers and over 429,000 customers, says that the move will give it “the fuel required to scale our business, move into new verticals, invest in technology, and connect in a more meaningful way with our shoppers”.

Autonomous checkout startup Standard Cognition has closed a $35 million Series B round of financing lead by EQT Ventures with participation from Initialized Capital, CRV and Y Combinator. 

Trax, a Singapore-headquartered provider of computer vision and analytics solutions for the retail sector, has closed a $100 million Series D round, valuing it at over $1.1 billion.

Consumer spend via digital wallets across Europe and North America will increase by 40% this year to nearly $790 billion, according to Juniper Research. 

Amazon’s fifth annual Prime Day event wrapped up on Tuesday, 16th July, having kicked off on Monday, 15th.

The e-commerce giant reports that sales surpassed those of both the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, producing "the largest shopping event in Amazon history”.  Prime members purchased more than 175 million items throughout the event. 2019 was also the biggest yet for the company’s devices, when comparing two-day periods – top-selling deals worldwide were Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote.

Chinese women’s football has received a major boost, with Ant Financial’s Alipay announcing it will  provide 1 billion yuan ($145.43 million) in funding for a 10-year project.

Logistics startup Cubyn has closed a €12 million round led by DN Capital and also including Partech Ventures, 360 Capital Partners, BNP Paribas Developpement and BPI France.

Electronic payments are set to surpass cash in Portugal by 2020, according to GlobalData.

Its report reveals that the share of cash in total payment volume decreased from 57.6% in 2014 to 52% in 2018 and is expected to drop further to 48.4% by 2022. 

Online retailer The Hut Group says that strategic investments, to develop its technology, infrastructure, brands and people, delivered “exceptional global growth” last year. Group sales were up 24% to £916 million for the year ended 31st December 2018. International sales constituted 66% of that. Gross profit, meanwhile, increased by 31% to £417 million. 

Mercato, a US-based online ordering and delivery platform for independent grocery stores, has closed a $4 million funding round led by VC firm Greycroft. 

Independent homewares marketplace, Trouva, has debuted at number three on the Startups 100 2019 Index, lining up alongside the likes of FinTech big hitter Revolut. It is the only retail entry in this year’s top ten. 

The global blockchain supply chain market, valued at $93.16 million in 2017, is set to reach $9.85 billion by 2025, according to a study by Allied Market Research (AMR).

US startup Bulletin has raised $7 million in a Series A round led Foundation Capital and with participation from Kleiner Perkins, Trail Mix Ventures and Afore Capital. 

PayTech venture SumUp has secured a €330 million loan, backed by the likes of Bain Capital Credit, Goldman Sachs Private Capital, HPS Investment Partners and TPG Sixth Street Partners.

Bad month for…

Shares in Asos sunk this month after the pureplay said that sales growth in the US and Europe had been held back by problems at its warehouses.

Walmart is projecting losses of more than $1 billion for its US e-commerce division this year, on revenue of between $21 billion and $22 billion. 

UK retailers have just experienced their worst June on record. According to BRC and KPMG research, on a total basis sales decreased by 1.3% last month, against an increase of 2.3% a year earlier. This drags the three-month average into a decline of 0.1% and the 12-month average to an increase of 0.6%, the lowest since records began in December 1995.

The Information Commissioner's Office is to fine US hotel group Marriott International £99.2 million. This relates to a data breach that resulted in about 339 million guests' having had their personal details exposed.

The jury’s out on…

The Financial Times has asked London-based law firm RPC to review a series of articles on German payments firm Wirecard

Grocers must be wary of working too closely with food delivery outfits, according to GlobalData.

Predictions that smart speaker shopping will reach $40 billion by 2022 are wildly optimistic, according to e-commerce delivery specialist ParcelHero. 

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