April's top stories: Tesco’s sale of opticians business, Harland Clarke Holdings’ acquistion of RetailMeNot

Tesco has announced the sale of its opticians business in the UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI) to Vision Express, Harland Clarke Holdings (HCH) has entered a definitive agreement to purchase online coupon provider RetailMeNot for $630m. Retail-insight-network.com wraps up the key headlines from April 2017.


Tesco to offload opticians business to Vision Express

Tesco announced the sale of its opticians business in the UK and Republic of Ireland (ROI) to Vision Express.

Financial details of the transaction have not been divulged.

Tesco has stated that the move will further simplify its business and help better serve its customers.


Harland Clarke Holdings signs agreement to acquire RetailMeNot for $630m

Integrated payment and retail solutions provider Harland Clarke Holdings (HCH) entered a definitive agreement to purchase online coupon supplier RetailMeNot for $630m.

According to the agreement, HCH will acquire all the outstanding shares of RetailMeNot Series 1 common stock for $11.60 a share in cash.

HCH is a wholly owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes, and owns global media solutions provider Valassis.


TCS launches unified payment platformfor retail organisations

Global IT services supplier Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) launched Merchant Pay, a unified payment platform that will enable retail organisations to integrate transactions across multiple modes through a single interface.

This new platform will allow customers to make Merchant Pay-enabled payments by using their fingerprint to confirm their identity, according to TCS. 

TCS growth markets president Ravi Viswanathan said: "With numerous digital payment methods like UPI, eWallets, Aadhaar Pay, debit and credit cards available, there was a need for a unified platform that integrates all digital payment methods offering convenience to customers and also allowing merchants to accept any form of digital payment.”


Flipkart raises $1.4bn from investors and acquires eBay’s business in India

India-based online retailer Flipkart announced that Tencent, eBay and Microsoft have collectively invested $1.4bn in the company, marking the biggest investment in its ten-year operating history.

At a post-transaction valuation of $11.6bn, the latest funding round from the three global technology companies adds to an existing group of investors that include Tiger Global Management, Naspers Group, Accel Partners and DST Global.

Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal said: “We are delighted that Tencent, eBay and Microsoft, all innovation powerhouses, have chosen to partner with us on their India journey.”


Clothing retailer Bebe to close all stores by May

Clothing retailer Bebe announced its plans to close all its stores by the end of May.

According to a filing with SEC, the company has entered a consulting agreement with its financial adviser Great American Group, and Tiger Capital Group.

It plans to sell all company merchandise and inventory, as well as several of its subsidiaries in its existing stores.


Pitney Bowes partners with SalesWarp to offer new Complete Shipping solution for retailers

Pitney Bowes has launched its Complete Shipping solution for partners and retailers that simplifies logistics management of unified commerce solutions.

With this technology, order management solution provider SalesWarp can deliver a one-stop solution that enables retailers to easily manage inventory, orders, customer service and shipping, while leveraging all their ecommerce, store, and fulfillment assets.

According to Pitney Bowes Global Online Survey, with almost 70% of surveyed US shoppers using click-and-collect, retailers are facing the increasing complexity of tying together several systems to better serve their customers.


PetSmart signs agreement to acquire Chewy

PetSmart signed a definitive agreement to acquire online pet retailer Chewy.

PetSmart stated that the acquisition will help in accelerating its strategy of becoming a convenient, best-in-class pet retailer, as well as enhance their in-store and online capabilities in North America.

The acquisition is subject to the fulfillment of customary regulatory approvals, and expected to be completed by the end of PetSmart’s second fiscal quarter this year.


Teen clothing retailer Rue21 to close 400 stores in US

Teen clothing retailer Rue21 announced its plans to close almost 400 stores across the US as it intends to focus more on its online business.

Even after the closures, the company will have around 700 stores in 48 states, reported Chron.com.

In a Facebook post, the company called the decision 'difficult but necessary'.


J. Crew Group to slash 250 jobs

US-based J. Crew Group announced plans to cut 250 jobs as part of a strategy to ensure sustainable and profitable growth.

Comprising 150 full-time and 100 open positions in its corporate headquarters in New York, the job cuts are part of a series of organisational restructuring measures to ensure a more efficient and streamlined team structure, as well as long-term profitable-growth.

The total amount accruable to the company as a result of the job cuts is estimated to be approximately $30m in annualised pre-tax savings.


Ikea to double sourcing from India by 2020

Global home furnishings retailer Ikea announced plans to double its sourcing from India by 2020 from the existing $340m to $643m.

According to India's retail policy, at least 30% of the raw materials should be procured from local suppliers.

Ikea range and supply purchase development manager Henrik Gunnerling told PTI: "Ikea works on the principle of optimal sourcing for our global markets. Where it makes sense, we will source locally as well. We currently source products worth €318m from India and will almost double this by 2020 to around €600m.”