Retail: Kroger, Bed Bath & Beyond Deepen Ties

Today in retail, payments providers must offer value-added services to their customers, while Mastercard SpendingPulse shows continued return to pre-pandemic consumer spending. Plus, KimChi Chic Beauty line gets a retail home in 139 CVS BeautyIRL locations, lease-to-own plans are providing a boost to retailers and a solution for consumers, and Productsup secures $71 million in Series B fundraising round.

Mastercard: Service Spending Making a Comeback

March’s 8.4% year-over-year increase in retail spending marked the ongoing return to pre-pandemic consumer spending, Mastercard said Wednesday (April 6) in its monthly SpendingPulse report of online and offline retail sales, similar to February’s results and a slight uptick from January.

Airline spending saw one of the strongest rebounds in Mastercard’s data, as people began spending on travel again to the tune of 44.8% year-over-year growth in March. Consumers were also spending more on restaurants (a 19% increase), lodging (46%), luxury goods (27%) and department stores (14%).

Kroger Ups Its Cross-Category Game via eComm Pact With Bed Bath & Beyond

Grocery store operator Kroger announced Wednesday (April 6) that it’s expanding its 5-month-old digital partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond in a “multi-category omnichannel collaboration.”

The two brands said they will roll out an eCommerce experience that will expand upon Kroger’s home and baby care offerings, while leveraging the specialty retailer’s expertise and recognition in the category, to give customers a more cohesive shopping experience.

KimChi Chic Beauty Makeup Line Debuts at CVS Stores

CVS Pharmacy is bringing Bespoke Beauty Brands’ KimChi Chic Beauty line of products to at least 139 of its US BeautyIRL locations, according to a Wednesday (April 6) press release.

KimChi Chic Beauty launched in 2019 with a focus on beauty for all in celebration of drag queen, Instagram sensation and “live-action anime character” Kim Chi.

Rihanna the Retail Billionaire Joins Growing List of Industry’s Celebrity Money Makers

Singer, actress, model, entrepreneur, fashion mogul and expectant mother has added another title to her growing list of superlatives: billionaire, according to Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest people. Rihanna has an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion, landing her at #1729 on the overall list.

Almost one-fifth (18) of the top 100 placeholders in the overall list this year derived their wealth from the retail industry, including Amancio Ortega of Spanish fast fashion brand Zara ($59 billion), Nike founder Phil Knight ($47 billion) and Germany’s Dieter Schwarz of Schwarz Group ($47 billion).

Productsup Grabs $71M in Series B Round

Software company Productsup wrapped up a 65 million euros ($71 million) Series B fundraising round that the company plans to use for product development, merger and acquisition activity, strengthening its partner network and expansion into new markets, according to a Wednesday (April 6) press release.

European technology growth capital firm Bregal Milestone led Productsup’s funding effort, with participation from existing investor Nordwind Capital.

Productsup works with more than 900 global brands, retailers, marketplaces and service providers to improve their omnichannel retail strategy at a time when eCommerce is projected to reach $5 trillion this year.

Acquirers Must Aim for Payments ‘Moon Shots’ to Move Beyond Mere Processing

Carl Churchill, managing director at NetPay Solutions Group Limited, parent firm of Technolog, told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster that the payments industry is facing a watershed moment, where the key providers — especially the acquirers — need to give their merchants the value-added services needed to meet consumers at the next phase of commerce.

Certain acquirers are still holding onto the physical terminal thinking that’s still the future, said Churchill, but that’s not a feasible strategy. Those same providers will need to shift their attention beyond terminal sales and shopping plugins the core processing businesses that are doing so well at the moment, buoyed by the pandemic and the surge in contactless transactions.

New Data: Retailers Get Durable Sales Boost From Lease-To-Own Plans

The rising cost of living, uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and potential increases in interest rates are but a few of the issues influencing their spending decisions.

Many consumers feel especially cautious about buying durable goods, typically defined as goods that do not wear out quickly and are used by consumers for more than three years, including sofas, beds or refrigerators, believing that they have just two viable options for purchasing durable goods : going without potential necessities or going into unsecured debt.

“The Lease-to-Own Secret: Giving Consumers Control Over Durable Goods Purchases,” a PYMNTS and Katapult collaboration, examines how lease-to-own purchasing options can give consumers greater financial flexibility when buying durable goods. It reveals how they currently pay for durable goods and how lease-to-own plans can positively impact their relationships with their favorite merchants and increase sales.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: WHY PATIENT PORTALS ARE BECOMING TABLE STAKES TO CONSUMERS

About: Patient portals are now a must-have for providers — so much so that 61% of patients interested in using the tools say they would switch to a healthcare provider that offers one. For Accessing Healthcare: Easing Digital Frictions In The Patient Journey, a PYMNTS and Experian Health collaboration, PYMNTS surveyed 2,333 consumers to learn how healthcare providers can relieve digital pain points to offer improved patient care and satisfaction.

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