News

Amazon’s new acquisition becomes data breach target

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Cyber-thieves have found their way into Whole Foods Markets’ payment network.

The natural foods grocer, which Amazon purchased for $13.7 billion in August, learned that payment card information processed at certain venues within some of its stores, such as taprooms and full table-service restaurants, has been breached. These venues use a different point-of-sale system than the company’s primary checkout systems.

The transactions seem to be contained among these Whole Foods’ entry points, as payment cards processed at the primary store checkout systems were not affected. Since parent company Amazon’s systems do not connect to those at Whole Foods, Amazon transactions also have not been impacted, the grocer reported.

“This is still noteworthy however, because it might be the first big ’traditional brick-and-mortar’ cyber-challenge that Amazon will need to overcome following its acquisition of Whole Foods,” Paul Martini, CEO of iboss told Chain Store Age.

Upon learning about the incident, the grocer launched an investigation. In addition to contacting law enforcement, Whole Foods is working with a leading cyber security forensics firm, and taking appropriate measures to address the issue.

The company’s investigation is ongoing, and it will provide additional updates as it learns more, Whole Foods said.

While most Whole Foods stores do not have these taprooms and restaurants, the grocer encourages its customers to closely monitor their payment card statements and report any unauthorized charges to their issuing bank.

“Retail chains are high-priority targets because not only do they give cyber-criminals easy access to financial information, but their networks are also are very distributed — with multiple locations, offices and often various different point of sale systems. This means attackers have multiple entry points to choose from,” Martini said. “Distributed networks like retail stores have very unique challenges, and you’re going to continue to see breaches like this unless the big chains get serious about preventing attacks.”

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News

Refinanced Boulder center opens with 90% occupancy

BY Al Urbanski

NewMark Merrill Mountain States this week issued a double-barreled press release: It closed on a $62 million refinancing of the Village at the Peaks and opened the Boulder-area center at close to 90% capacity.

The $100 million, 442,000-sq.-ft. had been under development for five years in a public/private partnership between NewMark Merrill and the city of Longmont. New financing was provided by Allianz Real Estate of America.

Tenants includes national brands like Whole Foods, Regal Cinemas, Gold’s Gym, Party City along with a complete roster of dining and necessity-based retailers like T-Mobile, Parry’s Pizzeria, Longmont Modern Dentistry, Jersey Mike’s Subs, and Brain Balance Achievement Centers.

”We are extremely proud of Village of the Peaks as a community center which we believe will provide extraordinary shopping, food, services and serve as a gathering place for a long time to come," said NewMark Merrill CEO Sandy Sigal.


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ECOMMERCE

Furniture e-retailer debuts live delivery tracker

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new service is increasing Wayfair’s customer service — and keeping its delivery drivers accountable.

In effort to transform what is considered a time-consuming, even frustrating process, Wayfair launched a new feature, called Day of Delivery Tracking. The live tracking service pinpoints delivery driver locations in real-time through an interactive GPS map.

On the morning of delivery, customers in available markets receive an email and text message linking them to a GPS map that illustrates the location of their Wayfair driver, and an arrival countdown once their driver is nearby. By tapping on a “click-to-call” smart link, customers will be automatically routed to either their local Wayfair delivery center or customer service, depending on their delivery status.

“With Day of Delivery Tracking, we’ve added a new level of transparency into exactly where items are and when they will arrive, so that our customers are free to relax, complete tasks, or run errands without the anxiety of missing their scheduled delivery,” said James Savarese, COO, Wayfair. “Day of Delivery Tracking is one of the many ways we are transforming the experience of shopping for home, not only through our unmatched selection, technological innovation and exceptional service, but additionally through our sophisticated proprietary logistics network, which is designed and optimized for furniture items.”

The feature is currently available in 10 markets, including New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta. Wayfair will continue rolling out the service to new markets throughout the year, including Denver, Detroit, Miami, Orlando, Cleveland and Richmond, the company said.

To see the live tracking feature in action, click here.

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