FINANCE

Canadian Tire Corp. to capitalize on real estate holdings with REIT

BY Marianne Wilson

Toronto — Canadian Tire Corp. plans to spin off most of its real estate assets into a C$3.5 billion (approximately U.S. $3.49 billion) real estate investment trust, with an initial public offering expected later this year. The proposed new REIT would acquire a majority of the company’s owned real estate, including approximately 250 properties comprised largely of Canadian Tire Retail stores, Canadian Tire anchored retail developments and one distribution center.

"We are executing a strategy that reinforces the strength of our Company while pursuing new growth opportunities organically and through acquisition," said Stephen Wetmore, president and CEO, Canadian Tire Corporation. "Today’s announcement regarding a REIT would increase CTC’s financial flexibility, providing us with the ability to access funds at an attractive cost of capital as we continue to invest in and grow our business."

Canadian Tire would retain a significant ownership interest of 80% to 90% of the REIT with the remainder of the REIT’s units offered to the public via an initial public offering anticipated in the fall of 2013.

Canadian Tire operates more than 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets across Canada, and is made up of a variety of companies, including Canadian Tire, Mark’s, FGL Sports (Sport Chek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, National Sports, S3 and Atmosphere), and Canadian Tire Financial Services.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Poor mobile experience leads to abandoned carts

BY Staff Writer

Palo Alto, Calif. — Two-thirds (66%) of smartphone and tablet users have failed to complete an online transaction due to obstacles at checkout, according to a new survey from Jumio and Harris Interactive. Specific obstacles causing smartphone and tablet shoppers to abandon their shopping carts at the last minute include mobile checkout process being too long or difficult and not feeling secure in giving credit card information.

"Businesses invest a great deal to get consumers to the point of sale in their mobile apps, but there are a lot of obstacles keeping users from taking their purchase across the finish line," said Daniel Mattes, founder and CEO of Jumio. "From frustrations around having to type — and often retype — personal information into tiny text boxes to concerns over the safety of data, users are bailing out at checkout. Brands can’t afford to lose shoppers in those final moments of the transaction."

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FINANCE

Marks & Spencer completes rollout of Visa contactless payments

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Britain’s Marks & Spencer (M&S) has completed the roll out of contactless payment to 644 of its United Kingdom stores, including its railway and airport franchise locations. The roll-out, which followed a successful trial in 25 London stores last summer, cements M&S’ position as the U.K.’s leading contactless retailer, processing over 230,000 contactless transactions every week.

The technology, provided by Visa Europe, enables consumers to simply touch the reader with their contactless cards, or enabled mobile phones without the need to enter a PIN.

Sacha Berendji, retail director at M&S commented: “Contactless and mobile payment is set to be an exciting part of the future retail landscape. A contactless payment takes place in less than a second, creating a quicker, easier and more convenient shopping experience. Customers are already embracing these benefits and through our roll-out we’re ensuring our stores can cater for customers’ changing shopping habits.”

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