News

Columbus discovers new mobile payment service

BY Dan Berthiaume

Consumers in Columbus, Ohio, are being given a new option for mobile payment.

CurrentC, the mobile payment application from retailer-backed consortium Merchant Commerce Exchange, is now being piloted at stores in Columbus. Major retailers currently participating in MCX include Walmart, Sam’s Club, Sears, Target, CVS and Kmart.

MCX briefly announced the Columbus beta test on the CurrentC webpage, with few details. Reuters reports that 12 major retailers are testing the service at 200 store locations, and the test may be expanded in early 2016.

Since its launch in fall 2014, CurrentC has traveled a bit of a rocky road. Initially participating retailers said they would not accept Apple Pay, but most have since backed away from that pledge. It also was initially scheduled for full rollout this year, but has not moved past several pilot programs.

But in a recent positive development, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. named MCX as the premier partner for its Chase Pay tokenized mobile payment service. Chase Pay will be accepted wherever CurrentC is accepted, either directly or through the CurrentC app. Whether CurrentC will hinder Chase Pay usage, or Chase Pay will boost the viability of CurrentC, remains to be seen.

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FINANCE

Tuesday Morning turnaround well underway

BY Gina Acosta

Just a few weeks after losing its CEO, Tuesday Morning posted impressive financial results for the first quarter, including an increase in same-store sales.

For the first quarter ended Sept. 30, the Texas-based off-price retailer posted a same-store sales increase of 3.6%. Net sales were $202.3 million, slightly higher than the prior year period. The company ended the first quarter with a store count of 757, a decrease of 44 stores year over year. Operating loss for the first quarter was $6 million.

"Our first quarter performance reflects continued progress against our strategic initiatives," said Steve Becker, executive chairman. "We have significant potential for improvement across all areas of the business, an established strategy and demonstrated progress towards our goals, as well as a strong team executing our initiatives. We are accelerating the pace of certain key investments such as our store relocation program, which continues to have exciting results. We are investing in the completion of our Phoenix distribution center, which will drive meaningful savings and significantly improve our ability to efficiently serve our stores. We are also testing multiple marketing initiatives. While these investments will impact operating margins in the near-term, we believe they are vital steps to unlock the full potential of the business and Tuesday Morning will emerge from this transformation as a far more productive, competitive and profitable retailer."

In September the company announced that Michael Rouleau was leaving in March. The company created a new office of the chairman led by Becker to support oversight of the company’s strategic initiatives until a new CEO can be hired.

The company currently expects the Phoenix distribution center to be operational in the first half of fiscal 2017. Given this, as well as an expected acceleration in pace of store relocations in fiscal 2016, the company currently expects FY16 total capital expenditure to be approximately $46 million, up from the previously provided range of $40 million – $45 million.

Tuesday Morning opened its first store in 1974 and currently operates over 750 stores in 41 states.

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ECOMMERCE

Online fashion retailer upgrades omnichannel experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

For pure play retailers, having the right digital commerce platform is absolutely critical.

San Francisco-based digital fashion retailer ModCloth is ensuring that it can support the kind of unified omnichannel shopping experience that will bring customers back and support global expansion initiatives.

ModCloth will leverage Demandware’s digital commerce and order management capabilities by leveraging Demandware Commerce Cloud. The unified platform streamlines retail operations from purchase to fulfillment, allowing the delivery of a seamless experience to the consumer.

Demandware Commerce Cloud provides capabilities that share a single view of key retail data such as customers, orders, products and prices, and runs on a single promotion and personalization engine.

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