OPERATIONS

Lowe’s Canada to add 14 stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto – Lowe’s Canada is in growth mode. In addition to completing the acquisition of 12 former Target sites, the company also plans to open two more locations in Ontario, which will bring its total store count to 54 from 40.

Construction is currently underway in Ancaster and Mississauga, representing an additional investment in excess of approximately $38 million. The new Lowe's store sites are located across Canada, many in markets where Lowe's is currently underpenetrated. As a result of these new locations, approximately 2,000 jobs will be created in Canada. Lowe’s Canada’s store base will include 37 stores in Ontario, three in Saskatchewan, nine in Alberta and five in British Columbia.

Lowe's acquisition of the 12 former Target locations has been completed, including the purchase of Target's Milton, Ontario distribution center for a total purchase price of approximately $113 million. This acquisition came as part of a real estate auction following Target's decision to cease operations in Canada.

“These 14 new locations are a tremendous win for us in Canada, accelerating our growth across the country and bringing our total store count to 54 locations," said Sylvain Prud'homme, president of Lowe's Canada. "We continue to receive a positive reaction from our customers on our store experience and this helps us reach additional communities more quickly."

Lowe's Canada is slated to open its 40th store in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in August 2015. Opening dates for the remaining 14 locations will vary based on construction and permitting schedules.

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FINANCE

Report: Another player to enter digital payment game

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston – The increasingly crowded digital payment field will soon have a new player. According to Bloomberg, the retailer-backed Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is preparing to launch a trial of its CurrentC digital payment solution in stores.

The limited trial run at unspecified retail stores in August follows beta testing by store employees and will precede a wide-scale rollout planned for third quarter 2015. Retailers supporting MCX include Lowe’s (who will definitely not participate in the trial), CVS, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart and Best Buy. While early indications were that retailers supporting CurrentC would not support Apple Pay, Best Buy plans accept Apple Pay in stores starting later in 2015.

Similar to Apple Pay, CurrentC allows users to digitally pay for purchases using an app. The CurrentC app also allows users to redeem exclusive offers, programs and coupons automatically, earn instant loyalty rewards and points, and pay with checking accounts, store gift cards and select store debit and credit cards. Currently, MCX does not have any agreements with major credit card issuers, unlike Apple Pay’s extensive agreements with banks and credit card brands.

Security includes a four-digit passcode, a secure unique paycode attached to every purchase, and storage of information on an encrypted cloud rather than on the phone. However, MCX informed pilot participants that hackers had gained access to their email information in October 2014.

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MOBILITY

Report: Amazon gets the fashion picture in U.K.

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Amazon.com is always trying to improve its overseas operations, and now the e-commerce titan is “getting the picture” in the U.K. market. According to TechCrunch, Amazon has opened a 46,000-sq.-ft. photography studio in London.

Amazon will use the studio to take more than 500,000 digital images of fashion items it will sell on its U.K. site. Images will include products sold both by Amazon itself and through partners on its third-party marketplace. Amazon added more than 100 fashion brands to its assortment in 2014 and says it sold more than 30 million fashion items in Europe between April and June 2015.

The studio is expected to create about 30 full-time jobs and employ up to 75 people during peak periods.

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