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PayPal acquiring mobile payment startup

BY CSA STAFF

On the heels of Samsung’s announcement that it would roll out Samsung Pay in the United States this summer, PayPal has announced it is buying mobile wallet technology startup Paydiant.

Paydiant technology powers payment apps for such retail brands as Subway and Harris Teeter supermarkets. But its most notable retail client is the merchant consortium MCX, which is developing an in-store payment app (widely viewed as an alternative to Apple Pay) called CurrentC. Walmart, Best Buy and Sears Holdings Corp. are part of MCX.

“With the addition of Paydiant, PayPal becomes an even stronger business partner for merchants,” said Dan Schulman, PayPal president and CEO designee (PayPal is being spun off into a separate public company by its parent, eBay. “Using Paydiant’s platform, our merchant partners can now create their own branded wallets to accelerate mobile-in-store payments and drive consumer engagement through mobile payments, loyalty, offers and the prioritization of preferred payment types, such as store branded credit cards and gift cards. Similar to PayPal, Paydiant’s technology agnostic approach means that merchants can use any mobile payment technology – QR codes or NFC – that best suits their business.”

The acquisition is expected to close by late March or April, pending regulatory approval.

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Kmart, Best Buy lift St. Jude’s campaign

BY CSA STAFF

Kmart and Best Buy are among the retailers that helped St. Jude’s Hospital raise more than $100 million for the second year in a row.

Kmart led all fundraising for St. Jude’s once again at $17.5 million, bringing its grand total to date to $76 million. Best Buy saw its campaign increase from nearly $1 million in 2013 to $9.7 million.

"As a result of our amazing corporate partners, generous donors and celebrity friends, the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign has raised an incredible $587 million since it began in 2004," said Marlo Thomas, outreach director for St. Jude's. "The support we receive allows our doctors and scientists to continue our lifesaving work and also allows us to keep my father's founding promise that no family ever pays St. Jude for anything — not for treatment, travel, housing or food. That's because we believe all a family should worry about is helping their child live. At St. Jude we will never stop searching for the cures that will save the lives of children everywhere."

This past holiday season, more than 70 of America's leading companies and brands including Kmart, Best Buy, Domino's, ANN INC., Kay Jewelers, HomeGoods, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., New York & Company, AutoZone and Brooks Brothers as well as new partners Chili's Grill & Bar, Mazda, The Limited and many more joined together in asking shoppers to support St. Jude through in-store and e-commerce initiatives, specialty merchandise and social media engagement. Kmart was the top fundraising partner for the sixth consecutive year.

"Kmart's long history of success in supporting charitable causes is due to the generosity of our Shop Your Way members, customers and associates," said Alasdair James, president and chief member officer at Kmart. "We're proud of the impact our results have made for the families of St. Jude and thankful to St. Jude for its tireless work to defeat cancer and other diseases in children. St. Jude made holiday shopping at Kmart more rewarding and we're excited to support an organization that clearly means so much to our members."

Best Buy saw its total jump by nearly $9 million as a result of extending its campaign and implementing a donation ask with its credit card pin pad. Domino's, a partner since 2004, had a record-breaking year raising more than $5.2 million. Domino's continued to integrate St. Jude throughout its website and asked customers to make a donation during the ordering process.

In addition to Kmart, Best Buy and Domino's, several partners raised more than $2 million during the 2014 St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign, including:

  • ANN INC. – $4.6 million through Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory and LOFT Outlet stores
  • Williams-Sonoma, Inc. – $3.9 million
  • New York & Company – $2.9 million
  • GNC – $2.7 million
  • AutoZone – $2.6 million
  • Brooks Brothers – $2.3 million
  • Dollar General – $2.1 million
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Barnes & Noble targets Android users with Nook 4.0

BY CSA STAFF

Earlier this month when Barnes & Noble reversed itself and said it was going to keep its Nook division, analysts wondered what the retailer would do next. We now have an answer.

Barnes & Noble has announced that it is releasing the Nook Reading App 4.0 for Android. The Nook Reading App 4.0 for Android supports a “read everywhere” strategy by bringing a unified Nook experience to Android smartphones and tablets. The app combines customer-favorite features found on the company’s line of NOOK tablets and eReaders, with new content types such as enhanced kids’ eBooks to give Android users the immersive experience that owning a dedicated Nook device provides. Plus, new customers who download the app and set up a Nook account will receive a free $5 credit to get started.

“With the new and improved experience, we’re bringing customers an intuitive new way to read and discover great content on any Android phone or tablet,” said Mahesh Veerina, president of Nook Digital. “The app brings the very best of NOOK to any Android device for easy access, anytime, anywhere – and with its fresh new look, and access to content like enhanced kids’ eBooks, we’re offering Android customers more than ever before.”

With the Nook Reading App 4.0 for Android, readers also have more customization tools, including the ability to create profiles within the app and to organize favorite content by personal shelves. The updated app enables users to add a Nook widget to the home screen of any Android phone or tablet, providing quick and easy access to Nook reading content.

The U.S. bookstore chain said in February that it had dropped plans to spin off its Nook digital book unit into a separate company.

Barnes & Noble Inc. operates 649 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states and bn.com.

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