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Visa in deal with Borderfree to push U.S. retail promotions in Middle East

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Visa has entered into an agreement with Borderfree, a leading international cross-border e-commerce solutions provider, to offer customers in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan, special promotions from retailers in the United States.

Borderfree, based in New York City, operates a technology and services platform that allows U.S. retailers to transact with customers in more than 100 countries and territories and more than 60 currencies worldwide. Borderfree’s customer portfolio includes Bloomingdale’s, Sears, Macy’s, Gilt, Elie Tahari and Neiman Marcus.
The partnership kicks off with a Neiman Marcus promotion that will be rolled out in select markets in the Middle East, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. Visa has partnered with almost 40 banks in the region to exclusively offer cardholders of participating banks duty-free and free international express shipping of goods purchased in excess of US $100 through Aug. 20.

The promotion also extends to leading fashion retail brand Elie Tahari and Gilt, the online retailer that provides instant access to today’s top designer labels at up to 60% off. Through Aug. 20, shoppers will have duty-free and free international shipping on orders of US $100 or more with Elie Tahari and free international shipping with Gilt on orders of US $100 or more.

“Visa is excited to engage with one of the leading ecommerce platforms in the world and offer customers of select banks the opportunity to purchase products from some of the most coveted fashion and retail brands without leaving the comfort of their homes,” said Karim Beg, head of marketing at Visa MENA. “Visa has been committed to growing its e-commerce footprint in the MENA region and this promotion with top US merchants such as Neiman Marcus, Elie Tahari and Gilt is a fantastic opportunity to reach out to the ever-growing base of online shoppers in the region.”

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Spending growth solid in June

BY CSA STAFF

First Data Corporation reported solid June spending growth in a number of sectors in its First Data SpendTrend analysis for May 31, 2014 through June 30, 2014, compared to June 1, 2013 through July 1, 2013.

SpendTrend tracks same-store point-of-sale data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks from nearly 4 million merchant locations serviced by First Data.

A slowly improving economy and growing job market have helped drive consumer spending. Spending growth in June slowed slightly from May but remained positive on a year-over-year basis with a growth of 3%.

While spending in travel and hotel slowed from the previous month, growth was still strong in these sectors, with a year-over-year increase of 4.9% and 7.1%, respectively. Food and beverage stores spending was up 4.7% versus May’s 4.2% growth, a trend reflecting an increase in food costs.

Retail spending growth retreated slightly in June compared to May but remained positive with 1.2% growth. 5.7% growth in building and gardening materials and 1.5% growth in furniture and home furnishings reflect continued improvement in the housing market. However, a slowly declining unemployment rate caused consumers to remain hesitant and kept overall retail spending growth moderate.

Average ticket growth also decreased slightly from May but remained positive at 0.9% growth on a year-over-year basis, reflecting increased food and gas prices. Food and drinking places and food and beverage stores saw a growth of 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively, as rising food costs impacted the average ticket in these categories for consumers.

Finally, credit spending continued to be the preferred spending method this month with a 5.3% increase in transaction growth and a 3.9% dollar volume growth. The increase in transaction volume was supported by year-over-year growth in categories such as hotel and travel, where consumers tend to utilize this payment method most.

“This month’s trends showed some slowing in spending growth but overall, spending remains healthy, reflecting the recovering economy and consumer willingness to spend compared to the same time last year,” said Krish Mantripragada, SVP, information and analytics solutions, First Data. “An increase in credit usage reflects steady growth in credit lending, improved consumer credit quality and a growing consumer confidence in their personal finances.”

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Wrangler and Drew Brees redefine Comfort in Texas

BY CSA STAFF

New Orleans Saints quarterback and Texas native Drew Brees will become mayor for the day of Comfort, Texas, on July 23 when the small town is temporarily renamed Advanced Comfort as part of a promotion for a new line of Wrangler jeans.

In celebration of the launch, Wrangler will kick off a community-based initiative striving to improve towns across America that begins on Wednesday, July 23, when the town of Comfort is renamed Advanced Comfort for six months.

“We selected the town of Comfort, Texas, not only because of its name association, but because the town and people represent everything Wrangler stands for – hard work, integrity and the ability to enjoy the small comforts of life,” said Craig Errington, Wrangler vp of marketing. “Backed by Mayor Brees, we’re excited to help local residents #GetMoreComfortable in both their jeans and in their beloved town.”

Under his new executive title, Brees will publicly announce the town’s name change at the July 23 celebration which will include entertainment and activities for all ages. Wrangler will arrive in the Texas town about an hour northwest of San Antonio bearing gifts aiming to advance the community’s level of comfort and its resident’s daily lives, according to Wrangler. On the list are more than 3,000 pairs of jeans to outfit the men in attendance, a Wrangler Comfort Zone complete with seat upgrades at the local high school football stadium, and a community donation. Men will be invited to take the “Wrangler Comfort Challenge,” led by Brees, made up of a series of football drills that demonstrate the jeans’ four-way flex technology.

“I’m proud to be a Wrangler guy particularly for this Advanced Comfort campaign. To have the honor of being mayor, on a day focused on giving back to a deserving community, makes my role that much more rewarding,” Brees said. “I’m looking forward to spending the day with wonderful people not far from where I grew up in Texas. We’ll take the guys through some drills in their new jeans, and help Wrangler make Advanced Comfort, Texas, the most comfortable town in America.”

Leading up to the event, Wrangler will release a video series on its YouTube channel to showcase the people and places of Comfort, a close-knit community of 2,300 people. Through the series, viewers will learn how they can nominate their town to be the next to #GetMoreComfortable with Wrangler.

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