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Whole Foods misses sales and comps; Q3 profit edges up

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Austin, Texas — Whole Foods Market reported that profit for the third quarter rose to $151 million from $142 million last year, but revenue and same-store sales missed projections, sending the organic grocer’s shares downward.

Revenue rose to $3.38 billion from $3.06 billion, shy of the $3.39 billion expected by Wall Street. Same-store sales rose 3.9%, well short of the estimated 4.9% gain and marking the worst performance in at least 14 quarters.

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First Data to acquire digital payment pioneer Gyft

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — First Data has taken a key step toward expanding its payment services by acquiring Gyft Inc., the Silicon Valley-based company that entered the $100 billion gift card market in 2012 and pioneered the concept of a mobile wallet for gift cards.

Gyft enables consumers to buy, send, manage and redeem gift cards using mobile devices. With more than 200 retailers on its digital gift card platform, Gyft is a mobile wallet accessible by website and as a free app on iPhone and Android devices. With the acquisition, First Data will expand its gift card footprint and programs and add choice for consumers.

“Gyft, with its mobile gifting platform, and First Data, with its global scale and distribution network, together will accelerate the growth of virtual prepaid with powerful new tools for merchants of all sizes to deepen their relationships with their customers,” said Guy Chiarello, president, First Data. “This means that the same robust toolset deployed by big box retailers will be coming soon to small- to mid-sized businesses, perfectly synched with our mission to offer innovative solutions to help our clients grow.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Indian e-commerce provider Flipkart receives $1 billion funding

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bangalore, India – Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart has received about $1 billion in funding from investors including existing backer Tiger Global Management, as well as new stakeholders Morgan Stanley and Singapore-based sovereign wealth fund GIC. Flipkart operates as an online marketplace for 3,000 individual merchants, similar to China’s Alibaba.com.

Flipkart, founded in 2007 by two former Amazon.com executives, is not yet profitable. The company says it has 22 million registered users. Flipkart says it wants to become a $100 billion company in five years, and estimates of its post-funding value range from $5 billion to $7 billion. Flipkart is receiving the cash infusion as U.S.-based competitors including Amazon.com, EBay, and Wal-Mart are all stepping up their e-commerce efforts in India.

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