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Another giant enters the mobile payment wars

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Move over Apple and Google — and make way for Samsung.

Samsung Electronics Co. on Thursday announced Samsung Pay, a mobile payment service that will let customers pay with their phones at nearly any credit-card terminal. The new system will launch in Korea on Aug. 20 and in the United States on Sept. 28.

Unlike Apple’s Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay which must use near field communication sensors to interact with point-of-sale systems at stores, Samsung is using a new technology called “Magnetic Secure Transmission” that will allow Samsung Pay phones to communicate with the magnetic strip reader typically found in credit card terminals around the country (Samsung Pay also supports NFC).

Samsung made the announcement at an event in New York where it unveiled its newest flagship devices: the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5.

“With the launches of these exciting new smartphones, we will open a new era of mobile payment,” said JK Shin, the CEO and head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “This is Samsung’s brave step forward to enhance our mobile experience. It is easy, safe, and most importantly, available virtually anywhere you can swipe a card, in most cases without new costs for merchants, from day one.”

Similar to other mobile payment systems, with the new Samsung Pay, customers will use their fingerprint to confirm a purchase after put put their phone near the store’s POS system.

Samsung Pay will be preloaded on select Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 devices and a free software upgrade will be rolled out beginning mid-August, to enable Samsung Pay on Galaxy S6 and S6 edge phones.

For more on Samsung Pay, click here.

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Stein Mart targets discount shoppers in N.Y., Mich.

BY CSA STAFF

Off-price retailer Stein Mart is accelerating the implementation of its store growth strategy just as thrifty shoppers increasingly flock to discounters.



The off-price retailer announced it will open nine stores this fall, and at least 12 new locations in 2016.



The news follows the company's recent release of first half 2015 total sales growth of 6.1% and same storesales growth of 4%.



"New store openings are key to our sales growth strategy,” said Jay Stein, CEO of Stein Mart, which operates 269 stores. “We are excited about our new fall locations which include our initial entry into suburban Detroit and Long Island. We have a great number of target customers in these markets and know they will be successful. We are also very pleased to announce our preliminary 2016 store expansion plans, which include opening at least 12 stores."



The retailer said its 2016 store expansion is already underway with six stores opening in the spring and plans for at least six more stores in the fall.



Stein Mart opened a new store in Cupertino, Calif., in March and will open another nine new stores this fall, giving it a total of 10 new stores in 2015.

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Some good news for retailers in July

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — A report suggests that U.S. consumers aren’t letting the summer doldrums or world unrest get in the way of shopping — although not all retailers are benefiting.

Retail sales rose 0.6% in July month, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Excluding sales of automobiles, sales were up 0.4%. Eleven of 13 major categories showed increases.

The Commerce Department also revised June's 0.3% decline in retail sales to an unchanged reading.

One of the best performing categories in July was non-store retailers, which includes online merchants, where sales rose 1.5%. Sales rose 0.9% at sporting goods stores; 0.8% at home and furniture stores; 0.7% at building materials stores; and 0.4% at apparel stores. At restaurants, sales were up 0.7%.

However, department stores and general-merchandise retailers did not fare so well, both registering a 0.5% decline. (Both Macy’s and Kohl’s came up short in their second quarter results.) In another decline, electronics and appliance sales fell 1.2%.

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