Recent posts

As people continue to feel the effects of the pandemic, many small business owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat. The US Congress is considering House Bill 3807 to help small businesses with a $42 billion relief package. Erika Polmar, the Independent Restaurant Coalition executive director, said this bill would be a "lifeline" for around 2,700 independent restaurants in Oregon that applied for relief last year but never received it. House Bill 3807 now has to pass the US Senate, and we’ve yet to see how much relief small businesses will actually receive. If this bill passes, it will provide much-needed relief to small businesses across the country. As Polmar said: "The future of our industry, the 216,000 jobs that restaurants and bars provide Oregonians, are in jeopardy if we don’t replenish this fund."  If voted in, House Bill 3807 would help the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and support many other businesses impacted by the pandemic. With this bill, small business owners could apply for grants to cover expenses such as payroll, rent, and utilities, letting them avoid getting unfavorable loans to keep their business running. This would be a massive relief for many small businesses that have been struggling to stay open during the pandemic. And although many of them are busy again, they are now facing serious problems with inflation. "All of those costs have skyrocketed. So, what you may have seen happening in 2019 as a really great banner night is now barely making ends meet," said Polmar. Dwayne Thomas, the president of the Live Events Coalition, commented on the bill, saying: "We’re just in debt up to the hilt trying to stay open and relevant as now we’re going back to work. We’re going back to work amid a worker shortage, amid all kinds of supply chain issues, and we’re going back to work quite quickly." He also said that the $13 billion would be allocated to different businesses and divided into three rounds. The first round of relief will go to those who lost 80% or more of their income within the past two years.

By Goran April 14,2022

The Spanish fashion retailer, Mango, announced its plans to open 30 new stores in the United States by the end of 2024. This is just a part of the retailer's global expansion, as there are also plans to open new stores in Europe and India. Although it had a lot of success in online sales during the pandemic, the company still believes that the brick-and-mortar experience is key to its growth.  The retailer currently has only six locations in the US and plans to start its expansion on Fifth Avenue in New York. The 2,100-square-foot flagship store is set to open in May. Besides this, the company targets Florida and has plans to open stores in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Boca Raton. This expansion will be followed by Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and California.  According to the company, the United States is currently a top-ten market, and the goal is to make it a top-five market. Last year, Mango had 2,447 stores worldwide, an increase of around 10% compared to 2020, and now the goal is to widen the market even more. Toni Ruiz, Chief executive at Mango, said: “The role of the store will evolve. We are sure that sometimes it’s more logistics, sometimes it’s more about experiences, but we are convinced human contact is very important.” One of the goals of this expansion is to enhance the shopping process and make it more interactive and engaging for customers. The customer will have the possibility to order eCommerce products while doing their in-store shopping.  There will also be a click-and-collect option for when they want to order products online and pick them up in-store. The company also plans to improve data collection to provide a more personalized experience for its customers. Mango wants to expand its homeware business to the US market, too. Laura Vila, the home director at Mango, commented on this, saying: “Entering the United States homeware market is a significant step forward in our strategy to diversify our business and at the same time strengthen our international expansion plan in one of the most strategic markets for the company.” 

By Julija A. April 14,2022

Barclays has announced Monday that it is halting the sale of new retail structured products as it continues to be investigated by regulators over a $15bn trading error. The famous business-oriented bank now faces regulatory scrutiny over its trading slip-up from 2019 that’s only recently been discovered. The bank will have to pay investors over £450m in reparations, and one of the largest shareholders has already sold double that amount in the bank’s shares. Barclays’ clerical error will also force the bank to buy back affected securities at their original price. According to the law, all providers of structured products must register their shelves with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Barclays used to have a license that allowed its shelf to automatically increase the more items it issued, but this was changed following the trading debacle. Not realizing the error for years, the bank had continued to operate as if its shelf would automatically rise, which resulted in it exceeding its pre-set limit of $20.8bn by $15.2bn. Barclays immediately stopped issuing new shares, but the damage to its finances and reputation was already done. This is certainly not the news that investors wanted to hear from Barclays, especially as the lender is already under a great deal of scrutiny from regulators. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the investigation will be, but Barclays will likely face a substantial fine in addition to the other costs it will have to pay. It’s not the first time Barclays has been under fire for its trading practices. In 2012, it was fined $450 million by US and UK authorities for manipulating Libor rates. This will be a much costlier blunder, though, and the full extent of the costs may not be visible for quite some time.

By Vladana Donevski April 07,2022

According to a recent report, the Maersk eCommerce Logistics business unit is getting into business in the US in a push to capitalize on the $600B eCommerce market there. Maersk boasts a network of over 70 strategically placed e-fulfillment centers capable of delivering to 75% of the population in the US within 24 hours and 95% within 48 hours. Casey Adams, head of Maersk eCommerce logistics in North America, said the following in a recent press release:  “Business gets more competitive every day as US consumer online shopping demand continues to grow. Our fulfillment network is designed to bring B2C expertise and scale to Maersk customers with direct-to-consumer fulfillment, parcel delivery, and supply chain visibility in an end-to-end offering. By making eCommerce supply chains easier and more robust, we can deliver factory-to-sofa service.”  Before emerging in the US market, Maersk has rapidly expanded its eCommerce presence with recent acquisitions, purchasing Visible Supply Chain Management – a notable US-based eCommerce fulfillment firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company also acquired two European eCommerce firms: B2C Europe and HUUB and Asia's LF Logistics. Maersk hopes that the previous acquisitions will provide integrated logistics solutions in the North American market, especially in B2B warehousing and distribution. The Danish shipping company Maersk already has a significant presence in Europe and Asia, serving over 100,000 clients with B2B supply chains and transporting 12 million containers per year. Its services include order and transportation management, customs clearance, and a range of eCommerce fulfillment options. Its Californian-based branch, Performance Team (acquired in April 2020), will offer warehousing and distribution solutions and a full range of transportation services for the North American market. Mr. Adams and the Maersk team were in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 2022 Shoptalk event from March 27-30. The agenda of the conference, which attracts over 8,000 people each year, covered the latest retail technologies, trends, and business models and discussed consumers’ behavior.   

By Nemanja Vasiljevic April 06,2022

Recent from Big Business

Barclays has announced Monday that it is halting the sale of new retail structured products as it continues to be investigated by regulators over a $15bn trading error. The famous business-oriented bank now faces regulatory scrutiny over its trading slip-up from 2019 that’s only recently been discovered. The bank will have to pay investors over £450m in reparations, and one of the largest shareholders has already sold double that amount in the bank’s shares. Barclays’ clerical error will also force the bank to buy back affected securities at their original price. According to the law, all providers of structured products must register their shelves with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Barclays used to have a license that allowed its shelf to automatically increase the more items it issued, but this was changed following the trading debacle. Not realizing the error for years, the bank had continued to operate as if its shelf would automatically rise, which resulted in it exceeding its pre-set limit of $20.8bn by $15.2bn. Barclays immediately stopped issuing new shares, but the damage to its finances and reputation was already done. This is certainly not the news that investors wanted to hear from Barclays, especially as the lender is already under a great deal of scrutiny from regulators. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the investigation will be, but Barclays will likely face a substantial fine in addition to the other costs it will have to pay. It’s not the first time Barclays has been under fire for its trading practices. In 2012, it was fined $450 million by US and UK authorities for manipulating Libor rates. This will be a much costlier blunder, though, and the full extent of the costs may not be visible for quite some time.

By Vladana Donevski April 07,2022

The eCommerce sales boom of the past two years, for both retail and wholesale platforms, has impacted practically all companies with an online presence - Nike included. The sports apparel giant has seen strong demand from North America lately, with its share price rising by 5% and its fiscal third-quarter results topping all analysts’ estimates. These results are promising, but Nike still did not give a full-year forecast because of the uncertainties caused by inflation, war, and obstructed supply chains. The situation with China also remains unclear, as many Chinese consumers continue to boycott Western brands, including Nike. The Chief Financial Officer at Nike, Matthew Friend, commented on these uncertainties: “We are focused on what we can control. There are several new dynamics creating higher levels of volatility.” As supply chains got disrupted during the pandemic, Nike prioritized some markets over others, allocating more products to North America, as its biggest market. Despite these challenges, Nike’s sales grew by 9% in its third quarter. However, sales in Greater China decreased by 5% compared to the previous year. It is clear that the pandemic has significantly impacted Nike’s business: The company has had to adapt to new challenges and uncertainties. But thanks to strong demand from North America, it has been able to weather the storm and continue growing. Despite all the challenges, Nike’s sales results topped all analysts’ estimates. It reported a net income of $1.4 billion for the three months ending on February 28. Its sales rose to $10.87 billion from $10.36 billion the previous year. “Nike’s strong results this quarter show that our Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy is working as we invest to achieve our growth opportunities. Fuelled by deep consumer connections, compelling product innovation, and an expanding digital advantage, we have the right playbook to navigate volatility and create value through our relentless drive to serve the future of sport,” said John Donahoe, Nike’s CEO. As things stand, Nike is likely to keep its spot among the top activewear retailers; however, the effect ongoing inflation will have on its shoppers remains to be seen.

By Danica Jovic March 25,2022

According to data compiled by PYMNTS.com, Amazon’s market share of eCommerce sales in the United States hit a record-high of 56.7% in 2021.  The figures mark a significant increase from the company’s 46.1% market share in 2019, which underscores the pandemic-fuelled shift in spending to digital channels and Amazon’s dominance of the online retail market. What’s more, this number may be even higher as it does not take into account third-party sellers that use Amazon as a marketplace to sell their products.  With such a large portion of the market, it’s no wonder that other retailers have been struggling to keep up. Walmart, for example, has seen its market share rise by nearly 50% since 2020, but that translates into only 6.2% of the market by the end of 2021. This is significantly lower than Amazon, despite Walmart's 5,000 physical store locations across the US.  Amazon is also closing in on Walmart's dominance of the food and beverage market, albeit slowly. However, Amazon reigns supreme in sectors such as Clothing and Apparel, Sporting Goods, Hobby, Music and Books, and Furniture and Home Furnishings. On a number of fronts, Amazon's eCommerce edge is significant. With its share of total US retail sales (both online and in-store) growing to 9.4% versus Walmart's 8.6%, it has now moved ahead for the first time due to its increased market presence and by offering more options to customers. Walmart is responding to the fierce competition from Amazon by announcing changes to its business model.  “Our stores have become hybrid. They're both stores and fulfillment centers,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillion. “Having inventory so close to so many customers is a competitive advantage.”  The latest data shows that Amazon is still growing and expanding its reach within the eCommerce platforms. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change in the coming years as retailers continue to struggle while Amazon’s market share surges.

By Julija A. March 18,2022

Recent from Retail

The Spanish fashion retailer, Mango, announced its plans to open 30 new stores in the United States by the end of 2024. This is just a part of the retailer's global expansion, as there are also plans to open new stores in Europe and India. Although it had a lot of success in online sales during the pandemic, the company still believes that the brick-and-mortar experience is key to its growth.  The retailer currently has only six locations in the US and plans to start its expansion on Fifth Avenue in New York. The 2,100-square-foot flagship store is set to open in May. Besides this, the company targets Florida and has plans to open stores in Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Boca Raton. This expansion will be followed by Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and California.  According to the company, the United States is currently a top-ten market, and the goal is to make it a top-five market. Last year, Mango had 2,447 stores worldwide, an increase of around 10% compared to 2020, and now the goal is to widen the market even more. Toni Ruiz, Chief executive at Mango, said: “The role of the store will evolve. We are sure that sometimes it’s more logistics, sometimes it’s more about experiences, but we are convinced human contact is very important.” One of the goals of this expansion is to enhance the shopping process and make it more interactive and engaging for customers. The customer will have the possibility to order eCommerce products while doing their in-store shopping.  There will also be a click-and-collect option for when they want to order products online and pick them up in-store. The company also plans to improve data collection to provide a more personalized experience for its customers. Mango wants to expand its homeware business to the US market, too. Laura Vila, the home director at Mango, commented on this, saying: “Entering the United States homeware market is a significant step forward in our strategy to diversify our business and at the same time strengthen our international expansion plan in one of the most strategic markets for the company.” 

By Julija A. April 14,2022

According to a recent report, the Maersk eCommerce Logistics business unit is getting into business in the US in a push to capitalize on the $600B eCommerce market there. Maersk boasts a network of over 70 strategically placed e-fulfillment centers capable of delivering to 75% of the population in the US within 24 hours and 95% within 48 hours. Casey Adams, head of Maersk eCommerce logistics in North America, said the following in a recent press release:  “Business gets more competitive every day as US consumer online shopping demand continues to grow. Our fulfillment network is designed to bring B2C expertise and scale to Maersk customers with direct-to-consumer fulfillment, parcel delivery, and supply chain visibility in an end-to-end offering. By making eCommerce supply chains easier and more robust, we can deliver factory-to-sofa service.”  Before emerging in the US market, Maersk has rapidly expanded its eCommerce presence with recent acquisitions, purchasing Visible Supply Chain Management – a notable US-based eCommerce fulfillment firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company also acquired two European eCommerce firms: B2C Europe and HUUB and Asia's LF Logistics. Maersk hopes that the previous acquisitions will provide integrated logistics solutions in the North American market, especially in B2B warehousing and distribution. The Danish shipping company Maersk already has a significant presence in Europe and Asia, serving over 100,000 clients with B2B supply chains and transporting 12 million containers per year. Its services include order and transportation management, customs clearance, and a range of eCommerce fulfillment options. Its Californian-based branch, Performance Team (acquired in April 2020), will offer warehousing and distribution solutions and a full range of transportation services for the North American market. Mr. Adams and the Maersk team were in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 2022 Shoptalk event from March 27-30. The agenda of the conference, which attracts over 8,000 people each year, covered the latest retail technologies, trends, and business models and discussed consumers’ behavior.   

By Nemanja Vasiljevic April 06,2022

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, a platform that helps track and visualize consumer spending patterns, US holiday sales shot up 8.5% compared to last year.

By Damjan Jugovic Spajic December 29,2021

Recent from Startups

The US drive-thru restaurant franchise Checkers & Rally’s closed a multimillion-dollar deal with Israeli startup Hi Auto and purchased its AI-based speech recognition software.  The restaurant chain announced that it was implementing the technology in all the company-operated stores and most of the franchised locations.  Hi Auto’s technology will enable Checkers & Rally’s customers to place their orders through an automated speech recognition system that reportedly has a 95% accuracy rate. The system is capable of recording changes in the order during conversations with customers and understands complex menus and even half-sentences.  In short, the solution acts as the perfect employee who does not grow weary, never misses a day of work, is always polite, and never forgets to suggest upsells. The system helps solve the labor shortage problem in the US restaurant industry, which loses hundreds of thousands of employees each month. When compared to human employees, the software is able to take orders faster and handle more customers simultaneously without any errors. The move is seen as a strategic one by Checkers & Rally’s, which has been struggling in recent years to keep up with the likes of major chains such as Wendy’s, Burger King, and Jack in the Box.  Along with investing in restaurant POS systems that streamline order management, Checkers & Rally's has also been upgrading its mobile app. The goal is to make it easier for customers to order and pay ahead without having to wait in line for the cash register. The deal is also a major achievement for Hi Auto, which was founded in 2019 by Zohar Zisapel and has raised $8 million to date. The company will now be able to scale its operations and widen its presence in the US market with one of the biggest fast-food companies as its client.

By Julija A. March 18,2022

Recent from Small Business

Recent from Finance

As people continue to feel the effects of the pandemic, many small business owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat. The US Congress is considering House Bill 3807 to help small businesses with a $42 billion relief package. Erika Polmar, the Independent Restaurant Coalition executive director, said this bill would be a "lifeline" for around 2,700 independent restaurants in Oregon that applied for relief last year but never received it. House Bill 3807 now has to pass the US Senate, and we’ve yet to see how much relief small businesses will actually receive. If this bill passes, it will provide much-needed relief to small businesses across the country. As Polmar said: "The future of our industry, the 216,000 jobs that restaurants and bars provide Oregonians, are in jeopardy if we don’t replenish this fund."  If voted in, House Bill 3807 would help the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and support many other businesses impacted by the pandemic. With this bill, small business owners could apply for grants to cover expenses such as payroll, rent, and utilities, letting them avoid getting unfavorable loans to keep their business running. This would be a massive relief for many small businesses that have been struggling to stay open during the pandemic. And although many of them are busy again, they are now facing serious problems with inflation. "All of those costs have skyrocketed. So, what you may have seen happening in 2019 as a really great banner night is now barely making ends meet," said Polmar. Dwayne Thomas, the president of the Live Events Coalition, commented on the bill, saying: "We’re just in debt up to the hilt trying to stay open and relevant as now we’re going back to work. We’re going back to work amid a worker shortage, amid all kinds of supply chain issues, and we’re going back to work quite quickly." He also said that the $13 billion would be allocated to different businesses and divided into three rounds. The first round of relief will go to those who lost 80% or more of their income within the past two years.

By Goran April 14,2022