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Retail News and Trends: 19th March 2019

Sujay Seetharaman
Sujay Seetharaman
Mar 20, 2019
Min Read

1. Instagram launches checkout, Shopify stock reacts.

Instagram has launched an in-app checkout feature that will let shoppers checkout without having to leave the app. The “Checkout with Instagram” launched in the US today, in a closed beta with 20 brands involved, including Adidas, Nike, Zara, Kylie Cosmetics, Uniqlo, Burberry, H&M, Mac, Prada and Michael Kors. (The full list of brands can be found here) More brands are expected to join in the coming months. Instagram will charge sellers a selling fee, while prices for customers will reportedly remain unchanged. When users tap the products to reveal tags, they’ll see a “Checkout with Instagram” button instead of “View on Website”. Payment options include PayPal and credit cards. With this announcement, Shopify’s stock (SHOP) fell 1.8%, the most it has in two weeks. PayPal stock gained 1.3% and Facebook 0.7%. Shopify has positioned itself as the popular choice for Direct-to-Consumer brands to open their stores. Some of the brands involved in the closed beta – like Kylie Cosmetics and Outdoor Voices – already sell on Shopify. It remains to be seen if the expansion of Instagram checkout will drive the up-and-coming Instagram-first DTC brands to sell directly from the app without opting for a Shopify storefront.

2. Glossier valuation crosses $1 billion

Glossier has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Sequoia Capital, and is now valued at $1.2 billion, according a WSJ report. In 2018, Glossier generated more than $100 million in revenue, largely by selling unisex skincare, makeup and fragrance merchandise. Emily Weiss, CEO and Founder of Glossier, didn’t confirm or deny whether the company will shoot for an IPO. “We are certainly in a position where we are able to do that,” Weiss was quoted as saying to the Journal.

3. Dollar General to open 975 stores by the end of 2019

Dollar General closed out Q4 2018 with same-store sales up by 4% and net sales up by 8.5% to $6.65 billion, beating analyst estimates of $6.61 billion. The retailer expressed that its most aggressive growth phase is slated for 2019, with 975 new stores (against 900 in 2018), 1000 store remodels and 100 store relocations in the offing. The retailer also reportedly plans to spend approximately $50 million this year to improve its distribution of fresh and frozen food, shopping convenience and labor productivity, most notably with the introduction of the DG Fresh and Fast Track initiatives.

4. New Jersey bans cashless stores

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation that requires retailers and restaurants to accept cash, effectively banning merchants in the state from joining a cashless trend emerging in markets across the US. This legislation comes just weeks after a similar one was signed into a law in Philadelphia. "Many people don't have access to consumer credit and any effort by retail establishments to ban the use of cash is discriminatory towards those people," he said in a press release announcing the signing. Proponents of cashless stores argue that the concept speeds up consumer convenience, prevents theft and the new law would stifle innovation.

5. Resale market to reach $51 billion by 2023

According to the latest annual resale report by online resale marketplace thredUP, the secondhand retail market is poised to grow from $24 billion today, to $51 billion by 2023. The report found that of secondhand shoppers, millennials and baby boomers make up most of the shopping spend – at 33% and 31% respectively – with Gen-Z coming in at 16%. The report said that 9 in 10 retail executives want to get into resale by 2020, pointing an increasing shift towards a circular economy. thredUP, Rent the Runway, and even IKEA (which recently announced its decision to start leasing furniture) are players that are already in the fold.

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