This Week In Retail: Funding, Finance And Tech

This week in retail, we’ve seen news coming in from multiple sides, including that of Apple’s projected increase in smartwatch sales, U.K. online lender Prodigy’s funding news for expansion into the U,S.,  Walmart’s two new partnership announcements, and the news that the CFPB is ordering American Express to pay out money to those hurt by unfair practices.

In the smartwatch arena, several companies, including Samsung and Huawei have seen a decline in wearable shipments. On the other hand, Apple has seen a significant uptick and it looks as though it’s not slowing down any time soon.

Moving into lending news, U.K.-based online lender Prodigy shared its funding news. With these new funds, it will help accelerate its expansion into the U.S. Walmart is getting in on the lending game in its own way with the unveiling of an installment loan offering that will allow people to put higher-priced items on a payment schedule.

The discount retailer has also announced two partnerships this week, one with Google and one with IBM. Walmart’s partnership with Google is via the search company’s voice-activated Google Home assistant, where many of its products will now be available for consumers to purchase. Through its IBM connection, Walmart will now have the capability to better track fresh produce to help reduce the amount of wasted food and sick consumers.

American Express is in the hot seat this week as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered the credit card company to pay out a very large amount to consumers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s being confirmed that over a 10-year period, American Express  provided inferior card offerings to people in those territories than what was being offered in the U.S.

Here are the numbers:

$240 million | Amount Prodigy Finance raised in its venture capital equity funding round

$96 million | Amount CFPB ordered American Express to pay out to affected Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands consumers

20 million | Expected total number of Apple smartwatches to be sold in 2018

400,000 | Number of people who die from contaminated food annually, according to IBM

$200 | Starting point for potential Walmart installment loans



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