Today in Retail: Klarna Expands Across Canada With Global-e Partnership; Alphabet Looks to Google Pay and Digital Shorts to Generate Revenue

Retail, Klarna, BNPL, shopping

Today in retail, Mattel considering whether to sell after making a full corporate turnaround while Optty rakes in $9 million to roll out a new buy now, pay later (BNPL) provider platform.

Plus, high fashion takes on more experimentation through its digital transformation, Walmart doubles its gas discount offer and Ted Baker is combing through multiple buyout proposals as it considers whether to sell.

Optty Gets $9M to Launch BNPL Provider Platform

Singapore-based FinTech Optty announced Wednesday (April 27) it has raised $9 million in “stealth” to develop an integration platform to let retailers offer customers multiple BNPL options.

The new platform will “revolutionize the fast-growing [BNPL] sector with transparency, simplicity, and speed. Optty customers are using the platform to increase conversions and give shoppers more choice,” the company said in its announcement. The platform is available in 59 countries using 36 currencies.

Optty said its platform is already handling 185 integrations with 41 BNPL providers including Afterpay, Affirm, Grab, Klarna, Scalapay and Zip. The company said it expects that the platform will be capable of integrating “more than 100” BNPL brands and digital wallets by 2023.

Klarna Teams With Global-e for Canadian Expansion

Klarna, a digital retail bank and BNPL firm, is extending its global partnership with cross-border eCommerce provider Global-e to expand its installment payment services to Canada.

Merchants selling in Canada using Global-e’s platform can now use Klarna’s installment payment options. Global-e works with several brands, including Reformation, SKIMS, Fenty Beauty, Rimowa, Versace, Marc Jacobs and Marks & Spencer.

Klarna offers a full menu of alternative payment options, including its BNPL interest-free Pay in 4 product. Additionally, merchants using Global-e’s global network can now offer Klarna across 15 key markets: Canada, the United States, France, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Belgium and Austria.

High Fashion’s Digital Transformation Taking More Measured, Experimental Approach

As upscale retail reinvents itself for new digital shopping habits, Lanvin Group — owner of Lanvin apparel, Sergio Rossi footwear, Wolford bodywear, St. John Knits and Caruso men’s fashion — has established a store on the Shopify platform, seeking digital revenue streams from new markets.

Along similar lines is the April partnership announcement between FARFETCH and the Neiman Marcus Group (NMG), parent of Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

Per that announcement, “NMG will utilize FARFETCH Platform Solutions (FPS) to re-platform the Bergdorf Goodman website and mobile application. As a result, Bergdorf Goodman will introduce its digital customer experience and curated offering to customers globally, integrating seamlessly with the iconic New York City flagship.”

As Ad Biz Slows, Alphabet Looks to Google Pay and Shorts for Additional Revenue Tailwinds

Google parent Alphabet’s shares fell roughly 3%, making this the latest Big Tech firm to be punished for falling short of expectations. Even the search giant cannot escape slowing growth that has come with booming inflation and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Alphabet — and more specifically, Google — has it sights set fully on digital payments and commerce, which, by extension, means making Google Pay ubiquitous. In response to an analyst question on how payments can become the next billion-user offering, CEO Sundar Pichai said that “obviously, we’ve been focused on making sure payments works well … our payment strategy is very similar to the strategy we have for commerce overall. We want to make all of this work easier, both on the merchant and the financial institution side, and making sure they can connect with the customers well.”

About 150 million people across 40 countries are using Google Pay, he said. That installed base will set the stage for the company to innovate and build new digital experiences over time, he added.

Ted Baker Gets Multiple Buyout Proposals

According to a Reuters report, several potential suitors are looking to buy British fashion retailer Ted Baker, which has almost 400 locations across Europe, North America and the United Kingdom.

Ted Baker reportedly launched a formal sale process after private equity firm Sycamore Partners upped its proposal and another company showed interest in bidding for the company. Sky News reported this week that Reebok owner and brand licensing conglomerate Authentic Brands Group is also exploring a bid for Ted Baker, although it’s still uncertain that any of the potential suitors will make an offer to secure Ted Baker.

Mattel Considering Sale After Corporate Turnaround

Toymaker Mattel has reportedly been discussing a potential sale with private equity firms, including Apollo Global Management and L Catterton, though The Wall Street Journal called the talks “informal.”

The report noted that the discussions are “at an early stage and may not result in a deal.” Mattel has a market capitalization of about $8 billion, and in February, CEO Ynon Kreiz said the company had completed its turnaround and was “now in growth mode.” Mattel reported a sales jump of 19% in 2021 and said profits rose, according to the report.

While Kreiz has overseen a stabilization in sales at Mattel, he has cut one-third of its jobs and closed several of its factories. He’s also helped to improve the relationships with retailers and Hollywood studios, as Mattel said it had won the license to produce toys based on Walt Disney Co.’s princess lineup and its “Frozen” franchise, which was previously produced by Hasbro.

Walmart Lures Subscription Members by Offering Deeper Gas Discounts

In an effort to get more membership service subscribers, Walmart is offering a 10-cent discount per gallon of gas, double what the plan previously offered, and including more fuel stations.

Walmart+ members can now get 10 cents off per gallon of gas at more than 14,000 fuel stations across the country, including Exxon Mobil. Additionally, members receive discounts between 5 and 10 cents per gallon at Walmart and Murphy USA gas station locations.

Walmart launched its membership plan 18 months ago, and with inflation at a 40-year high and gas prices up 43% over last year, 10 cents off per gallon could have a lot of mileage in the family budget.