Today in Retail: Victoria’s Secret Shift Not Catching on With Shoppers Yet; Belk and Conn’s Collaborate on Store-in-Store Home Furnishings Offering

Retail, Belk, Conn's, store-in-store

Today in retail, eobuwie takes the shoes out of traditional shoe stores across Poland, and payment declines are on the rise as inflation increases. Plus, eCommerce is changing real estate-related decisions, the era of plug-and-play eCommerce solutions might be over and Payoneer teams up with Optty on a new buy now, pay later (BNPL) offering.

The Data Point: An Inflationary Face Punch as Payment Declines Spike by 43% March to April

Whether it’s technically a recession by economists’ standards is immaterial to shoppers, many of whom switching up products and merchants to make up the difference where they can. According to PYMNTS research, 64% of all consumers lived paycheck to paycheck in March 2022, and the latest market soundings are no better.

According to “Digital Economy Payments May 2022 U.S. Edition: How Consumers Pay In The Digital World,” 12% of consumers experienced a payment decline in April, a rise from the 9.3% who experienced one in February. The most common reason for payment declines in April was insufficient funds, which stands at 26% of all transaction declines — an increase of 45% from March rates.

Victoria’s Secret Still Growing Into Its New Identity

Victoria’s Secret’s new approach may be struggling to gain traction with shoppers, at least based on the company’s fiscal 2022 first-quarter earnings report for the three months ending April 30. The company reported net sales of $1.48 billion for Q1, down 4.5% from the same time one year earlier.

Meanwhile, total comparable sales for the first quarter of 2022 fell 8% from the first quarter of 2021, with net sales essentially flat when removing the impact of the $75 million government stimulus package. CEO Martin Waters said the company’s “brand revolution” helped strengthen its “emotional connection” with customers as the firm focuses “on the efficiency of our retail operations.”

eCommerce Refashions Middle and Last Mile, and Real Estate, Too

Warehouses may be in for some headwinds. With Amazon retooling its eCommerce operations, there may be less demand for warehouses and distribution square footage — critical cogs in the middle and last miles of commerce.

Amazon, which owned about 374 million square feet of space at the end of last year, is subleasing some of its warehouse space. Amazon has been expanding its logistics footprint and has been branching out into everything from planes to warehouses to enlisting Flex drivers to pick up the orders from mall-centered retail outlets and deliver those orders to consumers’ homes.

Belk, Conn’s Team up on Store-in-Store Pilot

Furniture retailer Conn’s and department store company Belk have partnered to create a store-within-a-store format in 10 to 20 Belk locations and at, giving customers access to a suite of home appliances.

The new store format will debut with a soon-to-be-revealed brand, giving customers a new way to buy Conn’s home furnishings and gain access to the company’s fleet of next-day delivery drivers. The store-within-a-store concept will come to Belk stores in existing markets and Conn’s products will be added to Belk’s website in the next several months.

Payoneer Partners With Optty for BNPL Offering

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) integration platform Optty has formed a partnership with payments provider Payoneer, looking to offer B2B payment gateway and payment service provider (PSP) customers multiple BNPL options.

Based in Singapore, Optty works with payment gateways and PSPs to allow for the mass expansion of BNPL in 59 markets around the world, “driving significant acceleration of payments processing growth,” according to a press release. The company allows payment gateways to offer BNPL services the same way they would credit card or digital wallet capabilities, helping organizations reduce the time spent on point-to-point integration.

Poland’s High-Tech ‘Eobuwie’ Brand Takes the Shoes out of Traditional Shoe Stores

There are about 30 eobuwie (pronounced “ee-oh-Booie”) omnichannel shoe stores across Poland, but the upstart brand’s new high-tech format is turning heads far beyond its borders.

While traditional physical footwear stores are filled with hundreds of different shoes on display, eobuwie’s storefronts have only tablets and sofas to enable a comfortable, home-like shopping experience. The eobuwie store is essentially a relatively small digital browsing lounge attached to a much larger, fully stocked warehouse, allowing customers to either try on in-stock items or flag items in advance via the company’s “Reserve & Collect” service.

It May Be the End of the Road for Basic Plug-and-Play eCommerce Systems

While point solutions and digital Band-Aids kept millions of businesses afloat during the pandemic, plug-and-play (PnP) solutions that seemed like a good idea at the time are now starting to accumulate as debt as systems have evolved rapidly.

Jason Hofmann, senior vice president of customer success and partner enablement at Digital River, told PYMNTS that PnP solutions are “optimal for a small subset of the population out there looking to get a quick hit and that might be small in size.”

Those patches have a brief window to get the low-hanging fruit before seeing diminishing returns. Hoffman said that over the years, he’s seen plug and play work for only a small subset of customers — and even those have quickly run into limitations once they’ve gotten up and running.