Today in Retail: Zilch Blasted for Promoting BNPL Pizza and Treats; Omnichannel Boosts Physical Retail’s Recovery


Today in retail, Visa sees the cloud as the cornerstone of retail’s digital transformation while Beautycounter is getting a new CEO and its founder is taking on a new role with the company. Plus, luxury brands are weathering the storm of a rocky economic recovery.

Saks Launches Digital Shopping, Styling Service

Luxury brand Saks on Thursday (Jan. 20) unveiled a service called Saks Stylist, a personal stylist and shopping tool available on its website and mobile app. The new service, created in partnership with software firm Wishi, is free for all Saks Fifth Avenue customers.

Saks customers can use the service to find new wardrobe stables, create a complete “look” for special occasions, refresh their styles, update a look with new shoes or accessories or build outfits.

London-Based Zilch Blasted for Promoting BNPL to Buy Pizza

Consumer finance company Zilch is getting flak for trying to encourage U.K. consumers to use buy now, pay later (BNPL) plans to buy cheap supermarket pizzas and other treats that fall outside the typical definition of BNPL purchases, the Financial Times (FT) reported Thursday (Jan. 20).

Zilch virtual cards are accepted at thousands of U.K. retailers, including grocery stores, and allow users to pay for one-fourth of their purchase upfront and spread the rest of the payments across six weeks, according to the report. Critics say using BNPL for anything but larger purchases will increase personal debt for account holders, the report stated, but Zilch defended the ads and the message behind them.

Hims & Hers, Walmart Bring Hair Care Products to 1,400+ Stores

Telehealth platform Hims & Hers is debuting its line of hair care solutions at more than 1,400 Walmart retail locations nationwide and on this weekend, according to a Thursday (Jan. 20) press release.

The Hims & Hers product launch is centered on a full suite of products related to hair loss, a condition that one in three women experience in their lives and two-thirds of American men will face by age 35, according to the release. It will also help Hims & Hers move closer to mass market accessibility with its placement in Walmart stores and on the retailer’s website.

D2C Cosmetics Startup Beautycounter Grabs Former Shiseido CEO to Scale Biz

Marc Rey will be the new CEO of Counter Brands, parent company of direct-to-consumer (D2C) clean beauty brand Beautycounter, effective Feb. 1, with Founder Gregg Renfrew becoming the company’s executive chair and chief brand officer, according to a Wednesday (Jan. 19) press release.

Rey will focus on “operationalizing Beautycounter’s mission to lead and define the future of the global beauty industry, further accelerating its strategic initiatives by increasing brand awareness as well as bolstering the company’s innovative, integrated, omnichannel business model,” the release stated.

He was previously the CEO and global chief growth officer of Shiseido Americas, where he oversaw global brands, including NARS, bareMinerals, Laura Mercier and more, according to the release. He was particularly focused on digital and technological development during his time at Shiseido.

Luxury Retailers Defy Slump, as Full-Price Sales Reflect Pent-Up Demand

It’s Men’s Fashion Week in Paris, but for the rest of the retail world might consider it to be the heart of luxury retail season.

Burberry’s “higher quality business” saw its full-price sales rise 26% from 2019 levels in the most recent quarterly earnings report, while its total same-store sales slid 3% as a result its planned exit from markdowns at its stores and website. Meanwhile, French giant Richemont and Italy’s Prada Group saw their sales jump 38% and 41%, respectively.

Visa Sees the Cloud as Cornerstone of Retail’s Digital Transformation

Mary Kay Bowman, senior vice president and global head of payment and platform products at Visa, told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster that the cloud can empower face-to-face commerce at any time, anywhere, in any setting.

The consumer simply wants to know that the transaction is happening and that it is secure — and they don’t want to have to stand in line at a physical terminal, she said.

Standing in line has become an increasingly frustrating point of friction for shoppers, Bowman told Webster, and companies are examining where access to payments is absent. Consumers want their apps to connect to the physical location where they shop, she said.