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MAJORITY OF RETAILERS HAVE YET TO IMPLEMENT OMNI-CHANNEL PAYMENTS STRATEGY, ACCORDING TO NEW SURVEY BY PCM AND ACI WORLDWIDE

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MAJORITY OF RETAILERS HAVE YET TO IMPLEMENT OMNI-CHANNEL PAYMENTS STRATEGY, ACCORDING TO NEW SURVEY BY PCM AND ACI WORLDWIDE

Study shows alternative payments, fraud prevention and payments security are critical to omni-channel strategy

Despite the retail industry’s ambition to move to an Omni-Channel strategy, only a minority of retailers have completed an omni-channel payments programme, according to a survey of nearly 100 retailers by PCM Research and ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions.*

The research, titled Omni-Channel Payments for Merchants: Myth or Reality?, reveals that retailers face multiple challenges when it comes to implementing omni-channel payments programmes—with incompatible systems, data integration and the inability to track customers noted as the top challenges. Fraud prevention and payment security capabilities also remain an issue for many retailers.

Key findings:

  • Only 21 percent of merchants surveyed have completed an omni-channel payments programme. This includes primarily large grocery and department store operators. Notable and concerning is that 46 percent have no plans for an omni-channel payments programme within the next 12 months.
  • When asked about the organisation’s ability to innovate, 50 percent responded that they are in the ‘early’ or ‘innovators’ stages. The other half categorised themselves as ‘technology followers.’ Asked why they are not moving faster into an omni-channel retailing environment, two reasons were prevalent: finding the business case and business sponsorship for the necessary funding to implement.
  • Alternative payments, mobile and tokenization lead the way in desired omni-channel payments and tools. 63 percent of retailers surveyed said they are interested in Alternative Payments and 53 percent in Mobile POS (mPOS) and Wallet.
  • Fraud prevention and security remain major issues for many retailers. Asked whether they have a common set of fraud prevention capabilities across all channels, the majority of respondents (53%) said no, 39 percent yes and 8 percent were unsure. 42 percent of respondents said they have no common set of payment security capabilities across all channels today, 9 percent were unsure and 49 percent of retailers indicated they had these capabilities.

“The path to omni-channel payments is complex and can seem daunting, and merchants are at a crossroads with the number of technology options. However, those that embrace these types of disruptive opportunities to serve today’s any time, anywhere consumers will come out ahead,” said Andrew Quartermaine, Head of Merchant Retail EMEA, ACI Worldwide. “A frictionless payment experience for the consumer in any channel should be the goal of retailers and merchants.”

The survey also shows that the preferred implementation strategy for omni-channel payments has moved from an in-house (on-premise) model to a hosted SaaS model. Increased payments complexity and PCI compliance are likely to be the biggest drivers for this move in delivery/consumption model.

“This survey and its findings shed light on the disparities in the retailer marketplace when it comes to omni-channel payments,” said Alex Rolfe, Managing Director, PCM Research. “Although a good number of merchants are firmly entrenched in their strategies, there is still work to be done for many others—not to mention opportunities for the payment technology vendors that support them.”

ACI will be hosting a webinar on May 10 at 11:00am EDT / 4:00pm BST on these omni-channel payment findings. Attendees will learn about key takeaways critical for merchants implementing, considering or embarking on an omni-channel payments strategy. To register and receive a copy of the report, please click here or visit http://www.aciworldwide.com/campaign/2016/myth-or-reality.

Business

Battling Covid collateral damage, Renault says 2021 will be volatile

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Battling Covid collateral damage, Renault says 2021 will be volatile 1

By Gilles Guillaume

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault said on Friday it is still fighting the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a shortage of semiconductor chips, that could make for another rough year for the French carmaker.

Renault reported an 8 billion euro ($9.7 billion) loss for 2020 which, combined with gloomy take on the market, sent its shares down more than 5% in late morning trading.

“We are in the midst of a battle to try to manage a difficult year in terms of supply chains, of components,” Chief Executive Luca de Meo told reporters. “This is all the collateral damage of the Covid pandemic… we will have a fairly volatile year.”

De Meo, who took over last July, is looking at ways to boost profitability and sales at Renault while pushing ahead with cost cuts. There were early signs of improving momentum as margins inched up in the second half of 2020.

The group gave no financial guidance for this year, although it said it might reach a target of achieving 2 billion euros in costs cuts by 2023 ahead of time, possibly by December.

Executives said they were confident the carmaker could be profitable in the second half of 2021, but that they lacked sufficient market visibility to provide a forecast.

Renault struck a cautious note, saying it was focused on its recovery but warned orders had faltered in early 2021 as pandemic restrictions continued in some countries.

The group is facing new challenges as the European Union tightens emissions regulations and after rivals PSA and Fiat Chrysler joined forces to create Stellantis, the world’s fourth-biggest automaker.

The auto industry endured a tough 2020 but a swift rebound in premium car sales in China helped companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler to weather the storm.

Auto companies globally have since been hit by a shortage of semiconductors that has forced production cuts worldwide.

“The beginning of the year has shown some signs of weakness,” De Meo told analysts, but added the chip shortage should be resolved by the second half of 2021. “We have taken the necessary measures to anticipate and overcome challenges.”

Renault estimated the chip shortage could reduce its production by about 100,000 vehicles this year.

SHARP HIT

The group was already loss-making in 2019, but took a sharp hit in 2020 during lockdowns to fight the pandemic, which also hurt its Japanese partner Nissan.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a 7.4 billion euro loss for 2020. The group posted negative free cash flow for 2020.

The 2018 arrest of Carlos Ghosn, who formerly lead the alliance between Renault and Nissan, plunged the automakers into turmoil.

In a further sign that the companies have been working to repair the alliance, De Meo told journalists that Renault and Nissan will announce new joint products together in the coming weeks or months.

Renault has begun to raise prices on some car models, and group operating profit, which was negative for 2020 as a whole, improved in the last six months of the year, reaching 866 million euros or 3.5% of revenue.

Analysts at Jefferies said the operating performance was better than expected. Sales were still falling in the second half, but less sharply.

Renault is slashing jobs and trimming its range of cars, allowing it to slice spending in areas like research and development as it focuses on redressing its finances. It is also pivoting more towards electric cars as part of its revamp.

It was already struggling more than some rivals with sliding sales before the pandemic, after years of a vast expansion drive it is now trying to rein in, focusing on profitable markets.

De Meo told journalists on Friday that the French carmaker will make three new higher-margin models at its Palencia plant in Spain, where manufacturing costs are lower, between 2022 and 2024.

($1 = 0.8269 euros)

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Sarah White in Paris, Nick Carey in London; Editing by Christopher Cushing, David Evans and Jan Harvey)

 

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Business

UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn

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UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry said it would delay publication of its review of business rates – a tax paid by companies based on the value of the property they occupy – until the autumn when the economic outlook should be clearer.

Many companies are demanding reductions in their business rates to help them compete with online retailers.

“Due to the ongoing and wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, the government said the review’s final report would be released later in the year when there is more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and the public finances,” the ministry said.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak has granted a temporary business rates exemption to companies in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, costing over 10 billion pounds ($14 billion). Sunak is due to announce his next round of support measures for the economy on March 3.

($1 = 0.7152 pounds)

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)

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Business

Discounter Pepco has all of Europe in its sights

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Discounter Pepco has all of Europe in its sights 3

By James Davey

LONDON (Reuters) – Pepco Group, which owns British discount retailer Poundland, has targeted 400 store openings across Europe in its 2020-21 financial year as it expands its PEPCO brand beyond central and eastern Europe, its boss said on Friday.

The group opened a net 327 new stores in its 2019-20 year, taking the total to 3,021 in 15 countries. The PEPCO brand entered western Europe for the first time with openings in Italy and it plans its first foray into Spain in April or May.

Chief Executive Andy Bond said its five stores in Italy have traded “super well” so far.

“That’s given us a lot of confidence that we can now start building PEPCO into western Europe and that expands our market opportunity from roughly 100 million people (in central and eastern Europe) to roughly 500 million people,” he told Reuters.

To further illustrate the brand’s potential he noted that the group has more than 1,000 PEPCO shops in Poland, which has a significantly smaller population and gross domestic product than Italy or Spain.

The company, which also owns the Dealz brand in Europe but does not trade online, has already opened more than 100 of the targeted 400 new stores this financial year.

Pepco Group is part of South African conglomerate Steinhoff, which is still battling the fallout of a 2017 accounting scandal.

Since 2019 Steinhoff and its creditors have been evaluating a range of strategic options for Pepco Group, including a potential public listing, private equity sale or trade sale.

That process was delayed by the pandemic, but Steinhoff said last month that it had resumed.

“The business will be up for sale at the right time. It’s a case of when, rather than if,” said Bond, a former boss of British supermarket chain Asda.

Pepco Group on Friday reported a 31% drop in full-year core earnings, citing temporary coronavirus-related store closures.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 229 million euros ($277 million) for the year to Sept. 30, against 331 million euros the previous year.

Sales rose 3% to 3.5 billion euros, reflecting new store openings.

($1 = 0.8279 euros)

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Goodman)

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