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Most EU businesses ignore cross border e-commerce opportunities



Most EU businesses ignore cross border e-commerce opportunities

PPRO Group reveals only 7% of enterprises are successfully selling to other EU markets online

Figures have shown that the Netherlands (23%), Hungary (21%), and the Czech Republic (21%) are some of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in terms of percentage growth.  The findings also showed that mature markets such as Portugal, France and Germany have also seen high growth in e-commerce payments at 16%, while the UK e-commerce market grew by 15%.

But only 7% of EU businesses sell cross-border within the union, according to Eurostat, despite the benefits offered by the single market, and despite the fact that 33% of EU online shoppers have bought something from an online merchant from another European country. These findings suggest that although there has been growth, a large amount of e-commerce opportunities are still being missed.

The payment specialists PPRO Group, is urging merchants that are not currently selling cross-border to stop missing opportunities to surpass competition and gain the attention of a wider market space. With a population of over 500 million, Europe is one of the world’s largest economies and a highly lucrative e-commerce market.

The growing acceptance and uptake of SEPA bank transfers and direct debits, along with the increasing sophistication of cross-border payments infrastructure, has made it easier than ever for merchants to expand into other countries within the European Single Market. Along with the advent of open banking, this is expected to promote the growth of single payments and the e-commerce market for the European Union.

Europe Day on 9 May presents an opportunity to celebrate the European Union for its achievements and its spirit of co-operation, despite the element of uncertainty that resides in the UK around Brexit. The UK will need to renegotiate 759 international treaties with 168 countries when it leaves the EU, casting a shadow of uncertain trading relationships between the EU and British businesses. The latest findings from PPRO Group however, demonstrate a clear opportunity for British retailers to explore selling to different European markets, once the UK finally leaves the EU.

With the culture of payments different in each European country, retailers must also consider adjusting their payment strategies for each individual market. If consumers cannot pay the way they want to, they will abandon the transaction and will choose to shop with a competitor, even if the retailer has a strong presence online or offers a high-quality product/service.

Simon Black, CEO of PPRO Group, said: “It’s been an exciting year for European e-commerce. In many markets, growth rates are in double figures. A year of solid growth and returned optimism has lifted consumer sentiment out of the doldrums and given people confidence to spend again.

“New payment methods and the increasing adoption of SEPA payment transfers have made it easier than ever for consumers to shop both domestically and cross-border. The adoption of PSD2 and the move towards open banking promises greater innovation and choice in payments, and will encourage greater cross-border ecommerce.”

The fastest growing e-commerce markets in terms of percentage growth, year-on-year according to the PPRO study are:

  1. Netherlands (23% growth)
  2. Czech Republic/Hungary (21%)
  3. Portugal/France/Germany (16%)
  4. UK (15%)
  5. Austria (14%)
  6. Denmark (13%)
  7. Sweden/Romania/ Lithuania (12%)
  8. Spain (11%)
  9. Greece (10.5%)
  10. Finland (9.6%)



Cycling boom pushes Halfords annual profit towards 100 million pounds



Cycling boom pushes Halfords annual profit towards 100 million pounds 1

(Reuters) – Halfords forecast an over 60% jump in its annual profit and said it would repay the near 11 million pounds it received in government furlough support as the bicycle retailer benefits from a cycling boom during lockdowns.

Shares in the company jumped another 16% to 335 pence by 0830 GMT on Monday, having surged more than six-fold from pandemic lows hit in March.

The company, which also does motoring services and sells car parts, said its overall business has been performing stronger than anticipated despite volatile trading in the first seven weeks of the fourth quarter.

Halfords estimated annual underlying pretax profit of between 90 million pounds and 100 million pounds ($125.78 million and $139.75 million) for the year ending in March, compared with 55.9 million pounds a year earlier.

Peel Hunt analysts raised their annual profit estimate to 95 million pounds from 76 million pounds after the unscheduled trading update and suggested that Halfords was likely reinstate its dividend sometime this year.

Halfords, which availed 10.7 million in furlough support from the government, had said in July it could make a loss of 10 million pounds for fiscal 2021 under a worst-case scenario.

But in the first seven weeks of the fourth quarter, Halfords’ like-for-like sales for cycling rose 43%, offsetting a 14% fall in its high-margin motoring businesses.

Cycling also drove a more than doubling of interim profits in November as Britons took up the hobby to avoid public transport, as well as for its appeal as a healthier alternative.

($1 = 0.7156 pounds)

(Reporting by Chris Peters and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Aditya Soni)

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Eurofins launches prescription-free COVID-19 test, eyes further growth



Eurofins launches prescription-free COVID-19 test, eyes further growth 2

(Reuters) – Eurofins Scientific announced on Monday the launch of a prescription-free at-home COVID-19 PCR test, as the French laboratories and diagnostics company eyed further growth.

The group, which has launched an array of COVID-19 testing products it sells to governments, airlines and transport hubs, said the nasal swab test could be ordered online for $99 or bought at pharmacies across the United States.

It specified that although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had authorised the at-home test under an emergency use authorisation, it had not cleared or approved the product.

“We are also working very closely with European authorities for the approval of similar direct-to-consumer products,” said the group’s chief executive Gilles Martin in a statement.

The group also reported 2020 results ahead of its own targets as it lowered its 2022 guidance and set out new goals for 2023.

Eurofins estimated that its COVID-19 testing and reagents brought in over 800 million euros of the 5.44 billion euros ($6.57 billion) in revenue for 2020.

However, Eurofins said its other businesses had been hit by lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions, particularly impacting its sales to clients in the travel industry, events, restaurants and clinical trials.

The group confirmed its forecasts for this year, but said results could be materially higher should COVID-19 testing continue at the current levels.

A level of coronavirus testing and market disruptions could well continue into 2022, it added, if vaccination programmes do not build sufficient immunity in many countries by summer, or if the more infectious variants reduce their effectiveness.

Excluding further COVID-19 revenues and assuming markets return to normal by the start of next year, it lowered its 2022 revenue target to 5.45 billion euros from 5.7 billion, and its core earnings forecast to 1.30 billion from 1.35 billion.

For 2023, it forecast sales (excluding COVID-19 products) of 5.73 billion euros and core earnings of 1.38 billion.

($1 = 0.8275 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah Morland in Gdansk; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Louise Heavens)

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Ladbrokes owner Entain raises offer for rival Enlabs to $440 million



Ladbrokes owner Entain raises offer for rival Enlabs to $440 million 3

(Reuters) – Ladbrokes owner Entain on Monday raised its cash offer for rival Swedish sports betting firm Enlabs AB to value it at around 3.7 billion crowns ($440.16 million) and said it would not increase the price further.

The British company raised its cash offer to 53 crowns per share from an earlier 40 crowns per share, an 18.6% premium to Enlabs shares’ last close.

Shares of Entain were up 1.7% at 1,437.5 pence in early trading.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a flurry of deals in the bookmaking sector, with potential buyers seeking to capitalise on a surge in online betting from customers confined to their homes during lockdowns.

“In a highly competitive and regulated industry, where consolidation is a key theme, Entain is able to provide the scale and platform needed to further support Enlabs’ long-term growth,” Entain’s chief financial officer and deputy CEO, Rob Wood, said in a statement.

Baltic-focussed Enlabs, which operates brands such as Optibet and NinjaCasino, has recommended shareholders accept the increased offer.

Under the leadership of former CEO Shay Segev, Entain, formerly known as GVC Holdings, planned to expand in sports betting and gaming entertainment, while exiting unregulated markets by 2023.

($1 = 8.4060 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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