It’s Friday, the week is almost done, so let’s kick back and reflect on another eventful week for the retail systems space. Here’s your briefing on the most important stories from the past five days, including Fast, Shein, Farfetch, Neiman Marcus, Zomato and Swiggy.
1. ‘Trialblazing’ online checkout startup Fast shuts down
Fast, a startup that provided online checkout products, is no more.
This follows on from reports indicating that its 2021 revenue growth was less than impressive, its cash burn high and its fundraising options limited.
2. Farfetch backs Neiman Marcus as it eyes online growth
Online fashion retailer Farfetch is to invest up to $200 million in Neiman Marcus Group (NMG).
The announcement comes as the latter, which filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, looks to boost its online business.
Farfetch joins existing investors including PIMCO, Davidson Kempner Capital Management, and Sixth Street.
NMG will use the proceeds to accelerate growth and innovation through investments in technology and digital capabilities.
Farfetch will power the website and mobile application of Bergdorf Goodman, the New York-based luxury department store that Neiman Marcus acquired in 1972.
Both Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus will join Farfetch’s online marketplace, adding brands in key markets globally.
3. Shein notches up $100 billion valuation after fresh funding round
Fast fashion giant Shein hit a $100 billion valuation this week, making it the third most valuable startup in the world after Elon Musk’s SpaceX and ByteDance.
The Chinese firm secured between $1 billion and $2 billion from investors including General Atlantic, Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital China.
Its valuation now tops the combined value of Zara owner Inditex and H&M, the two biggest clothing companies in the world.
4. Zomato and Swiggy hit by Indian antitrust investigation
The Indian antitrust watchdog has ordered an investigation into rapid food delivery firms Zomato and Swiggy over whether they are operating as “neutral” following a complaint from the National Restaurant Association of India, a body that represents over 500,000 restaurants in the country.
The Competition Commission of India has acknowledged a series of allegations, including the practice of bundling delivery services with customers’ food orders, masking data from restaurant partners, operating cloud kitchens, “unfair and one sided contracts” with the outlets, delayed payment cycle and charging of exorbitant commission.
5. Primark enlists EPAM Systems for new website launch
Primark has unveiled a new website, featuring thousands of products from across its ranges, as well as a fresh design, enhanced navigation and a new feature that allows customers to check stock availability in their local store.
This is launching first in the UK, before rolling out to Primark’s 13 other markets in the coming months.
Alongside the retailer’s in-house team, EPAM Systems has been the primary design and technology partner for the project.
6. Levi Strauss boss Chip Bergh flags major trends shaping retail today
Companies must prioritise sustainability, embrace digital technology or die, fix supply chain weaknesses and face up to the challenges posed by rising cost pressures and inflation, according to Chip Bergh, President and CEO at Levi Strauss.
Speaking this week at World Retail Congress in Rome, Bergh also admitted that “deprioritising” diversity and inclusion in the early days of his 10 year reign was the biggest mistake and regret of his time with the company.
But he insisted it was now embedded in the company’s culture.