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Walmart Discounting Online Purchases Picked Up In Stores

Walmart will begin offering discounts on certain online-only items that customers purchase on Walmart.com and then pick up at any Walmart store. eCommerce president Marc Lore explained that last mile delivery costs represent the lion’s share of the costs to ship products to customers’ homes. Walmart will leverage its fleet of more than 6,700 trucks to deliver products directly from fulfillment centers to its 4,700 stores, which costs much less. Walmart will pass along the savings to customers.

Apple, Samsung, Google Dominating Mobile Payments

New data from Juniper Research estimates that the number of OEM-Pay contactless users, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, will exceed 100 million for the first time during the first half of 2017, before surpassing 150 million by the end of this year. Juniper’s report found that Apple Pay, and the alternative wallets that have followed in its wake, are set to establish themselves as the primary contactless mechanisms of choice in the U.S. Juniper added that it expects PayPal, already near ubiquitous in the online space, to rapidly deploy a portfolio of contactless payment and loyalty solutions that will allow it to compete effectively for market share.

GameStop Continues ThinkGeek Buildout

GameStop apparently hit pay dirt with its 2015 acquisition of Think- Geek, the go-to place for sci-fi-, anime- and comic-book-themed collectibles and clothing. Amid slowing sales within its core gaming business, and plans to close as many as 225 flagship stores worldwide this year, the company is going full-bore into what some might describe as nerddom. Sales within the collectibles division rose nearly 28 percent for the three months ended Jan. 28, to $212 million, driven by strong sales of Pokémon toys and apparel and the opening of 17 new showrooms.

Conn’s Cites Steady Progress In Credit Biz Turnaround

Conn’s said its year-long focus on creating a “strong credit platform” for its in-house lending business is beginning to show results. The eff ort, which toppled the chain’s previous management team, came amid growing losses due to rising delinquency rates, higher bad-debt provisions, and tighter requirements for consumer credit. In announcing the company’s fourth-quarter and full fiscal-year results today, chairman, president and CEO Norm Miller said the credit operation “continues to benefit from the structural changes we are making to increase yield, reduce losses and improve credit segment profitability.”

Bernie Appel, ‘Mr. RadioShack,’ Dies At 85

Legendary tech merchant Bernie Appel, who was instrumental in building RadioShack into an iconic national tech chain, died at the age of 85 from congestive heart failure. The son of Russian immigrants, Appel joined RadioShack as a buyer in 1959, when the company was still a Boston-based catalog business with three stores. Over the next 33 years, as he moved from buyer to chief merchant to president and chairman under visionary leader John Roach, Appel’s sourcing and merchandising prowess helped build the Tandy-backed chain into a neighborhood fixture, with some 7,000 tech shops across the country. He retired as chairman in 1993.

Mad Catz Files Bankruptcy

Mad Catz Interactive is going out of business. The gaming accessory manufacturer’s 8-K filing with the SEC stated it has “ceased operations and made voluntary assignments in bankruptcy.” Its San Diego-based U.S. subsidiary has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief and will liquidate its assets. In a statement, Karen McGinnis, president/CEO, said: “Regrettably and notwithstanding that for a significant amount of time the company has been actively pursuing its strategic alternatives, including various near-term financing alternatives such as bank financing and equity infusions, as well as potential sales of certain assets of the company or a sale of the company in its entirety, the company has been unable to find a satisfactory solution to its cash liquidity problems.”

Panasonic Opens New Commercial Sales Division For Media Entertainment

Panasonic Corporation of North America has opened a new sales division, Panasonic Media Entertainment Company, in Newark, N.J. The company will target the sports and entertainment industries, developing and selling solutions that incorporate high-performance projectors, large screen LED display systems, broadcast-related equipment, pro audio systems and energy-saving lighting equipment. It will also develop and provide original technology solutions for integrated resorts, convention centers, sports stadiums and more, working with its consulting and system integration partners. Based in Panasonic’s North America headquarters in Newark, the company will also maintain offices in Denver and Los Angeles, as well as in Orlando, Fla., and Coppell, Texas. Masaharu Nakayama will be president. The Media Entertainment Company will work closely with Panasonic’s Media Entertainment Business Division, one of the six industry-oriented business divisions of Panasonic Corp.’s new Connected Solutions Company.

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