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Inside Retail (Apr 17th, 2017)

Amazon is set to claim 34 percent to 50 percent of the e-commerce market shares by 2021, according to a report from Needham. "We believe Amazon's established dominance in the U.S. is sustainable with Prime [subscriber services], mobile penetration and third-party growth," Needham analyst Kerry Rice wrote in a note. Needham upgraded Amazon to a Buy from Hold and set a price target of $1,110. In contrast, Wal-Mart Stores are expected to hold about 5 percent in 2021. Sales of Amazon’s retail subscription services like Prime as well as e-book and audiobook subscriptions hit $6.4 billion last year. – RETAIL DIVE

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Retail sales fell 0.2 percent in March in a second consecutive monthly decline, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. That was greater than the 0.1 percent decrease the Street expected and significantly off the 5 percent increase in March 2016. The sector was weighed by sales declines in automobiles, building projects materials, service stations and sporting goods. Clothing and electronics noted sales increases. Analysts expect the overall retail sector decline to have little impact on the Fed’s momentum in raising interest rates given the positive jobs environment and other healthy economic indicators. – REUTERS

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Even wealthy shoppers want a good bargain, Neiman Marcus is finding. The department store, along with other luxury retailers, are seeing their foot-traffic decline amid price wars that extend online. Neiman Marcus had been steadily raising prices for years but is seeing customer flow dwindle. “Even a very rich person can say, ‘Enough is enough,’ when it comes to price,” said Matthew Singer, former Neiman’s men’s fashion director. Sales of luxury goods declined 1 percent in 2016, according to Bain & Co. Other stores feeling similar pressure are Tiffany & Co. and Ralph Lauren, which recently closed its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. – WSJ  

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Birchbox, now profitable, is gaining substantial user growth and is headed toward its best quarter ever. The New York-based online monthly subscription service provides samples of beauty products. Now, Birchbox boasts more than 1 million global subscribers and is launching a new subscription with more customization. The beauty retailer, which launched in 2010 and now offers 800 beauty brands, is also opening another brick-and-mortar location in Paris, adding to its New York headquarters. “As we move forward and continue to grow, we’re laser-focused on reaching the enormous population of consumers who have been underserved by the beauty industry,” CEO Katia Beauchamp said. – RETAIL DIVE

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RetailMeNot, an online coupon retailer, has been sold to Harland Clarke, a payment and marketing services firm, for a massive premium. Harland is paying $11.60 per share in cash, which was a 50 percent premium over the company’s stock price. Harland acquired direct mailing company Valassis Communications in 2013 and plans to use RetailMeNot to serve that business. “RetailMeNot provides a new global digital channel to distribute our clients’ offers that perfectly complements Valassis’ current digital, mobile, mail and other print networks,” CEO Victor Nicols said in a statement. – TECHCRUNCH

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire Bonobos, an online men’s retailer. The big box retailer has made several acquisitions in recent months toward improving its online sales strategy. Wal-Market recently acquired Jet.com, online women’s retailer ModCloth, online shoe company ShoeBuy and online outdoor supplies retailer Moosejaw. The companies have reportedly agreed on a price, but those details have not been released. Bonobos draws between $100 million and $150 million annually and was valued at $300 million in 2015. – RE/CODE

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