Retail News for Feb 20, 2018 – Albertsons, JC Penney, Facebook

By | February 20, 2018

Albertsons is buying most of Rite Aid. Walgreens had previously tried to acquire the drugstore but the government blocked a full sale; the Rite Aid rival is now in the process of buying almost 2,000 stores instead. Albertsons will acquire the remainder, creating a company with a combined value of around $24 billion and annual revenue of roughly $83 billion. The merger will help both brands fight increasing pressure from online retailers such as Amazon — which is making pushes into both groceries and health care. • Share your thoughts: #RiteAidAlbertsons

Retail giant JC Penney will eliminate about 480 jobs, with plans to close at least eight stores in the US this year. After shutting down 140 stores in 2017, the department store chain operates in about 875 locations. Just last week, the retailer announced that it was closing a Wisconsin fulfillment center with 600 employees. JC Penney is pivoting to its beauty and hair care service businesses, announcing that it will hire 6,500 hair stylists in salons across the country. • Share your thoughts: #JCPenneyStores

Congress mulls crypto rules: Lawmakers are pushing for cryptocurrencies to be regulated like securities, with the digital assets subject to SEC rules to protect investors, Reuters reports. As the global craze for bitcoin and other digital currencies continues to grow, Congress is considering ways to tamp down speculative trading and investing. Yesterday bitcoin traded above $11,000 for the first time since January; the currency had bottomed below $6,000 earlier this month over regulation fears, rumors of price manipulation, and a hack on cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. • Share your thoughts: #CryptoControl  

Facebook will send postcards to ad buyers in order to verify their US addresses. This follows accusations that the social media site failed to stop Russia-linked trolls from buying politically-charged ads during the last presidential election. Facebook has said previously that it found approximately 3,000 Russia-linked ads around the November 2016 election that may have reached as many as 150 million users. Just last week, the Justice Department charged 13 Russians with interfering in the election, including by stealing American identities to buy ads on social media.  • Share your thoughts: #FacebookPostcards

Uber is getting in shape for an IPOreports CNBC. The ride-hailing app is preparing to sell its Southeast Asia business to Singaporean carpool company Grab. The sale is in exchange for a sizable stake in the company, which reported a 95% market share in the region last year in when it sought to raise $2.5 billion from SoftBank and other investors. Uber is looking to rein in costs and boosts profits, laying the groundwork for an IPO as soon as 2019. • Share your thoughts: #UberGrabSale