Buy now, pay whenever? Lockdown lift for online shopping loans

Paul J. Carlson

By Nikhil Nainan

(Reuters) – Browsing online during lockdown, Jessica Friend spotted a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses she liked, but the price tag made the 30-year-old Ohio resident think online shopping twice.

What persuaded her to click ‘buy’, Friend said, was the short-term credit offered by Afterpay, which split the $260 payment into four interest-free instalments.

Afterpay is among a handful of alternative credit firms which offer small loans, mostly to online shoppers, and make their money by charging merchants a 4%-6% commission.

These buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firms have benefited from a shift to online shopping during the coronavirus crisis in countries including the United States, where state aid has also boosted retail sales.

“I’m more inclined to use them because they make it easier to afford to get the things I want all at once … and when I want to splurge on something,” Friend said of the loans.

Some

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Zara Is Closing Over 1,000 Stores to Invest in Online Shopping

Paul J. Carlson

Zara is the latest fashion brand to start closing retail stores across the globe due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept many shops closed since mid-March.

On June 12, the fast-fashion retailer’s parent company, Inditex, announced its plans to shut down between 1,000 and 1,200 brick-and-mortars over the next two years and divert resources into online sales strategies.

It’s not yet known exactly which Zara locations will be affected, but the closings will be “stores at the end of their useful life” and “whose sales can be recovered in nearby stores and online,” the company said their statement.

Under that plan, Inditex CEO Pablo Isla confirmed the company will “increase the online customer service teams and the dedicated packaging both from the specific online stockrooms and from the stores,” as well as offer customers “uninterrupted service no matter where they find themselves, on any device

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