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Today In Retail: Apple And Affirm Make More BNPL Waves; CVS Looks To Combat Labor Shortage

In today’s top retail news, Apple and Affirm continue this week’s slew of buy now, pay later (BNPL) announcements, while CVS Health is joining the increasing number of retailers that are offering higher pay and better benefits to attract sidelined workers. Also, an increase in athletic apparel competition is putting pressure on Lululemon, and home furnishings marketplace Chairish is going international.

Apple and Affirm Pair Up as the Buy Now, Pay Later Race Goes Global

Just days after Square announced plans to acquire Australian BNPL giant Afterpay, Apple and Affirm broke the latest bit of segment-shaking news, announcing their pair-up to bring BNPL to the Canadian market. The new partnership will see Apple collaborate with Affirm’s PayBright to allow Canadian consumers to purchase iPhone, Mac and iPad products over 12 to 24 months. While Apple has made other BNPL moves this summer, this week’s news is the latest advance in a BNPL race that has gone decidedly global over the last seven months.

CVS Lifts Employees’ Hourly Pay to Combat Labor Shortage

As retailers across the U.S. continue their struggle to find enough employees, CVS Health is raising its hourly minimum wage and removing education requirements for the recruitment of employees, a move that executives hope allows the company to bolster its ranks and continue growth. The Rhode Island-based retailer and health benefits provider also recently eliminated the high school diploma or GED requirement for most of its entry-level roles, and this year it intends to eliminate its GPA requirement for university recruitment.

Increased Athletic Apparel Competition Has Lululemon Sweating

Even as the pandemic wanes, consumers aren’t giving up their comfortable clothes, leading many brands to double down on athletic apparel offerings and putting the heat on longtime women’s athleisure queen Lululemon. In the past several weeks, for example, Gap Inc.’s Athleta launched a new wellness platform, and Victoria’s Secret started a new collection of athleticwear. And earlier this week, footwear company Wolverine Worldwide acquired U.K.-based brand Sweaty Betty, with U.S. expansion plans in the not-so-distant future.

Chairish CEO Says European Acquisition Provides ‘Next Big Step’ for International Expansion

Following a year that has seen the accelerated expansion of digital home furnishings sales, Chairish CEO Gregg Brockway said he’s proud of how much the company has grown during a difficult time. But while Brockway is happy with the progress made in the U.S., he told PYMNTS that online home furnishing sales “is a global opportunity.” To that end, Chairish is acquiring Pamono, a European online marketplace for vintage and antique furniture and art, the first big step in an international expansion strategy.

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