R|T: The Retail Times – Shopify achieves $1 trillion GMV

Shopify building
Plus: Canada’s competition watchdog has Amazon in its crosshairs.

Welcome to R|T: The Retail Times, covering retail tech news from Canada and around the globe.

Shopify achieves $1 trillion gross merchandise value

Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke took to X this week to make a significant announcement: A small Washington, DC-based business tipped Shopify past $1 trillion in cumulative gross merchandise value.

Lütke added that 90 percent of the milestone came in the last five years.


Federal Court orders Amazon to turn over review, ratings docs to Competition Bureau

A new court order is requiring Amazon to hand internal records related to its review and ratings programs over to Canada’s competition watchdog.

The court order issued by Chief Justice Paul Crampton earlier this week forces Amazon to give the Competition Bureau records prepared for senior management that delve into how star ratings, Amazon’s Choice badges and bestseller labels are applied.

Bureau spokesperson Marianne Blondin, meanwhile, said in an email that the organization’s goal is to “determine if Amazon’s marketing practices raise concerns under the deceptive marketing provisions of the Competition Act.”

(The Canadian Press)

Descartes acquires UK-based logistics platform BoxTop for $18 million CAD

Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.-based Descartes Systems Group has acquired English shipment management platform provider BoxTop Technologies for £10.25 million ($18 million CAD).

Based out of Windsor, UK, BoxTop provides a platform for small-to-medium sized logistics service providers to manage their shipping operations, with quoting, routing, booking, and an analytics dashboard.

The deal follows a similar across-the-pond acquisition in April when Descartes acquired Irish company Aerospace Software Developments.


WeWork CEO David Tolley to step down as company exits bankruptcy

WeWork CEO David Tolley stepped down after the flexible workspace provider emerged from bankruptcy on Tuesday, bookending a months-long restructuring process that featured a strategy revamp and exits from several locations.

The company named commercial real estate industry veteran John Santora as its new top boss. He most recently served as Tri-State chairman at global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Once the most valuable U.S. startup, WeWork expanded at a breakneck pace but racked up steep losses due to expensive leases and a sharp pandemic-driven slump in demand, before filing for bankruptcy protection in November 2023.


The BetaKit Guide: Collision Week 2024

Last week, BetaKit learned Vancouver has an agreement with Collision parent company Web Summit to bring a rebranded version of the major North American technology conference to the West Coast in 2025.

For those ready to make the most of the last ever Collision conference in Toronto, kicking off on June 17, BetaKit will remain your go-to source for breaking news and conference insights.

In the meantime, we’ve created The BetaKit Guide: Collision Week 2024, presented by Interac.

The BetaKit Guide outlines the most anticipated speakers, recommendations for side parties and local hot spots, as well as tips for getting around, all provided by you, our readers.


Parliament sets the stage to enact capital gains tax changes

The House of Commons passed a motion Tuesday that will bring forth legislation on proposed changes to capital gains tax measures, with 208 MPs voting in favour of and 118 voting against the motion.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced the ways and means motion to Parliament on Monday, a 59-page document outlining draft legislation to increase the capital gains tax inclusion rate from 50 percent to 66 percent beginning June 25.


Body Shop, Red Lobster creditor protection cases show pitfalls in corporate dynamics

Companies like the Body Shop and Red Lobster are recent examples of how dynamics between foreign companies and their subsidiaries can spell trouble for businesses in Canada.

No matter how well the local arm of a global retailer or franchise restaurant performs, it might not matter if its parent company is struggling.

And when a subsidiary is forced to funnel its cash to the top echelons of the business, cover losses in other segments of the company or otherwise not have full control over its balance sheet, it can be dragged down along with the parent.

(The Canadian Press)

Michelle McBane knows how to play the long game

It’s fitting that Michelle McBane’s first foray into venture capital was a bet that paid off.

Her journey in the space began as a short term assignment, when she was seconded by her employer to Primaxis Technology Ventures, one of its early-stage investments.

“As far as the idea that you put $1 in here and you’re going to get $2 back out, these companies aren’t at that point at all, and I like that early-stage gray area,” she said.


Shein’s 40% Revenue Growth and Profit Boost in 2023 Could Help Lure IPO Investors

China-founded fast fashion giant Shein lifted its net profit margin even as it posted slightly faster revenue growth in 2023, two people with direct knowledge of its finances said. That performance should help Shein lure investors for a highly anticipated initial public offering—if it can convince regulators to sign off.

Shein recorded $32.2 billion in sales last year, up 40%, compared with 37% growth in 2022, despite rising competition from Chinese bargain seller Temu.

(The Information)

A match made by AI

The pitch to the recruiter was compelling.

No, the candidate didn’t have five years of experience, which had been listed as a prerequisite for the position. They did, however, boast comparable skills and relative experience within their four years of work history.

And they were actively looking for a role, unlike many of the others who would appear to be qualified candidates.

In short, this was not someone who should be overlooked. At least, according to AI.


Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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