Retail stores and businesses are generally free to develop their own policies regarding acceptance or non-acceptance of certain forms of payment. For years, many small businesses have refused credit card payments entirely or credit card payments for transactions under a certain amount due to high transaction costs. Smaller retailers may also refuse certain brands of credit cards. However, a different trend has emerged in recent years as an increasing number of retailers are refusing to accept cash and instead accepting only credit/debit and smartphone payments.
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The rise of e-commerce and the struggle many brick-and-mortar retail stores face is nothing new. Customers are increasingly choosing to shop for clothes, furniture and even groceries from the convenience of their own homes. More recently, however, this shift in the way consumers shop has given rise to new types of retail stores – small showrooms and “pop-up shops.”
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Leveraged loans may have a role in recent retail bankruptcies. Leveraged loan volume is nearing pre-recession highs and is on track to surpass 2007 levels, concerning many regulators and investors. Leveraged loans are typically offered to companies that already have large amounts of debt, and therefore, leveraged loans carry higher interest rates due to an increased risk of borrower default. Companies often use leveraged loans to finance mergers, refinance debt or for general company purposes. Private equity firms also utilize leveraged loans in order to fund takeovers of companies, including struggling retailers. Loans issued to fund leveraged buyouts from private equity firms rose 74 percent in 2017 and totaled 88.5 billion dollars. Additionally, nearly a third of loans to companies backed by private equity firms are leveraged six times or more.
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Retailers are exploring how to use drones to quickly deliver online orders to customers. In June 2016, the FAA issued a final rule permitting flights by commercial drones under certain conditions. While the rule was a welcome step forward for the commercial drone industry, the operational restrictions prohibited drones to fly over any populated areas due to safety concerns, essentially forbidding commercial drones in most urban areas.
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Traditional shopping malls across the country are facing a decreasing amount of customers, declining profits, and, in certain cases, overall viability. With billions of dollars in outstanding CMBS debt that large mall owners may be unable to refinance, the CMBS industry is bracing for potentially significant losses.
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