Retail news dominates the headlines this morning, starting with the announcement that Sephora is rolling out contactless payment via iPhone across all of its US stores. That mean’s Sephora Beauty Advisors will be able to conduct transactions anywhere in the store, as long as the customer has their iPhone or smartwatch handy. Bath & Body Works warns of a steeper decline of annual sales for the remainder of the year after its forecasts came in under expectations. These results are similar to those of Estée Lauder and Macy’s, both of which have warned of weak consumer spending for the remainder of 2023. With that prediction in mind, Salesforce reports that retailers will be relying heavily on AI this holiday season — as well as a number of other strategies — in an effort to drive sales, according to Forbes. You can read these stories and more in the links below. 

Sephora Rolls Out Contactless Payments at US Stores. The beauty retailer partnered with JP Morgan to become its first client to enable Tap to Pay on iPhone across all its US stores. (Retail Info Systems

Bath & Body Works Sees Steeper Sales Drop on Slowing Demand. With current-quarter sales and profits forecasted below Wall Street expectations due to a rise in the cost of living in the US, shares of the retailer dropped on Wednesday. (Business of Fashion

C.O. Bigelow’s Ian Ginsberg Shares What’s Selling Best at NYC’s Iconic Apothecary. The owner and president of the Greenwich Village apothecary shares the secrets behind the store’s longevity, as well as its best-sellers both in-store and online (and yes, that includes the classic Rose Salve). (CEW

Referral Traffic From X Continues to Decline Sharply for Publishers. From The New York Times to Buzzfeed, publishers have noticed a drop in referral traffic from X, some only recently and some noting a drop from the beginning of 2023. (Digiday

The Disjointed State of Indie Beauty in 2023. Post-pandemic, disjointedness in the beauty market has caused a number of indie brands to flourish, but many to struggle and even close. With such a vast difference between the consumer economy and the investor economy, and the balance of power shifting to retailers, this in-depth report  highlights how indie beauty brands are being forced to reset. (Beauty Independent)

Salesforce Predicts AI Will Drive $194 Billion in Online Holiday Sales. Due to online sales slowing down, Salesforce reported that retailers are increasingly turning to AI — in the form of AI-drive product recommendations — to reduce costs and drive sales. The company also predicts holiday discounts will start earlier. (Forbes