Afternoon Coffee: Freelance Platform Fiverr Acquires ClearVoice; Sears Plans Smaller Stores, Less Apparel

Fiverr, the fast-growing online platform that connects businesses and freelancers who specialize in digital creative services, announced Wednesday that it had acquired the content marketing platform ClearVoice.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition represents a further step in Fiverr’s strategy to invest in complementary capabilities to provide added-value to businesses and freelancers. As Spend Matters has reported, Israel-based Fiverr has raised over $100 million in private equity since its inception in 2010. Also, early last year, Fiverr acquired AND CO, a services platform designed to ease the administrative “overhead burden” for freelancers.

According to today’s announcement, content marketing-related services are among the most in-demand on Fiverr.

Phoenix, Arizona-based ClearVoice, which has its own specialized talent network, is described in the announcement as an easy-to-use content marketing platform that streamlines the process of obtaining high quality written content. Through the use of advanced collaboration and workflow automation tools, the announcement continues, “ClearVoice enables the creation of quality content in a repeatable and scalable manner.” The platform is built for and used by large enterprises like Intuit, Orken and Allstate’s esurance.

Suggesting future acquisitions, Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman said: “We are uniquely positioned to consolidate best-in-class vertical players to offer our customers a better solution and an improved experience.”

He also noted that “having the ClearVoice team on board, with their strong expertise in building products for larger businesses, allows us to advance our efforts in this area and continue our strategic move upmarket toward higher-end digital services and customers.”

Sears' Restructuring Plan

Eddie Lampert’s winning bankruptcy bid for Sears is taking shape, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that his plan to save the ailing retailer includes opening smaller stores and reducing the focus on selling apparel.

“The hedge-fund manager, who steered Sears into bankruptcy and kept it alive with a $5.2 billion offer for its assets, says he will sell or sublease some of the 425 remaining stores,” the Journal reports. “He plans to devote more of the retail space to tools and appliances. He also wants to open more smaller stores, similar to one in Oak Brook, Ill., which at 62,000 square feet is about one-third its original size.”

In an interview, he told the Journal that he’ll remain chairman of the company but will hire a CEO.

The restructured company, which doesn’t yet have a new corporate name, will be composed of 223 Sears stores and 202 Kmart locations, as well as the Kenmore and DieHard brands, the Journal reports. Sears sold its Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker in 2017 but retains a license to sell products under the name, the story says.

Retailers Importing to Beat Tariffs

The retail import numbers for December are in, and they show a continuation of retailers trying to get more products in before tariffs increase or the U.S. trade disputes get worse.

Supply Chain Dive has an update and reports: “U.S. retail container imports were up 8.8% in December over November — down from the peak last fall but still higher than normal — as the tariff increase on goods from China looms, according to the latest Global Port Tracker report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.”

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