MOBILE AS E-TAIL’S NEXT BATTLEGROUND: The competition is fierce to control the mall in consumers’ pockets and the victor — should one player gain a commanding share of the mobile market — will be in prime position to shape the next phase of commerce.

Alibaba Group pulled back the curtain a little more, revealing a company that is gaining active-buyer momentum as it barrels toward a potentially blockbuster initial public offering on Wall Street this year.

SHOPPING ONLINE IN THE MIDDLE EAST: According to a report by luxury retailer and distributor Chalhoub Group, affluent shoppers in the Gulf states — comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — spend on average $2,400 a month on beauty, fashion and gifts.

Mary Kay, along with many of its peers, is embracing digital technology — the very thing that many once predicted would lead to the demise of direct selling.

@WALMARTLABS BUYS STYLR APP: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made its 13th acquisition through @WalmartLabs, its research and development and innovation center in California’s Silicon Valley, purchasing Stylr, a fashion app that allows users to search for apparel in nearby stores.

Data analytics firm Poshly has acquired social network and e-commerce site While the plan is to operate each as a separate platform, there will likely be one login system for both sites later this year.

PUBLICIS TEAMS WITH GOOGLE, CONDÉ NAST: Publicis Worldwide is teaming up with Google and Condé Nast to launch La Maison (or “the house” in English). The new service aims to provide consumer insights, content and technology for luxury brands “as competition shifts to new markets and digital channels.”

The upscale gym has updated its digital platform to include mobile and tablet applications, as well as a redesigned Web site that allows users to book spin bikes, check in to the club and search for classes.

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