Everything you need to know about the coronavirus’ impact on retail

From luxury brands to sportswear, retailers across the industry are feeling the non-health effects of coronavirus.

Top Stories Feb 19

Walmart’s earnings show the limits of relying on grocery for growth

During its fourth quarter earnings report on Tuesday, Walmart once again reported strong growth in its online grocery business, which has become the crux of its e-commerce strategy in recent years. But the company was also hurt by weak sales in toys, apparel and gaming.

Jetblack's demise ushers in a new era for Walmart's digital program

Walmart is shutting down Jetblack, its shopper concierge service. It's one of many small digital programs Walmart on which Walmart is scaling back. This move highlights Walmart's changing approach to its digital experiments. It no longer needs to spend a lot and think big; the retail giant has made a name for itself as an e-commerce leader and can now think more conservatively.

Beyond subway ads: How startup brands are investing in out of home

As direct-to-consumer startups feel greater pressure to rely less on digital channels like Facebook and Google, other, they're considering investing more in traditional media advertising. That includes out of home advertising (OOH), like billboards, digital bus stops and painted murals.

Other news to know

  • Bed Bath & Beyond’s new CEO Mark Tritton outlined his turnaround plan in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Tritton, who was named CEO in October, said he plans to lower inventory levels by more than 10% this year, and spend as much as $400 million on store remodels and technology improvements.
  • Walmart is rolling out Great Workplace, its plan to eliminate some mid-level management roles at its stores, to all of its smaller-format Neighborhood Market stores this year. But, some employees say that the rollout is causing confusion and tension at their stores, as some of them are being forced to re-apply for new jobs, the Washington Post reports.
  • Pier 1 is the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. On Monday, the furniture retailer said in court filings that it is looking for a buyer, and plans to shutter operations in Canada.
$38.6 million
Loss reported by Bed Bath & Beyond during its most recent quarter
Latest Stories
With second location planned, Showfields concept finds some success

With second location planned, Showfields concept finds some success

Showfields is expanding beyond NYC and into the Miami market, where it plans to open a second concept shop in May.

The shelf life of creative is getting shorter for DTC brands

When Great Jones launched in 2018, co-founders Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis decided to take what they called a "maximalist" approach to design, in order to ensure that their brand stood out many other direct-to-consumer startups at the time that seemed to be taking a minimalist approach to branding. Now, less than two years after Great Jones officially launched, Tishgart already feels like the maximalist approach that was once unique to Great Jones is no longer a novelty.

Health and beauty brands get more personal and less channel-specific
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Health and beauty brands get more personal and less channel-specific

Many health and beauty brands are struggling to prove personal relevance to shoppers, and technology silos are a big reason. In response, a growing number of brands and retailers are making their tech tools more flexible and less channel-specific.

Peapod's shuttered Midwest operation shows the growing cost of online grocery

Peapod's shuttered Midwest operation shows the growing cost of online grocery

Peapod is shutting down its Midwest division, laying off 500 people. While it's only a small percentage of its overall business, the move highlights the headwinds grocery e-commerce businesses face. While more grocers try to offer more digital fulfillment options -- it becomes ever more clear that it remains an difficult, unprofitable program.

As the DTC space gets more competitive, branding agencies are forced to evolve

As more direct-to-consumer startups launch every day, agencies are finding that they constantly have to expand their wheelhouse of skills. Branding agencies are starting to take on performance marketing work, while marketing agencies are taking on more early stage design work.  In November, branding agency Red Antler, which did work for Casper and Allbirds, launched a performance marketing arm called Good Moose

Why the VC-DTC calculus is changing

Why the VC-DTC calculus is changing

Many onlookers believe a DTC cooling is on the horizon. With a bunch of less-than-stellar exits from the likes of Casper, Peloton and Harry's, the VC-funding model of branding building seems to be crumbling. This leaves both investors and founders left with the question: Is it worth it to raise money from venture firms? It's becoming a more complicated topic, and one that will have a big impact on a company's choices down the line.

How lawn care startup Sunday is trying to build a subscription business (and beat Home Depot)

Direct-to-consumer "ended up being the best solution we could come up with," said Sunday founder Coulter Lewis. "That enabled us to do this custom approach."

Sky, The Times and Telenor discuss the impact of in-housing marketing
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Sky, The Times and Telenor discuss the impact of in-housing marketing

As brands navigate the waters of in-house marketing, they're developing new strategies and tactics to develop data, skillsets and efficiencies for a competitive advantage.

With sluggish DTC growth, Under Armour lowers 2020 expectations

Under Armour's look forward to 2020 includes expected losses that the company blames on China's coronavirus outbreak.

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