During its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, Kroger reported its biggest increase in operating profit all year, a sign that its cost saving measures are starting to pay off even as it makes costly investments to grow its online business. Kroger reported that fourth quarter identical sales, excluding fuel, were up 2%, while digital sales were up 22%. Total company sales were $28.9 billion, compared to $28.3 billion last year.
Last January, direct-to-consumer furniture brand Article took a step that's still relatively unusual for a startup: it launched an in-house last-mile delivery program. As an online-only startup that has yet to open a single store, Article viewed building its own in-house delivery operation as a necessary customer service investment. The biggest benefit of launching ADT is that it has allowed Article to reduce delivery times. The company is now able to deliver roughly half of its orders in under a week, compared to 30% in 2018
As fears of the coronavirus spreading accelerated in the U.S over the weekend, some grocery delivery services have also reported seeing some unusual spikes in activity, as shoppers feel compelled to stock up on certain products. Instacart said in a statement that over the last few days, it has "seen a surge in customer demand for pantry items such as powdered milk and canned goods, as well as personal care products like hand sanitizer and vitamins." Amazon warned customers on Monday that orders through its Prime Now and Amazon Fresh delivery services are being delivered more slowly than usual. (Amazon did not respond to a request for comment).
For the past couple of years, Bath & Body Works has been the one bright spot of L Brands, reporting positive comparable sales growth while Victoria's Secret has been reporting declining sales. Soon, the mall-based lotion and candle retailer will get a chance to stand on its own.
It's been four months since Bed Bath & Beyond named former Target executive Mark Tritton as its CEO, in the hopes of reversing nearly three years of same-store sales declines. Tritton has started to lay out his agenda for turning the big-box retailer around, beginning with cleaning house. Last week, the company cut 500 jobs, or about 10% of its corporate team. Now, the next step is for Tritton to figure out how to bring more people back in-store.
Super Heroic, a direct-to-consumer children's clothing and footwear startup, is shutting down, according to the company's website. A message posted on Super Heroic’s website, with the headline “mission complete,” said that “we started this company with the desire to encourage and inspire our youth to dream bigger and to live boldly….in these uncertain times, we have now reached a place where we must hang up our capes for a while.” The website states that the company “will honor all sales and exchanges until our closure,” but does not give an exact date.
After Walmart started more aggressively growing its marketplace following its Jet.com acquisition in 2016, it wasn't a question of if the company would launch a fulfillment service for third-party sellers, but when, given that Amazon has had a fulfillment service since 2006. This week, Walmart finally took the wraps off its fulfillment service, which the retailer said it soft launched with select vendors a few months ago. But, agencies and sellers say that Walmart still has a way's to go in matching Amazon's features and reach.
On big-box retailer Lowe's fourth quarter earnings call today, CEO Marvin Ellison acknowledged that the company's website is "still under construction." That statement isn't often uttered by retail executives in 2020. But Lowe's is still in the process of upgrading a website that was built on a decade-old tech stack.
When DTC health care startup Ro launched in 2017, the startup was initially focused on connecting male patients with doctors to discuss medical conditions like erectile dysfunction and hair loss. Today, Ro now sells medication to treat 11 different conditions under three brands: Roman for men, Rory for women, and Zero, which is focused on nonsmokers. As Ro's potential audience grows, it is finding it is increasingly having to rely on more than just Facebook and Google search ads to reach new customers.
Victoria's Secret's market share has declined for years as consumers have grown tired of its overtly sexualized marketing and merchandise. But the number of startups and retailers vying to take a slice of the business that previously belonged to Victoria's Secret hasn't slowed down.
In 2020, e-commerce startups are facing a greater sense of urgency to turn a profit, and furniture company Wayfair is no exception. Earlier this month, the company announced that it was cutting 550 jobs, or about 3% of its workforce. In an email to Wayfair employees obtained by the Boston Globe, CEO Niraj Shah said that "We find ourselves at a place where we are, from an execution standpoint, investing in too many disparate areas, with an uneven quality and speed of execution."
Bombas is slowly building up its roster of wholesale partners, focusing on finding retailers that align with its one-to-one giving model, and have a customer demographic that fits well with new product offerings. It's one of a number of brands that started direct-to-consumer that is starting to test out which wholesale partners make the most sense for them.
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.
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.
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.
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