Fast food and fast casual chains are betting on drive-thrus to remain popular, even as the pandemic subsides. Particularly in the early stages of the pandemic, restaurants struggled as indoor dining shuttered in most states. But, drive-thru visits soared, up 26% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020 according to NPD Group. In response, experienced drive-thru players like McDonald’s as well as other newer players announced new investments in the feature.
Last month, the CDC announced the loosening of its mask guidance, saying people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are not required to wear a mask “in any setting” unless local laws and regulations demanded it. Since then, retailers have been left to their own devices to come up with new mask guidelines for employees and customers. Modern Retail spoke to four people currently working in retail about how they feel about these new guidelines.
Tehmina Haider is the head of Harry's Lab, which both builds new CPG brands as well as invests in and acquires existing ones. Haider described the operation as being a "diversification engine." She joined the Modern Retail Podcast and explained how she's built out the program over the last three years.
After the successful IPOs of Beyond Meat and Oatly, plant-based behemoth Impossible Foods is reportedly preparing to enter the public market -- and Asia is key to its success. “The bigger a footprint Impossible has in the Asian market, the bigger their expected long-term value is going to be,” said one investor.
After a year and a half of unevenly applied US Covid-19 regulations as well as various city exoduses, Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago’s retail scenes fare differently. While many hope for a return to store in 2021, retailers' fates rest somewhat on location. Here's our look into how the three cities are faring.
Wellness brand Asutra has had a wild few years. CEO Stephanie Morimoto bought the company in 2018. It sold most of its products on Amazon, and she believed should could help transform it into a DTC wellness player. Part of that has been about rebranding the company as "active self-care," as she described it on the Modern Retail Podcast.
On Friday, Staples made a fourth attempt to acquire ODP, home to the combined Office Depot and Office Max, via a billion dollar offer for the company's consumer-facing businesses. Staples and ODP's businesses have been declining for years. They have sought to grow their businesses by investing in partnerships, experiential stores, and e-commerce. However, in Staples' eyes, the quickest -- and most surefire way -- to grow its business is to acquire assets from its biggest competitor. As such, Staples continues to be hellbent on getting a deal done, though ODP keeps rejecting its offers -- and shows no signs of changing its mind.
The last year has taken a significant toll on company culture across brands and retailers -- stores were shut down, people lost their jobs and teams were separated from one another. But new research from Glossy and Modern Retail shows that, while worries about mental health still remain, morale across these industries is improving.
After taking a stab at standalone cafes and boutiques, Godiva has pivoted to growing its CPG and e-commerce businesses. In the past year, the chocolate maker has closed all its North America shops and launched new partnerships with retailers, including Target and Walgreens. In an interview with Modern Retail, Godiva’s president of the Americas, Caroline Le Roch discussed how these changes are paying off.
Retailers and brands are experiencing a marketing rebound. New data from a Modern Retail and Glossy survey showcases that brands are expecting a post-pandemic recovery. And it's a distinct shift from 2020.
People are continuing to embrace the outdoors after a year of being stuck at home, and brands are responding accordingly. In June 2020, year-over-year sales of outdoor equipment like bicycles, paddle sport gear, golf equipment, camping gear and binoculars were up between 63% and 22%, according to the NPD Group. Now, as demand continues into 2021 brands and retailers across categories are entering the space in a variety of ways.
As store workers at many big-box retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy are now expected to deal with both online and in-store orders, retailers are increasingly thinking about creating new tech tools to help workers manage the growing list of tasks they're responsible for. Walmart, for example announced last week that it was creating a new mobile app called [email protected] Through the app, store employees can manage their shifts and view their schedules, use a voice-activated personal assistant to answer common questions, such as where certain items are located throughout the store, and eventually, use the app to scan merchandise in the backroom.
As the country opens up again and Sweetgreen continues its expansion into new markets, the fast-casual salad chain is starting to invest more in out-of-home advertising. Doing so is meant to “amplify the marketing we’re doing online,” according to Nathaniel Ru co-founder and co-CEO of Sweetgreen.
According to Farmer's Fridge founder and CEO Luke Saunders, pivoting to home delivery helped keep the business afloat. Farmer's Fridge now has three primary channels: vending machines, business-to-business and home delivery. This year is [about] getting back to growth," said Saunders on the Modern Retail Podcast. "We're doing [that] across all three channels."
As Nordstrom and Macy's are still struggling to return to 2019 sales levels, they are investing more in their off-price businesses to acquire new customers. Nordstrom is focused on driving more Nordstrom Rack sales with the help of its e-commerce business. Macy's meanwhile is opening more off-mall locations and store-in-store locations.
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