ThredUp is about to go public, but it faces stiff competition. What ThredUp says makes it different from the rest is its back-end business model intended to help retailers facilitate their own resale services. In its S-1 the platform went to great lengths to showcase its ability to diversify revenue by offering these back-end services. Still, ThredUp faces a tough road ahead. Its losses continue to mount and 2020 was not friendly to the apparel industry.
Emilie Arel joined Casper in late 2019 as its president and chief commercial officer. She oversees all the disparate and growing parts of Casper's retail business. Arel spoke on the Modern Retail Podcast about what she's focused on during her tenure, as well as how the pandemic through everything into disarray. "I don't think we recognized how much people would invest in their home so quickly," she said. "We had no clue we'd still be sitting in our houses almost a year from then that was not on the horizon."
Target's long term plans to capitalize on its record sales year includes investing in its physical stores. In its fourth quarter earnings announcement, the big box retailer unveiled plans to spend $4 billion annually to modernize and automate its existing stores, along with opening new ones near college campuses and metro areas.
During its fourth quarter earnings, Kohl's executives focused their remarks on how the company plans to bring shoppers back to store next year. The company reported today that during its fourth quarter, net sales were down 10% year-over-year, while online sales were up 22%. Kohl's still managed to report a profit of $343 million. Now, Kohl's is preparing for the launch of a new private label athleisure brand later this month, as well as the launch of new Sephora shop-in-shops in August, to try and drive customers back to stores.
Like many retailers, thrift shops have had to adapt to the pandemic by launching online stores. One chain that recently unveiled its online operation is the nonprofit Housing Works. The New York-based organization has historically relied on in-store shopping to support its mission. This year, Housing Works plans to recreate that experience online via an auction and "buy now" e-commerce sites.
Starting tomorrow, Modern Retail is unveiling two new email products: The DTC Briefing and the Amazon Briefing. Both will feature reported stories and exclusive analysis about their respective retail niches. The DTC Briefing will be delivered every Tuesday morning and the Amazon Briefing on Thursday mornings.
After a year of significant e-commerce growth, Best Buy executives said the company is now focused on preparing for the shift to online shopping to remain permanent. During its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, Best Buy reported that e-commerce sales were up 90%, and now represent 43% of its total sales. CEO Corie Barry said that the company is projecting that next year, e-commerce will still make up roughly 40% of sales. In order to prepare for this shift, Best Buy is rethinking both how its stores look, and how it staffs those stores.
Following into the steps of DTC brands like Harry's and Bevel, Old Spice is opening a barbershop concept store that doubles as a content studio. According to parent company Procter & Gamble, the Columbus, Ohio shop will be open to the public for grooming services. And it shows Old Spice trying out some new experiential marketing strategies.
Candice Matthews Brackeen is looking outside of typical Silicon Valley circles for the next billion-dollar company. She's a general partner at Lightship Capital, which raised a $50 million fund last summer that's focused on companies from the Midwest that have Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPoC) founders. "Right now we're trying to build the best portfolio possible to return capital to the LPs," she said on the Modern Retail Podcast.
Walmart is reaching out to sellers, trying to get them to try out its third-party marketplace. These direct reach-outs appear to be rare, limited only to the bigger players on Amazon, but they indicate Walmart’s increased commitment to bringing third-party sellers whose products have already found success on Amazon directly to the Walmart Marketplace.
During its fourth quarter earnings call, Macy's executives made it clear that they are betting on e-commerce to help the department store chain recover from the pandemic, as they tried to position the company as a "digitally-led" retailer. Digital sales were up 21% year-over-year, and its e-commerce division is now profitable. But Macy's is still trying to figure out how to differentiate its website from those of of other big-box retailers or department stores.
Joann is getting ready to go public, betting that it will be able to ride the crafting boom for a while. The crafting supplies retailer filed its S-1 last week, reporting that its revenue during the first three quarters of 2020 was $1.921 billion, up 24.3% compared to the same period the prior year. Joann was taken off the public markets after being acquired by a private equity firm a decade ago. But now, the company is ready to take another crack at being a publicly-traded company, citing the fact that its acquired eight million new customers during the pandemic.
Almost six months after its official debut, Walmart+ has been one of the retailer's successful coronavirus-era rollouts. With Walmart's growing e-commerce sales over the past year, the membership program may help keep the momentum going. In turn, Walmart's answer to Amazon Prime stands to build on the retailer's online grocery and essentials delivery business long after the pandemic.
After brands and retailers have began the 15% Pledge to add diverse products to their shelves, some companies have rolled out the first assortments in time for Black History Month. Retailers like Gap, Macy's and Lowe's have taken the first steps to carry BIPOC-founded products, alongside initiatives like hiring diverse candidates and incubating Black and other founders of color.
Nearly a year after a proposed spin off of Victoria's Secret was called off, the lingerie brand has been trying quietly to course correct some previous missteps. Most recently, Victoria's Secret announced this week that it would once again start selling swimwear in select stores, after exiting the category in 2016. Retail analysts say that Victoria's Secret's recent moves have been less focused on trying to re-establish itself as the most-talked about brand in lingerie, and rather getting back to the fundamentals of retail.
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