"We were kind of an accidental DTC company," Lo & Sons co-founder Derek Lo said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "We started before the term even existed."
Last August, creative agency Gin Lane announced it was rebranding to Pattern, a holding company for multiple brands that would sell products direct-to-consumer, with an overarching focus on helping its customers deal with burnout. With the launch of its second product line, a brand focused on home organization called Open Spaces, Pattern's strategy of how it plans to cross-promote products to different customers is coming into focus.
For years, Victoria's Secret's Pink business -- a line of intimates and loungewear aimed at college-age women -- was the company's shining star. Then, in 2018, Pink reported a sales decline for the first time 16 years. In the past year, L Brands hasn't broken out sales growth for Pink, only saying generally that certain units of Pink, like intimates, are seeing "strong unit growth results." At the very least, any growth at Pink isn't enough to offset sales declines at Victoria's Secret.
The retailer will now close 100 of its 650 stores in the next two years. It's a piece of its wider strategy to bring Express back into profitability, a plan the retail is calling the "Expressway Forward" plan. It involves a shifted focus to more streamlined merchandise offerings and investing in online sales.
Independent grocery chains face a growing list of threats. The grocery space is more crowded than ever before, as Amazon prepares to launch a new grocery chain this year, as well as the expansion of discounters Aldi and Lidl into the U.S. Not everyone can keep up, as evidenced by New York City grocer Fairway filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.
For the last five years blockchain has been hyped as the next technological paradigm. Despite many believing that it could radically change retailers' supply chain, blockchain-based applications have yet to hit the mainstream. Now that the craze has settled, some use-cases may end up quietly being adopted.
David's Bridal has launched a suite of online wedding planning tools, including a messaging chatbot named Zoey, aimed at helping people find and purchase their wedding looks. The idea is that a service layer will be enough to fend off competition and create a more seamless experience. Taking a page from wedding planning services like Zola, David's Bridal helping brides do save the dates, curate mood boards via Pinterest and of course embarking on finding the perfect wedding dress, all from their device.
Both retailers and service providers alike are investing heavily in pickup services. To consumers, it's billed as a way to buy groceries online and have them ready to be picked up while driving home. But for the grocers, it presents heightened costs and new logistical issues. How long will this fad last?
All eyes are on Casper and its plans to go public. The company has long been considered a leader in the DTC space, but now that things don't look great for its public market debut, the question remains how its performance will impact other digitally native brands.
"The cost to acquire customers online is unsustainable for a lot of companies," Iris Nova founder Zak Normandin said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "So we've learned to actually do retail in our own way now and actually use retail to our advantage."
Over the last six months, Walmart has made many changes to its leadership. While some of these changes are natural to growing multinational businesses, they also hint at the retailer's evolving and more cohesive online strategy.
Augmented reality right now is big among two categories: beauty or furniture. It has yet to take off among apparel retailers, which is the next step in order for AR to become more mainstream.
A year ago, when Gap announced plans to spin off Old Navy, the brand had reported nearly two straight years of revenue growth. Old Navy had brought in $8 billion in revenue in 2018, while the rest of Gap's portfolio -- which includes Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Hill City and Janie and Jack -- brought in $9 billion in sales total over the same time period. The idea was the spin off would give Old Navy room to grow.
Payless ShoeSource has come out of its latest bankruptcy proceedings with big plans to relaunch in the U.S. It's provided scant details about what that would look like. But with all of its U.S. locations closed, a large brand and business overhaul will be necessary to keep the retailer alive.
"We really realized that we had built a platform that could treat and serve far greater needs than just that one condition area," said Will Flaherty, VP of growth at Ro.
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