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.
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.
Amazon's sales went up during the first quarter of this year, but so too did costs. This certainly has to do with the coronavirus -- as do the plans to re-invest all of its profits into the business. The company's latest earnings report shows that even the industry leaders have some cracks in the business.
J.Crew just announced that it's received investor approval to part ways with Madewell. This is certainly a way for the retailer to pay down its massive debt load, but it won't solve the bigger problems facing the aging brand.
Target reported better-than-expected earnings results, and its stock has been soaring. Much of its recent success was thanks to its growing private label program, which gave the retailer better margins. The question remains whether the company can sustain this momentum as it scales more lines.
In 2017, Home Depot unveiled "One Home Depot," which called for the company to invest $5.4 billion over the next three years to improve e-commerce capabilities, add more fulfillment capabilities like buy online, pickup in-store, and to redesign the website for its business-to-business customers, which the company refers to as "Pros." In return, Home Depot expected sales to hit $120 billion by 2020. But, Home Depot is finding that it's taking longer than expected to roll out some of its new capabilities.
Target's strategy of using its stores to fulfill orders placed online continue to drive an increase in both digital sales and foot traffic. Now, as Target has remodeled the majority of its stores to ensure they can effectively serve as fulfillment centers, its eyeing additional investments in automation and employee training to ensure it can keep up with digital sales growth.
Walmart's earnings report showed a legacy retailer growing, despite digital competitors like Amazon looming. Though Walmart has had trouble executing its overall e-commerce program, these results show that the retailer may have a few competitive advantages.
As Macy's struggles to par down its inventory, it is turning to steep discounts in order to make way for new seasonal product. The company has said that it believes investing more in data analytics and overhauling its markdown strategy will help it avoid fewer discounts going forward, but analysts believe that its inventory is the bigger issue.
Kroger's digital sales are increasing as the company invests more in services like delivery and in-store pickup, but they continue to eat into the company's profits. During its first quarter earnings on Thursday, Kroger reported that digital sales were up 42% compared to the same period last year, but same-store sales excluding fuel were up just 1.5%.
With in-person sales largely out of the picture this holiday season, brands must adapt to deliver the frictionless experiences that online consumers expect and demand.
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