Retail Data News: Chipotle Sold Out of Cilantro Soap Plus Cyber Week Results
Cyber week results are in! This Retail Data News roundup, featuring articles from November 29 to December 5, also includes the latest on the Lululemon and Peloton lawsuits, Toys R Us, and Chipotle’s sold out cilantro soap.
Stay up to date on all the latest consumer trends and retail, direct-to-consumer (DTC), and data-intensive marketing news with this blog series.
Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday Results
Online Black Friday Sales Down This Year as Consumers Start Holiday Shopping Early
Online sales for Cyber Monday are marginally down (1.4%) compared to last year, according to Adobe. I did expect an uptick for Cyber Monday, especially after the soft Black Friday, which does not appear to have materialized. As expected though, looking at the full post-Halloween to Cyber Monday, numbers are up. According to Adobe, they are up 12% compared to last year, a solid trend, especially since many stores were following strict pandemic rules at this time last year. I would expect offline sales to show some solid growth to 2020, which would close the full season somewhere between 10-12% up from 2020. Read the story.
Is Walmart the Real Black Friday Winner?
Another interesting article showing Amazon getting the lion’s share of online sales during Black Friday. However, Walmart seems to be winning the longer game to capture Gen Z, which apparently prefers to shop in-store. Read the story.
NRF: Thanksgiving Weekend Shoppers Decline for Second Year in a Row
This article reinforces how the critical five days between Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are down in terms of total shoppers as well as average spend. As a result, these five days comprise a smaller percent of the total holiday shopping activity than in previous years. Shoppers are making their purchases earlier (and potentially later). Overall, discounting is lower than 2020 (around 7% lower depending on who you read), however, the variability across retailers is much more widespread. DTC brands that positioned themselves strongly for the season (think inventory, branding and consumer strategy) fared much better than the traditional merchandise-focused retailers. In my opinion, this is a sign of things to come. Read the story.
High-end Eyes Resale and Discount Uplevels
Balenciaga’s Faux Fur One-Dollar Bill Scarf Costs… $2,950 USD
To top off this week’s outlandish news, Balenciaga is selling a scarf in the motif of a $1 bill. The made-in-Italy, dry-clean only extra large scarf is 6.5 feet long. As if its partnership with Crocs wasn’t enough. Balenciaga, there is a limit to how much you can shock people for attention. You are a fashion icon, for crying out loud. Read the story.
Prada Sees Second-hand Fashion as Opportunity, Weighs Partnerships
Prada is eyeing partnerships in the resale/second-hand market. Following Kering’s move, this should come as no surprise. The resale market is booming and handbags are one of the top items. I expect all the big players will make a move in this sector and incorporate it in their customer strategy. Read the story.
Lululemon Trades Lawsuits with Peloton as Design Dispute Deepens
Lululemon and Peloton are suing each other. Peloton launched an apparel line that Lululemon claims is copying its own. A couple of points, neither company has the luxury to divert resources to legal fights. And second, unless there are serious patent infringements, the differentiation may not be that big. If it was, it wouldn’t go this far. Maybe both need to focus on improving their positioning and product lines instead. Read the story.
Toys R Us to Open New Flagship at American Dream Mall
Toys R Us is opening a flagship store inside the American Dream mall. WHP, its current owner, is trying to take advantage of Toys R Us’ brand equity. The flagship will be more of a destination than a traditional store and is expected to be experiential. Solid moves, especially since the new store will be near other kid-friendly destinations. The bigger question for WHP is can it get customers to migrate from the Toys R Us store experience to actually making a purchase. The article mentions nothing of any omnichannel tech inside the store to promote in-store purchases and ship-to-home options. With only an online presence and the Macy’s stores within stores, Toys R Us needs to set up a way to turn visitors to buyers. Read the story.
Carrie Underwood to Leave Dick’s Calia brand
Dick’s Sporting Goods ends its partnership with Carrie Underwood. The company will continue to develop the Calia brand, which is one of the most successful private label brands at Dick’s. Although the departure of the singer will probably hurt the brand, it looks like it has already built enough momentum that Dick’s can continue to develop it, if it makes the right moves. In addition, I would expect Dick’s to continue developing its own brands as well as the new concepts it is trying out. It’s proving to be a successful strategy so far. Read the story.
Dollar General Tested a Store for Wealthier Shoppers. Now, It Will Grow to 1,000 Locations
Dollar General posts Q3 results and lowers expectations for the year. There is quite a lot of news in the announcement. Its sales for the quarter are up 3.8% YoY, not stellar, but its annual growth was 22% through the pandemic (to Jan 2021). It also announced it expects comps to drop for the fiscal year by 2-3%. At the same time, it plans to open 1,100 stores next year (about 6% increase on a fleet of 18,000). A hundred of the stores will be the new Popshelf, an upscale version of Dollar General. The new concept targets a more affluent consumer, though most items are below $5. Dollar General is looking beyond its core $1 merch and aiming to compete with discount stores like TJX, Christmas Tree Shops, and Party City (which is vulnerable). Dollar General even used the buzz word “treasure hunt.” Read the story.
Shoe Carnival Acquires Shoe Station for $67M
Although in the bigger scheme of things this acquisition appears minor, I think there is more here than meets the eye. This is Shoe Carnival’s first-ever acquisition, and it’s not done for growth or financial impact. If the article is to be believed, this is a move on product design and merchandising. Shoe Carnival has been a quiet success for a while in the shoe space. Its ecomm presence is a great example of a “frictionless” experience. Although basic on the surface, it has incorporated tech very well. Clear navigation, relevant recommendations, extensive product metadata make for a smooth purchase. If it makes this move work, I expect to see private label brands, assortment repositioning, product category extensions, all great moves that would marry well with its well run site. There is also a lot of movement right now on incorporating machine learning (ML) and voice of customer throughout the design cycles (currently focused in fashion), which Shoe Carnival can incorporate, again, if it does this right and doesn’t overpower Shoe Station’s capabilities. Great moves by the company, let’s see if it plays out right. Read the story.
Selfridges to Be Sold to Central Group
Selfridges has been on the block for a while now and was sold to a Thailand conglomerate that already owns several other department stores. Department stores have been losing relevance with consumers for several years with several facing financial distress or restructuring (Saks, JCPenney, Sears, etc.) while some, like Target, are bucking the trend. The interesting question is what will the group do to sustain Selfridges and can it make it profitable? Read the story.
Inditex Appoints New CEO and Chairwoman
Reshuffle at the top of Inditex (parent of Zara). The founder’s daughter will become the new chair of the company, maintaining the family leadership. What jumps out is the fact that Inditex is getting a new CEO who is the company lawyer. Although not unheard of, it’s still a strange move. It may indicate the person’s corporate strength or something else. Read the story.
REI Names Amazon Veteran Its First Chief Commercial Officer
REI is expanding its c-suite with a chief commercial officer from Amazon. REI is clearly seeking direction on transforming its core outdoor knowledge into an omnichannel experience. It has positioned itself really well both in-store and online and it looks like it is undertaking the confluence of the two channels. REI carries very powerful brand equity and association with outdoors. With that foundation solidly in place, it is ready to build a unique omnichannel experience—and it is hiring specifically for that. Read the story.
Grocery, Delivery, Fast Food and Soap?
Chipotle’s Cilantro Soap Sold Out, But Some Chipotle Rewards Members Can Collect a Cilantro Badge
If the smoke-scented tracksuit, french-fry flavored vodka or apple pie Bailey’s didn’t phase you, Chipotle’s cilantro soap certainly won’t. What is impressive is that Chipotle sold out! Which means we can expect to see other variations of non-consumables with uncommon food combinations. Read the story.
Pret A Manger Trials ‘Pret Perks’ Loyalty Programme
Following (a bit late) other fast food chains, Pret A Manger is launching a trial loyalty program. The program seems to be based on transactions, rather than spend. Patrons collect “stars” for every transaction. The stars are set up to expire fairly quickly (30 days), making the program beneficial for frequent buyers (irrespective of spend), which makes sense for the chain. However, overall, this program seems a bit “old fashioned,” especially with other fast food chains launching NFTs, opening virtual stores, and partnering with gaming companies. I think Pret A Manger needs to move a bit faster to keep up. Read the story.
Sainsbury’s also Opens First Checkout-free Store
Sainsbury’s is testing cashierless technology in one store in London. It uses Amazon’s technology and follows in the footsteps of a lot of grocery chains who are embracing this technology. As mentioned in previous newsletters, my expectation is that the market will coalesce around a few key tech players (Amazon potentially being one) that offer this capability. And cashierless will expand beyond groceries. Read the story.
Uber Eats Leaving Hong Kong at the End of 2021
Uber Eats is closing its Hong Kong operations. It appears that demand for food delivery is shrinking as we are moving out of the pandemic and people begin socializing more, especially in dense urban areas like Hong Kong where space (i.e. apartments) tend to be limited. This may potentially be an early read on the sector’s post-pandemic status, especially in urban areas in Europe and the U.S. The sector is already highly competitive and crowded, a drop in demand will put a lot of pressure on the players. Read the story.
Third-quarter Performance Results
Allbirds Posts Wider-than-expected Quarterly Loss on Rising Costs
As expected, Allbirds posted solid top line growth and losses from operations. The company is becoming a favorite for eco-focused consumers, however, it needs to maintain its momentum and establish much wider gravitas to become profitable. Opening stores and continuing its sustainability messaging and product will need to be a big focus. Read the story.
Ulta’s Q3 Sales Hit a Record $2B as It Finishes Target Expansion for 2021
Ulta posted strong double-digits results for Q3. In addition, it’s continuing to build its relationship with Target, partnerships with other brands and potentially its add-on in-store services. The more interesting part of the article relates to Ulta’s comments on increased competition from brands going direct-to-consumer (DTC). The beauty retailer acknowledges the trend and also how some brands benefit from a retailer’s distribution channel. Both true, however, this means Ulta faces continuous pressure to maintain its reach and attract brands that want to have a presence in its stores. Read the story.
With Profits Up, Chico’s Slows Down Store Closure Plans
Chico’s posts quarterly results with improved performance from a very bad 2020. It is still down from 2019, though, and it continues to lack solid customer branding. Even the analysts commenting on the results are cautious about future performance. Read the story.
L’Occitane International Announces Financial Results
L’Occitane posts good quarterly results. The company posted 19% growth YoY and 7% to pre-pandemic. The company went through a new executive suite recently and is beginning to see improvement, with APAC being the focus. It is still falling behind players like Bath & Body Works that are dominating the Americas market. L’Occitane also acquired a Latin American competitor to gain a foothold in that market. Read the story.
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