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Retail Headlines

Your resident retail nerd is back! Let’s dive into some noteworthy industry headlines from the past couple of weeks...

It was recently discovered that Stein Mart has been selling select Ivanka Trump product under a different label titled Adrienne Vittadini Studio. G-III Apparel Group Ltd. (which holds the license to manufacture the Ivanka Trump brand) released a statement saying they had no knowledge of this activity and will begin correcting any mislabeled product. Now, we may not know who exactly authorized the re-label, but we do know the “why” behind it. The fact is G-III and every retailer who purchased Ivanka’s product PRIOR to the election (which was many) have inventory and sales plans to hit. Everyone is trying to get creative due to the protests and lower demand for her product line. It’s a very difficult spot to be in and one that I wish I had a strategic solve for. However, lying to customers will never be the answer.

J.Crew is cutting 150 full-time corporate jobs in New York, along with 100 currently open positions. According to the Wall Street Journal this will help J.Crew achieve a $30M pretax savings towards the $2B debt the company is currently carrying. As most of you know, Jenna Lyons recently departed from the company as well, where she was most recently President and Creative Director of the brand. I, personally, wish I wasn't writing to you about job cuts in the market- but it’s unfortunately the reality we live in right now. My hope is that with Mickey Drexler still at the helm, they can bring J.Crew back to what it was when he first took over. An achievable, relatable, and inspirational clothing brand that we all lived in.

McDonald’s unveiled new uniforms for all 850,000 restaurant employees this week, and social media definitely voiced their opposition. If you haven’t yet seen them- the uniforms are mostly grey and monochromatic. The reason? McDonald’s wanted to provide their workers with a more modern feel, that bridged the gap between fashion and function. They hired Waraire Boswell to design the uniform, who wanted nothing more than to give the team additional confidence while wearing them. So when you look at it from that perspective, you understand why the uniforms were updated. To me though, it’s not about the styles resembling Star Wars and Hunger Games (per social media)- it’s about the fact that no where within the design do I see McDonald’s. And while I know it’s essential for them to move forward as a brand and cater to the younger demographic who works there- I wish I saw some of their branding within the design. It feels like a completely different company to me versus a modern update.

Lastly, Michaels and Pinterest have partnered on a new project called “Make It Kits” based on the popularity of craft pinning via their social media app. The initial kit will include directions and materials to make Shibori dyeing projects (Japanese tie-dye) with additional items to follow. To me, it’s the perfect collaboration for the home décor retailer. As they have the sourcing capabilities and product experience to execute the trends Pinterest is capturing. I am excited to see what comes next.

As always, if I missed anything noteworthy about your favorite brands please let me know. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday...

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