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Retail Headlines


It’s been a while since we dove into noteworthy retail headlines, so let’s check out what’s been going on with our favorite brands…

Amazon will officially takeover Whole Foods as of next Monday, and the grocery industry is feeling the pressure. Apparently, prices will be cut on bananas, eggs, beef, and more for all Prime members when they shop at Whole Foods. Which is a huge deal for competitors such as Kroger, HEB, Walmart, and Costco who have a loyal customer base due to location, quality and price. I don't know about you, but as a mom of growing boys I have become much more savvy when it comes to groceries. I shop at three different locations throughout the week just to ensure I am not over-spending at the grocery store. So I will definitely be checking out how my Prime account effects kid favorites at Whole Foods (despite my love for certain retailers). If you too have a Prime account, please let me know your thoughts. Will you be more inclined to stop at Whole Foods now??

J.Crew announced their second quarter results, and although they have made progress compared to where they were last year, Madewell’s success is what caused analysts to take note. Here is the breakdown... For the quarter, J.Crew sales were -7% and comp store sales were -8%. Madewell, on the other hand, saw a sales increase of +18% for the quarter, with comp store sales +10%. Since J.Crew is 83% of sales, the company in total saw comp sales -5%, but that is an improvement vs. LY at -8%. They also saw a slight lift in their gross margin rate for the first half of the year at 37%. I know I am a cheerleader at heart, but I am still hoping the organizational changes and revised brand mission will allow J.Crew to get back to black in 2018. Either way, Madewell and everyone at corporate (who I am sure are working tirelessly to turn things around) deserve some support, and that's what I am here to do. So here's to all of you and a stronger second half...

Stitch Fix, the personal styling service that is nearing $1B in sales, has added over 100 new contemporary brands to their assortment offering- including Theory, Kate Spade, JBrand, and John Varvatos. If you haven’t yet heard of Stitch Fix, the company was founded in 2011 by Katrina Lake who utilizes customer data, algorithms, and stylists to send the perfect box of clothing (five pieces) straight to your door. User reviews have been incredibly strong and the company is rapidly growing. The addition of more upscale brands and sophisticated career options makes perfect sense for both them and their wholesale partners. If Theory, for example, can get in front of more customers (knowing mall trends have been declining) it could be a great growth vehicle for them. I am excited to see what’s next and will definitely be adding their style profile to my to-do list.

Lastly, I came across this great article that spoke to the “influence” Instagram still has on shopping decisions. Knowing some of you are small business owners, here is the punch line… 72% of the 2000 users surveyed have made a fashion / lifestyle-related purchase based on viewing it via Instagram. In fact, 50% of them said that IG was the platform that most influenced their purchases, followed by Facebook and Pinterest. So just in case you are targeting millennials with your product line, please make sure you have a mobile strategy in place- as it is only a matter of time before they enhance the shopability factor of these apps. Liketoknow.it screenshots and “shop now” are just the beginning.

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Hopefully this gave you a bit of insight into our favorite industry and as always, please let me know if I missed anything noteworthy. Have a wonderful Friday everyone...

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