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Inside Retail (Aug 8th, 2019)

1. CVS announced it is slowing its expansion of its traditional stores because more customers are using delivery and it will focus on expanding its HealthHUB community concept stores. CVS had been opening 300 stores a year but will only open 100 new stores this year, and plans to open 50 next year. The HealthHUB concepts offer more in-depth health and wellness benefits like yoga spaces and nutrition classes and sell more medically-oriented merch like sleep apnea machines. CVS competitor Walgreens will close 200 stores which is 3 percent of its U.S. store fleet. - CNBC

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2. Nike bought a predictive analytics and demand sensing start-up named Celect to continue focusing on its successful Direct-to-Consumer business. Almost a third of Nike's business last year came from DTC, which grew 12 percent last year. So far this year Nike reports almost half of its growth has come from its DTC segment. Celect is a cloud-based inventory monitoring program that senses hyper-local demand to optimize dead stock and minimize returns. COO Eric Sprunk said Celect is part of Nike's action plan to "be insight-driven, data optimized and hyper-focused on consumer behavior." Nike also acquired data analytics firm Zodiac last year and 3-D scanning firm Invertex. - BARRONS

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3. "Stranger Things" actress Millie Bobbie Brown is Danish jewelry brand Pandora's newest global brand ambassador. Chief Creative and Brand Officer Stephen Fairchild said she's "the perfect ambassador for the next generation." Millie is 15 years old and has two Emmy nominations for her work as Eleven on Netflix's hit series. She's the youngest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and was also the youngest person named on Time's list of most influential people. The campaign launches in October and is part of Pandora's rebranding goals of reaching a younger consumer through a fresh commercial approach. - PEOPLE

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4. Sears and Kmart are closing 26 underperforming stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in October and will begin liquidation sales this month. Transform Co., the retailers' parent company, said it is struggling to overcome "a generally weak retail environment," and may close more stores in the future. Sears emerged from bankruptcy in February and began opening smaller format stores called Sears Home & Life that average 12,000 square feet – compared to the legacy department store's traditional 160,000 square feet of space. - CNN

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5. Gin Lane, the New York creative branding agency that launched Rockets of Awesome, Stadium Goods, and Harry's closed and is transforming into a DTC holding company called Pattern. Pattern's first new brand is a kitchenware brand called Equal Parts. Camille Baldwin, VP of brand, said Pattern's operations are modeled after old customer service from mom-and-pop stores where customers came for advice as well as to shop. Pattern calls this "direct-with-consumer." - DTC DAILY

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6. Pizza Hut is closing about 500 dine-in restaurants to focus on delivery and carryout. Pizza Hut started experimenting with self-service pick-up lockers last month. Pizza Hut is owned by Yum! Brands, which also owns Taco Bell and KFC. Yum! Brands' CEO Greg Creed said on an earnings call that the decision to close restaurants was part of a transformation plan to create a "more compelling off-premise focused asset strategy." - TODAY

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7. FedEx ended its ground delivery service partnership with Amazon, but check out this way dreamier story of someone else who quit Amazon because he won the UK's "Set for Life" lottery jackpot. Dean Weymes was a 24-year-old shift employee for Amazon delivery in the UK who won the lottery and will get $12,000 a month for the next 30 years. He told Amazon HR that he'd "won lottery/retirement" when he was quitting and they didn't believe him.

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8. Equinox is launching on-demand workout streaming and connected home equipment for its brands that include SoulCycle and Precision Run that will directly compete with Peloton. Jason LaRose, CEO of Equinox Media, said the content will "captur[e] the energy and excitement of what it’s like to ride in the dark with 59 of your friends [in SoulCycle]." The platform launches invite-only in the fall and a public launch is expected next year. Meanwhile, customers might boycott Equinox and SoulCycle because the companies' billionaire owner Stephen Ross is hosting a fundraiser for President Trump in the Hamptons. - FAST COMPANY

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9. Nigeria is proposing a 5 percent VAT tax that would affect Jumia which is aiming to become Africa's version of Amazon. Jumia was called a fraud in a Citron report. One South African said "it makes me really skeptical that they didn't make a push in one of Africa's stronger economies," while another Redditor asked "Who could be dumb enough to catch this falling Nigerian knife?" Going even farther into Nigerian apparel, here are some drawings of traditional Yoruba dress drawn by an American teenager.

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10. Subway is launching the plant-based Beyond Meatball Marinara, a meatless version of its classic meatball sub. Subway plans to test it in 685 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. It's got 24 grams of protein in each six-inch sub and will first be available in September. - THE VERGE

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Written and curated by Cassidy Mantor, a brand storyteller with a decade of retail marketing experience including in-house at Nike and Oakley. Occasionally she writes a “think piece” about fashion law for the American Bar Association. She is happy to be based in coastal Virginia except when there’s a hurricane. She can be found on LinkedIn.

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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