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Inside Retail (Aug 14th, 2019)

1. Mattel and Hasbro stock price rose after the U.S. delayed tariff hikes until Dec. 15, when retail inventory for the holiday season will have already been imported. Mattel shares rose 6 percent and Hasbro was up 5 percent after the announcement. The most recent round of tariff hikes on Chinese imports was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, and retailers including Hasbro said they would have no choice but to pass the costs to consumers. The United States Trade Representative said "health, safety, national security and other factors" were the reasons for delaying tariffs. The National Retail Federation said, "we are pleased the administration is delaying some tariffs ahead of the holiday season and acknowledging the impact on American consumers." - CNBC

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2. Fortune is reporting Amazon is near closing a deal that would give it 10 percent stake in India's second-largest retailer, Future Retail Ltd. The deal would give Amazon direct-to-consumer access in India through Big Bazaar, Future Group's flagship grocery chain. Walmart and Amazon are competing for India, which is the last large emerging market to win after Amazon stopped selling Chinese goods in China. Walmart bought Indian e-tailer Flipkart last year for $16 billion. Flipkart was last reported to be in talks to buy Indian grocery chain Namdhari Fresh and launched an online grocery in May. - FORTUNE

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3. By the Numbers: A new free report from IHL Group found for every one retail store that has closed this year, five new stores have actually opened. IHL Group found retailers are doing better than last year, with bankruptcies and financially troubled retailers down 65 percent from 2018. Other key findings include:

  • 75 percent of store retail store closures in 2019 belong to 20 chains.
  • Payless accounts for 20 percent of the closures in 2019, closing 2,354 stores this year.
  • Dollar General opened 975 new stores and Dollar Tree opened 500 new stores.

Running lists of retail bankruptcies are constantly updated with what seems like a new retailer added to the list regularly. New York City Council is even getting involved with the issue of vacant storefronts. The IHL report is a fresh take on the "retail apocalypse." Although e-comm sales are forecast to grow to 12.4 percent of total retail sales in the U.S. in 2020, retail will always have a physical component to sell.

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4. Apparel label Rag & Bone is the second brand to pull out of showing at New York Fashion Week at Hudson Yards for the developer's financial ties to President Trump. Stephen Ross, owner of Equinox and SoulCycle, is the developer of the venue. Ross first came under fire for hosting a fundraiser for President Trump at his Hamptons home with tickets going for as much as $250,000 each. Although Equinox and SoulCycle tried to distance their brands from Ross, consumers were not happy and threatened a boycott. Rag & Bone follows designer Prabal Gurung who also dropped out of the NYFW show at Hudson Yards. - WWD

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5. Steve Madden acquired women's contemporary fashion brand BB Dakota a day after acquiring menswear sneaker startup Greats. Madden said, "BB Dakota is so in tune with the Steve Madden girl. I always thought it would be great to combine forces." The day before, Madden said Greats sneakers "are the talk among all the millennial men I encounter." Steve Madden's portfolio includes Dolce Vita and Betsey Johnson, as well as licenses for Kate Spade, DKNY, and Superga. - NASDAQ

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6. Silicon Valley-favorite direct-to-consumer sneaker start-up Allbirds is expanding into socks with a new product line called Soul Mates. Allbirds posted this cotton candy-puppy-duckling filled promo video on Twitter to explain how snuggly soft the new ankle socks are. Although it seems like it's a 50-50 split on whether people are wearing Allbirds with socks, the new socks are made from trees and merino wool in a fabric Allbirds is calling Trino. They're $12 to $16 each.

Do you wear sneakers without socks? Hit reply and let me know!

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7. Dick's Sporting Goods converted three stores in Wisconsin to clearance outlets that only sell apparel and footwear. The clearance store in Green Bay carries 17 clothing brands as well as licensed apparel for in-market college and professional teams like the Packers. Dick's did not give more information about whether the clearance stores are part of a larger retail strategy. Dick's also launched its private label athletic line named DSG this month after first announcing the line in March. DSG is a lower price point than Nike and Under Armour and is meant to be inclusive in size and budget.  - JOURNALTIMES

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8. Kohl's department store launched "Curated by Kohl's," a partnership with Facebook, to bring digital-first brands in store. Kohl's will use Facebook's data to pick top apparel and home furnishing brands in select stores. Kohl's will kick off the partnership this fall by bringing its first group of digitally native brands including lingerie brand Adore Me and plus-size clothing brand Dia & Co. to 50 stores. The Facebook partnership is another example of why Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass will receive the National Retail Federation's Visionary award for 2020. - CNN

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9. The German government is promoting eco fashion and is piloting its green button seal program that will help consumers measure the social and environmental impact of textiles. Grüner Knopt (green button) was first proposed in March and will begin a pilot program in September. In the private sector, The Higg Index is another name to know in eco fashion and is a set of tools used by global brands that want to increase transparency in the sustainability journey. - THEMDS

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10. Keystone Light is trying to recruit beer drinkers age 21 through 24 and is running a sweepstakes where it will pay a year's rent for 13 winners. An associate brand manager for MillerCoors said in a blog post, “Our research shows that if consumers choose beer at age 21, they’re more likely to stick with beer throughout their lifetime.” People age 21 and up can enter using Snapchat through Sept. 29. - FAST COMPANY

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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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