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Inside Retail (Aug 15th, 2019)

Hi readers!

ThredUp is going into Macy's and JCPenney stores now. I'm still unpacking what this means for ThredUp's brand value as well as what it means for expanding the second-hand mindset to American shoppers.

Hit reply and tell me whether you think it's good for ThredUp to be in department stores or whether it takes the second-hand movement backwards by going into dying stores?

Also, I'm working on my top 100 retail accounts to follow on Twitter – or as I've named it, "Smart Retail Peeps." Send me your favorites to follow and be sure to subscribe to the list.

– Cassidy

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1. Walmart beat Q2 earnings expectations and reported before the opening bell this morning that same store sales were up 2.8 percent this quarter. The company's stock price increased 6 percent before trading began today. Walmart got a sales bump from Amazon's two-day Prime Day in July, and reported 37 percent growth in e-comm sales this quarter. The company adjusted its earnings for the year and is now anticipating same store sales will show less of a dip than it originally forecast for the duration of FY20. CEO Doug McMillon said, "We're on track to exceed our original earnings expectations for the year Trade relations between the U.S. and China are an ongoing concern for business. CFO Brett Biggs told CNBC that the threat of higher prices resulting from more tariffs has Walmart "working to find a nice balance between our customers and shareholders.” - CNBC

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2. Macy's reported quarterly earnings yesterday and the CEO is blaming a bad Q2, in part, due to too many markdowns and cushioned the blow by announcing a new partnership with resale site ThredUp, as well as the launch of a subscription service at Bloomingdale's. Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette attributed the company's failure to meet analysts' expectations to "a miss on fashion in our key women’s sportswear private brands, slow sell-through of warm weather apparel, [and the] accelerated decline in international tourism." Macy's share price fell 12 percent, while rival department stores also saw their stock prices drop and the S&P Retail ETF dropped to its lowest in two years after the earnings call.

Looking forward, Macy's will pilot ThredUp second-hand sales in 40 stores to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z. It is also testing a subscription model called My List @ Bloomingdales. It plans to roll out a similar subscription to Macy's after analyzing key learnings from Bloomingdale's. Gennette said of the subscription model, "We need to play in this game." Macy's also needs to play a little more on Instagram. Content from influencers using #macyslove is way more interesting than Macy's official Insta (which feels old, to be honest). - CNBC

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3. JCPenney reported mixed earnings for Q2 2019 before the opening bell this morning, appointed a new SVP/GMM for its Home category, and is partnering with ThredUp to sell second-hand product in stores. If the ThredUp news sounds familiar, it's because Macy's also announced a partnership with the company. JCPenney lost $48 million this quarter compared to its $101 million loss last year over the same period ending August 3. Revenue fell to $2.62 billion from last year's $2.8 billion. The legacy department store is also carrying $4 billion in debt and was notified last week that it might be kicked off the NYSE because the company's stock price had dropped below the minimum $1/share valuation.

  • Going forward, JCPenney is partnering with clothing resale site ThredUp to pilot 30 shop-in-shops beginning this week. Michelle Wlazlo, EVP and chief merchant for JCPenney, said the chain is testing "how this resonates with customers," adding the shops will be an in-store "experience that makes high-end brands attainable, as well as catering to eco-minded consumers who want more sustainable options in their wardrobe.”
  • JCP also hired Stacey Shively to lead the Home Store where she will focus on product development, inventory planning, and merchandising. Shively's experience includes merchandising at Deal$ (a chain that was bought out and rebreanded by Dollar Tree over a decade ago) and Fingerhut. She spent the first 17 years of her career at Target.
  • In case you're wondering where JCP went wrong, here are some used golf clubs someone found for sale in a JCPenney last month. Two months ago, a gang of racoons apparently ran through a Brooklyn store. JCP is failing to capitalize on the only thing it has going for it: the place to take ironic family photos.

What's your take: What do you think can give JCPenney a boost to turn things around? Put on your CEO hat and hit reply to share your best ideas with me.

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4. Germany's GDP shrank 0.1 percent from April to June 30 this year, following a 0.4 percent decline in Q1. Germany is the world's fourth largest economy and largest in Europe. Reasons for the decline were fewer auto sales, a decrease in exports to China, and uncertainty around Brexit. - BBC

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5. China's B2C e-comm giant JD.com reported Q2 earnings that beat analysts' expectations, citing trade tensions with the U.S. as a key driver of profitability. JD.com reported losses for the past three years but reported $90.1 million profit for this quarter ending June 30, 2019. CFO Sidney Huang said there are quantities of unbranded low-price Chinese goods sitting in factories that are not being turned into private label, as they normally would. Huang told CNBC, "We think it’s a good opportunity for us to reach down to those quality manufacturers, so we can provide those products at a really good value to our consumers." JD.com is also seeing growth from the opportunity created when Amazon ceased competing and stopped selling Chinese goods in China in April. - CNBC

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6. The number of Gen Z Americans carrying a credit card balance has increased 41 percent over the past year to over 7.7 million people, according to the Q2 2019 Industry Insights Report from credit monitoring service TransUnion. Matt Komos, VP of research and consulting at TransUnion said “The rapid growth in Gen Z credit activity is occurring despite many of these individuals having grown up during the Great Recession." Gen Z still only accounts for 5 percent of Americans carrying a credit card balance and appears to be more inclined to save than spend like their older Millennial siblings. - MARKETWATCH

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7. Britney Spears went to Target 80 times last year, according to conservatorship papers obtained by The Blast. That's a Target run one to two times a week, which is pretty normal for many of us. It looks like she bought something SpongeBob on this trip.

Hit reply and tell me, do you think she ever does self checkout?

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8. Selena Gomez is preparing to launch a beauty line, according to a recent trademark application. WWD reported the application was for "fragrances, cosmetics, skin-care preparations, hair-care preparations, soaps, moisturizers and essential oils." Gomez also works with Coach and Puma. - THE CUT

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9. American label DKNY partnered with the NFL to launch a women's apparel collection celebrating the league's 100th year. DKNY x NFL will include athleisure-inspired dresses, leggings, cropped hoodies, and coats with a better fit than the scaled-down men's jerseys traditionally offered to women. The line will be available starting this month online at the NFL, Fanatics, DKNY, and Macy's. DKNY collaborated with MLB earlier this year for another women's sportswear-influenced collection. - WWD

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10. The Rolex worn by Sean Connery in the first James Bond movie "Dr. No" is on the auction block along with other unique watches. Sotheby's estimated the piece will sell between $180,000 and $280,000. The item description calls it "an incredibly rare variation of an already highly collectable" watch. The online auction closes on Aug. 20. - CNN

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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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