Inside Retail - August 16th, 2019

Inside Retail (Aug 16th, 2019)

The Pill Club and CVS / Avocado injuries / Pumpkin spice

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1. #BoycottCVS and #CVSDeniesCare were trending after mail-order birth control prescription start-up The Pill Club circulated information that CVS proposed changes to coverage. CVS called The Pill Club's "accusations... extremely misleading." The Twitter debate shows how start-ups can leverage social media to gain brand awareness and even improve their negotiating power when breaking into new markets. I wanted to get to the bottom of what's going on, though, so I asked @CVSpharmacy if that means no changes. The company hasn't yet responded to my tweet. - NEWSWEEK

2. Equinox donated $1 million to charity to offset the potential boycott stemming from when members found out that owner Stephen Ross held a high-ticket fundraiser for President Trump at his Hamptons home. Chairman Harvey Spivak reportedly wrote a memo to members that said, "While I don’t have all the answers, what we have heard from many of you is that you would like Equinox to immediately help amplify your voice in support of causes we as a community have always held close." The money was divided among five charities that are aligned with Equinox's brand values: Cycle for Survival (cancer research), The Heroes Project (veterans rehab), The Felix Organization (foster care), Move for Minds (Alzheimer's), and House Lives Matter (LGBTQ). Members can pick what charity they would like to donate to every time they check-in at the gym. - PAGE SIX

3. Pumpkin Spice of the Week. In the inimitable words of Reese Witherspoon, “It’s Fall, y’all!" Starbucks launches the Pumpkin Spice Latte on Aug. 27, so it's not too early to start looking at all the retail applications of pumpkin spice this year.

Hit reply and tell me, do you ring in fall with a PSL or do you avoid all things pumpkin spice? And if you see a pumpkin spice product, send me an email so I can share it with you.

4. Athleisure sales are expected to outpace global apparel and footwear sales over the next five years and the category is on track to increase 9 percent this year, according to research by analytics firm GlobalData. Honor Strachan, lead retail analyst for GlobalData said, "over the next five years, the sportswear market will be one of the leading retail sectors." A marketing manager for Lycra said "only 50% of consumers are buying activewear for sports use." - JUST STYLE

5. Athleisure company prAna is running a Dream Job contest where the winner will be awarded $100,000 to quit their job and pursue their true calling. PrAna's contest is meant to give " a friendly nudge to help you make that leap." The contest makes me wonder if recession marketing is going to become a thing. MillerCoors earlier this week announced it would pay rent for a year to winners of its Keystone Light contest. - MEN'S JOURNAL

6. An average of 24 people per day went to the ER from avocado-related injuries last year. The Hass Avocado Board tracks daily sales and reports over 1.1 billion avocados have sold in the U.S. so far this year. Over 30.7 million pounds of avocados sold last week. I have this Avocado Shark I got at TJ Maxx after too many near misses, and I don't understand how it doesn't have 5-star reviews on Amazon. There are only two comments on Amazon about it but one calls the shark a novelty item and another calls it awkward. I think getting "avocado hand" would be a lot more awkward, right?

Avocado toast is a global economic driver, too. The Vancouver condo market is so competitive that one developer offered potential buyers a free year supply of either wine or avocado toast. This 33-year-old has never had avocado toast, though.

7. July retail sales were up 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted from last month, and up 5.6 percent unadjusted from last year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The National Retail Federation's chief economist cautioned that "the impact of volatile financial markets and increased trade tensions in recent weeks may put a wind of caution in consumer spending as we move forward in 2019." Amazon Prime Day boosted e-comm 2.8 percent seasonally adjusted over June, and 19.3 percent unadjusted from last year. Grocery, healthcare, home furniture, and sporting goods showed year-over-year growth while clothing, electronics, and garden supply stores were down year-over-year. - NRF

8. UPS made a minority investment in self-driving tractor-trailer truck startup TuSimple. TuSimple is a four-year-old startup that claims it can cut delivery costs by 30 percent. Although Scott Price, chief strategy officer at UPS acknowledged that "fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead," TuSimple and UPS have been testing the tech on a delivery route in Arizona since May. - TECH CRUNCH

9. An editorial in Fashionista asks whether the word "store" is a dirty word in retail. Trend service WGSN's Senior Retail Editor Sidney Morgan-Petro told Fashionista that the word store "certainly doesn't have the same buzz as an 'experience' or 'concept." Digitally native brands like Goop and Glossier may have helped kickstart the shift away from using the word "store," but the question highlights how any retailer still referring to its physical presence as a store might be outdated. - FASHIONISTA

10. Digitally native athleisure brand Outdoor Voices is relaunching its best-selling Exercise Dress. The dress launched last year and sold out within a week. To hype the relaunch, OV held a dance class activation at Lincoln Center where all customers taking the class wore the dress. Founder and CEO Tyler Haney told Adweek, " We’ve really grown by mobilizing our community, and instead of being obsessed with ‘How do we get more members and more people?’ [we’re] really focusing on ‘How do we make what we have and the tools we offer to the community more valuable and potent?"

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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