Inside Retail - August 19th, 2019

Inside Retail (Aug 19th, 2019)

Target, Estee Lauder earnings / Amazon Japan / Nike AF1 Croc-like sandals

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Hi Readers!

Twitter was upset over a new Nike Air Force 1 sandal that looks like Crocs. Scroll down to see this story. I think they're hideous, but I'm also confused about why nobody said they look like Dr. Martens, which I'd guess is more of the inspiration since the '90s are back in a big way. I like AF1s but I'd never wear these. Would you?

Also I'm trying to make the Twitter 100 retail list the best ever so please send me names of retail people you like to follow on Twitter and subscribe to my Smart Retail Peeps list here

Have a good Monday!


1. Target will report its second quarter earnings this Wednesday and analysts expect the results to continue to be positive. Target's stock price has gained 25 percent this year so far and was up 15 percent after a strong  Q1 report. CEO Brian Cornell said that the good performance after Q1 was because of Target's "operating and financial model that drives consumer relevance and sustainable growth." Lowe's, Nordstrom, and L Brands (Victoria's Secret, Bath and Body Works) will all also report their quarterly earnings on Wednesday. - ALPHA STREET

2. Tesla relaunched its solar-panel program for homes with a no-contract rental program that Elon Musk called "like having a money printer on your roof if you live in a state with high electricity costs." Musk said it's not going to solve everything but solar panels are a step in the right direction. Tesla has seen declines in solar panel installations for the past three quarters which is bad news since it bought SolarCity for $2.6 billion. Bloomberg reported that Tesla only produced 29 megawatts of solar energy in Q2 while at SolarCity's height, its quarterly production hit 200mw. - BLOOMBERG

3. Case of the Mondays: Nike changed its performance requirement policy for professional athletes during and after pregnancy so there are no requirements to race for up to 18 months around pregnancy and childbirth. The announcement circulated in a letter from Nike's EVP of sports marketing and explained the company removed performance-related pay cuts roughly from when the athlete knows she is pregnant through her first year of motherhood. Nike's performance expectations during pregnancy for its sponsored athletes first garnered attention in May in a NYT op-ed from Olympic runner Alysia Montaño. Other former Nike athletes told their stories of having to start racing again before they were physically and emotionally ready or they would have their pay reduced or dropped.

Former Nike-Athlete Allyson Felix tweeted the letter sharing the policy updates and commented "Our voices have power." She told BBC Sport that the changes mean women will "no longer be financially penalized for having a child." Felix left Nike and signed a deal with Athleta just two weeks ago.

In other Nike sports marketing news, texts and emails from Nike employees were entered into evidence in Federal Court on Friday to support allegations that Nike paid high school basketball players and their families as much as $100,000 to commit to its Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL). Zion Williamson, the top NBA draft pick from Duke who signed with Nike's Jordan Brand last month, is one of the players allegedly mentioned.  An email from a player handler allegedly details money spent such as "Feb. 9th - $5,000 for March to mom $3,500 for Bahamas to dad.'

4. There are approximately 175 digitally-native bed-in-a-box companies that account for 12 percent of the total $16.5 billion mattress sales industry, according to the founder of mattress review site Purple, Casper, Leesa, and Nectar are some of the companies that use proprietary materials, but the market is saturated and its confusing to customers. David Srere, co-CEO of ad agency Siegel+Gale said "If you go online, ... all of them look alike." - CNBC

5. Here's a look at how Japanese brand Muji grew from a brand founded on basic home products rooted in an anti-consumer movement to a global lifestyle brand sold in over 975 stores. A company spokesperson said while the economy supported more luxury imports at the time, "poor-quality, low-priced goods were appearing on the market, and this had a polarizing effect on consumption patterns." The company keeps costs down by relying on word-of-mouth advertising. Its bestselling items include beauty products, storage units, and stationery  - SCMP

6. Amazon is building its delivery driver network in Japan as e-comm orders grow faster than the population that can deliver them in country. Amazon Japan customers have had packages arrive early and the general consensus is the service is reliable. This guy got his Amazon Japan order before his Best Buy order delivered. Also, did you know in 2016 Amazon Japan launched a budget monk-delivery service? 

7. Estée Lauder reported fourth quarter earnings before the market opened today and beat sales estimates by 9 percent fueled by its Asia-Pacific business and double-digit growth for skincare brand La Mer. While sales rose to $3.59 billion for the quarter ending June 30, net earnings fell to $157 million down from $186 million in the same quarter last year. President and CEO Fabrizio Freda called FY2019 "outstanding" and pointed to "investments in our strategic priorities" that include "data analytics that helped power our innovation and digital marketing."

Freda also noted "macro volatility and challenges in several key markets" and said the company's strong performance was based on programs for skincare, travel retail, and online. In addition to skincare, MAC, Tom Ford Beauty, and La Mer also showed double-digit growth in makeup sales which offset lower net sales from Clinique and Smashbox. MAC showed most of its growth in Greater China, Japan and the Middle East. Tom Ford Beauty launched on Tmall and drove growth in China, Israel, India and Singapore. - YAHOO / REUTERS

8. The American beauty industry is seeing a change in terminology from cosmetics to skincare, and Vogue Business took a deeper look at why the difference matters. The gist of Vogue Business's article is that the U.S. no longer fuels cosmetics sales because consumers have shifted to online brands that focus on skincare and wellness instead of traditional cosmetics products like blush, foundation, and lipstick. Jane Hali, chief executive of retail investment researchers Jane Hali & Associates said that "It’s all about wellness and a proactive skincare regimen that prioritizes a more natural look." CBD-infused skincare, algae-infused skincare, and wildcraft skincare are three examples of trends that show the shift in consumer preference. Companies leading the way are of course Goop, Versed, and Fleur & Bee. - VOGUE BUSINESS

9. Econyl is an eco-friendly nylon-like fabric that was developed from plastic garbage found in the ocean, is traceable, and is being adopted by luxury brands who will lead the way in the greater sustainability movement. Econyl first launched in 2011 and is made by an Italian recycling company named Aquafil. Prada plans to replace all of its nylon bags with Econyl in two years, and luxury brands Burberry and Gucci are also switching to the more sustainable material. Earlier this spring, France's president asked the CEO of French fashion conglomerate Kering, Francois-Henri Pinault, to speak about sustainability in the fashion industry at the G7 summit this year which takes place beginning this Saturday. Kering was the first luxury manufacturer to switch to Econyl which was a big deal because luxury brands have heightened scrutiny where they have to meet internal product standards as well as consumer expectations. Kering's director of its Materials Innovation Lab said, "We need the highest-quality materials, and Econyl ... performs as well as conventional nylon." - VOGUE BUSINESS

10. Nike made these Air Force 1 shoes and people think they look like Crocs. This user called the shoe Crocs X Nike Air Force 1s. (It is not a collab with Crocs.)  Here, someone points out "If you're thinking about Crocs but haven't quite given up yet, Nike's new joggers are for you!"

I actually think they look more like a strange ripoff of Docs. Would you wear them? 

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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