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Inside Retail (Oct 9th, 2019)

Hi retail readers!

As retail peeps, we are always thinking ahead of the regular calendar. Black Friday shopping is on my mind and I'm sure it's on yours too. I'm curious, where will you do your Black Friday shopping this year? Hit reply and let me know!

Cassidy

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1. After going bankrupt and closing all stores last year, Toys R Us is coming back this holiday season with a new e-comm site powered by Target. Apparently Toys R Us held something like a bidding war to see which retailer would be the best fit, and Target emerged on top. The CEO of Toys R Us parent company TRU Kids said, "We spoke to a lot of different folks as we went through this process," and “What inspired me about Target was their investment in the category." Target's wide assortment, efficient supply chain, and "understanding of the [toy] category" sealed the deal. Target opened its first 25 toy spaces that are co-branded with Disney, and added a quarter-million of permanent square footage for toys in store. After Holiday 2018, Target reported comps up 5.7 percent, led by toy. Customers can now shop the new ToysRUs.com site. - CNBC

Target has partnered with Disney and now Toys R Us. Who do you think is next up for the retailer? Hit reply and let me know!

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2. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected hearing a request from Domino's Pizza to have a lawsuit about its website reviewed for ADA accessibility compliance. NRF's SVP and GC Stephanie Martz said, "Without guidance on what rules should apply, litigation will continue to divert resources from actually making websites accessible.” The case is relevant to all retailers because there are a "growing number of website accessibility cases being filed" claimining that websites do not meet the ADA's "public accessiblity" requirements, and the decisions vary from state to state. Verdicts range from $10,000 to $90,000. The basic premise of this case, as with the others in the same line of lawsuits, is that the retailers' websites are not compatible wth screen reading software so visually impaired consumers have a significantly worse experience online. For more on the e-comm issue of retailers dealing with ADA website claims, start here with this piece the NRF wrote back in August. - SLATE

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3. Industry commentators are taking guesses at what kinds of deals to expect for Walmart's Black Friday 2019. The retailer opens early and has traditionally followed a predictable model that includes promotions like a $300 gift card when activating a new cell phone service plan. As InStyle points out, although "Walmart isn't exactly the place to go to find high-end designer fashions," its free one-day shipping and no-membership e-comm model is poised to give Amazon a run for its money this year. - FORBES

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4. Seattle-based textile tech startup Evrnu secured $9 million in Series A funding. CEO and co-founder Stacy Flynn said, “If there is an industry that can show the world how beautiful something can be, it is the fashion industry fully embracing regenerative design." Evrnu most recently made a sweatshirt out of fully recycled fabric for Stella McCartney's adidas line. Evrnu has also worked with Levi's on recycled denim jeans. - MDS

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5. Virgil Abloh is on doctor's orders to take time off from Off-White, Louis Vuitton, and DJing, but you can still get your fix looking at these pictures that Justin Bieber's wife posted of her wedding dress designed by Abloh. Hailey Baldwin posted on her Insta "@virgilabloh thank you for making my vision come to life and creating my dream dress. You and your @off____white team are incredible and I’m forever grateful I got to wear your beautiful creation." The dress included an on-brand veil that said, "TILL DEATH DO US PART." - ELLE

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6. Japanese beauty conglomerate Shiseido acquired skincare brand Drunk Elephant for $845 million. Drunk Elephant's founder, Tiffany Masterson, wrote on Instagram, "we've found someone who respects my vision and the brand identity and is willing to let us stay who we are." Drunk Elephant was founded in 2012 and is popular with younger U.S. consumers interested in clean and natural beauty. - BLOOMBERG

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7. Adidas launched its first extended size collection in partnership with plus-size brand Universal Standard. "It was a really interesting experience, and we shared a lot of our learnings with them and they with us," said Universal Standard's co-founder and creative director. The launch collection includes hoodies, tops, and bottoms in four colors. The line debuts online and in select Adidas stores in sizes XXS through 4XL. - FASHIONISTA

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8. Walmart-owned men's e-tailer Bonobos is making a round of several dozen layoffs. Vox reported that a Walmart spokesperson did not state whether the layoffs were corporate or at retail locations in the field. Walmart bought Bonobos for $310 million two years ago. Walmart also sold women's e-tailer ModCloth for an undisclosed amount rumored to be less than half of what it bought it for two years ago after failing with that company too. - WSJ

Hit reply and tell me when a large retailer has bought a smaller brand and it's actually worked out in the long run for both brands!

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9. Walgreens and Kroger will stop the sale of e-cigarettes in response to uncertainties in proposed federal regulation on vaping. Kroger said it was "due to the mounting questions and increasingly-complex regulatory environment" and Walgreens also cited "developing regulations." The retailers' decision to ban e-cigs comes as the Trump Administration is trying to crack down on vaping on issues of public safety. Trump said in September that vaping is "causing a lot of problems, and we're going to have to do something about it." CBS, Viacom, and WarnerMedia agreed to drop adds selling e-cigs, and Walmart also announced it would not sell the products. - LA TIMES

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10. Lululemon and the United Nations foundation launched a partnership to draw awareness to physical and mental health of humanitarian workers. A YouTube video explains that "working in the world's most challenging crises means giving a lot." Lulu CEO Calvin McDonald said, "with increasing need for international humanitarian aid and peacekeeping, we want to cultivate the long-lasting benefits of mindfulness tools and sustain support for those whose mission is to serve others. Lululemon and the UN piloted the Peace on Purpose program over the past three years. More than half the workers who participated in the program found higher rates of well-being measured by factors such as anxiety, stress, trauma, and distress. - SHOP-EAT-SURF

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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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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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