Inside Retail - November 15th, 2019

Inside Retail (Nov 15th, 2019)

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1. Walmart beat quarterly earnings estimates due to a strong grocery business and e-comm growth and raised its annual earnings forecast for the second time this year, the company announced Thursday. Revenue grew 2.5 percent for the quarter ending October 31, but the real winner was e-commerce sales, which were up 41 percent. Vox reported in July that Walmart's e-comm was on track to lose $1 billion. CEO Doug McMillon addressed Walmart's e-comm issues saying, "we need to do more and move faster." McMillon added in the earnings statement that the company needs to "translate this repetitive food and consumable volume into a stronger business." Amazon is Walmart's largest e-comm competitor. Walmart's market cap is $344.1 billion compared to Amazon's $869.2 billion. Walmart same-store-sales were up 3.2 percent for the quarter, compared to 3.1 percent forecast. - CNBC

2. Nike is ending its two-year direct selling partnership with Amazon and analysts have predicted it will trigger other brands to discontinue their Amazon shops as well. Birkenstock CEO validated Nike's decision to pull out of Amazon and said, "brand equity... and the special relationship you have with your ... consumers can never be compromised... [A]ny ‘partner’ or potential business partner must share these same brand values... or you cannot be in a relationship." Birkenstock stopped selling on Amazon three years ago for similar brand control issues. A Nike spokesperson said the company will "focus on elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships." A Jeffries analyst told CNBC that "brands don't need Amazon," and that it drives traffic but "it doesn't build communities." Nike will replace outgoing CEO Mark Parker with Jeff Donahoe, former CEO of eBay and Chairman at PayPal. - CNBC

3. Flashback Friday: The Motorola Razr is back in the form of a $1,500 foldable Android smartphone. The Verge reported that Motorola said the new flip phone will be durable and "last for the average lifespan of a smartphone." The new Razr has a 6.2" pOLED screen when flipped open. It is the same thickness as the original from 2004. The new one opens to a completely flat display but folds down much smaller than other smartphones. There's a "retro Razr" mode that includes fully functional touchscreen buttons like the original.

The original Razr launched in 2004 and cost $499. Motorolla sold 130 million of them. Pink Razrs dropped in 2005, and the phone cost $49 by 2007. The Razr was on the market before iPhones and could only hold up to 100 iTunes songs. Motorola assembled a team in 2015 to start developing the new one which is the first Razr in seven years. One person argued, "$1500 is just too much for nostalgia, and I am still not sold on the foldable screens. The idea is great though, we will see how it all pans out in a year or two."

Do you crave the Razr? If you're considering getting the new Razr (or not), reply to share why.

4. Chinese e-comm giant Alibaba held a secondary listing of stock on the Hong Kong exchange. The secondary listing is expected to be worth $13.4 billion, the largest in nine years. Strategically, Reuters pointed out it will help the company "gain goodwill from Beijing," while trade and political conditions are uncertain. Alibaba is keeping its primary listing in New York (NYSE: BABA) because of "deep capital markets." - SCMP

5. The American Apparel and Footwear Association is asking for an end to tariffs and a trade war. On Wednesday, the association said it wants to get back to "fostering U.S. innovation." The comment was made in response to President Trump's statement that the U.S. would renew the tariff threat against China if the countries couldn't get to a deal. Other industry trade groups echoed AAFA's statement. The National Retail Federation supports a trade deal. The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America told Footwear News that, "the general atmosphere is somewhat of optimism" that a deal is close. - FN

6. Digitally native skincare and cosmetics brand Glossier's founder Emily Weiss was named to TIME's 100 Next most influential people. Alexis Ohanian wrote about her that, "she teaches us all that a relentless focus on community is what matters when it comes to building a best-in-class brand." Weiss started Glossier out of a blog she wrote called Into the Gloss. Glossier launched in 2014 and reached unicorn status this March. Weiss said she wanted this recognition to help tell "girls everywhere, may you know how much power you have to change the world - HYPEBAE

7. Sears is laying off hundreds of corporate employees. The announcement comes after Transformco, the parent company of Sears, announced 96 store closures last week. The actual number of layoffs is not known, but Business Insider says it is under 300. Jobs cut will be both in offices in Illinois and in San Francisco. There were 250 other corporate-level layoffs in September. - BUSINESS INSIDER

8. Adidas is testing the second generation of its Futurecraft Loop shoe, a 100 percent fully recycled shoe it developed in eight months. An Adidas running footwear developer wrote in a blog post, "We collected the shoes, recycled them, kept them in our supply chain and ultimately remade the recycled material into new running shoe components." The shoe was initially launched in April so that it could be beta tested and the materials from the beta tests recycled into this model which will officially launch in spring/summer 2021. - SNEAKER BAR DETROIT

9. British luxury brand Burberry partnered with Chinese internet company Tencent to create a store powered by the same tech platform as WeChat. The new store is in Shenzhen and will offer "unique experiences that connect luxury customers' social and online lives to their physical environments." The store design features murals that are great social media backdrops, art installations, mirrors, and unique design that translates well to in-store photos. The Shenzhen "social retail" store will open in the first half of next year. - BLOOMBERG

10. Gucci launched a beachy Snapchat 3D Portal Lens that takes users to a 3D beach with a holiday vibe where they can interact with Gucci bags and accessories. The lens is part of Gucci's holiday campaign conceived by creative director Alessandro Michele that transports people to "sunny shores and below deck celebrations with trees and decorations." L'Oreal and Michael Kors have also sponsored Snapchat lenses for marketing campaigns. - ENGADGET

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.

This newsletter is edited by Bobby Cherry, senior editor at Inside and a Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist who also curates Inside Pittsburgh. Reach him at

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