Inside Retail - November 20th, 2019

Inside Retail (Nov 20th, 2019)

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Hi Retail readers!

We're in the thick of companies reporting their earnings. Target had a wildly successful Q3, with total revenue for the quarter growing 4.7 percent. The company rebranded its private-label grocery brands, opened Disney shop-in-shops and is powering Toys R Us's website. It brought back highlights of its Design for All collaborations and I saw moms literally buying every piece when the collection relaunched earlier this fall. Britney Spears is a huge supporter and so am I.

Not all of retail is doing well, though. For all it's great PR and initiatives with Amazon and Facebook, Kohl's delivered a less-than-stellar quarter. My take is because Kohl's doesn't have a clearly defined market share and is in a weird space between Walmart's reach and Target's (dare I say it, bullseye) branding. (#retailpuns)

Let's take this conversation over to Twitter and talk about our favorite things about Target.


1. Thousands of Disney+ user accounts have reportedly been hacked and are being resold for as little as $3. The hacking was first discovered last week when the service launched. Users reported their account logins and passwords were being changed. The BBC found user information was being sold on the dark web. A cybersecurity expert told the BBC that people should have different passwords for every site and people should use password managers to help them remember unique passwords. Most of the passwords were the same as what people had used from previously hacked sites. Disney support has been overwhelmed: one user tweeted they waited three hours on live chat and was forced to delete their account. So far, Disney's response has been that "there is no indication of a security breach on Disney+." - CBS

2. Kylie Jenner sold 51 percent interest in Kylie Cosmetics to CoverGirl parent company Coty for $600 million. "This partnership will allow me and my team to stay focused on the creation and development of each product while building the brand into an international beauty powerhouse," she said in a release. According to Coty, Kylie Cosmetics generated $177 million in revenue in the past year. A portfolio manager told CNBC: "Here’s a company that’s willing to pay for the eyeballs and the followers that Kylie Jenner has more so than anything else. So, this could be a new paradigm for the consumer staples, packaged goods industry which... has been suffering because of weak mall traffic and the rise of e-commerce." Kylie Cosmetics has a partnership with Ulta as well which will continue under the new ownership. Kylie herself has 151 million Instagram followers. Coty's brands include Rimmel and Gucci beauty. - CNN

3. The new head of Lord & Taylor envisions a future of department stores that blends traditional concepts with new shopping methods. In an interview with Footwear News, Ruth Hartman talked about three changes she made in her first week leading the department store, and also about her vision for blending Le Tote's consumer intelligence with L&T's heritage position. Le Tote completed its takeover of Lord & Taylor this month in a deal that showed the power of start-up e-comm. In acknowledging the struggles Lord & Taylor has faced, Hartman said, "things haven’t been fantastic.” Part of her mission is to change the mindset of how a consumer views a department store. Hartman – who's held positions at Macy's, DSW and Le Tote – said she envisions a goal where "we would rent a cocktail dress to a customer for three days [and then the customer can] go online and purchase a pair of shoes [from Lord & Taylor] to go with the dress or maybe some intimate apparel or beauty products.” Macy's and JCPenney have partnered with rental ThredUp to try a similar distribution model that blends rental services with department store brick-and-mortar. - FN

4. Philadelphia-based Boyds will accept Barneys gift cards in exchange for a Boyds store credit up to $250 dollars. Boyds' President Kent Gushner said he expects people will come from New York and New Jersey with outstanding gift cards since the department store closed. Gushner said, "We are taking a loss [but] it won’t put us out of business. It’s something that we felt we had to do. Barneys was a part of people’s lives and touched the lives of so many people in so many different ways. The way it ended left people feeling exposed.” A judge last month approved the bankruptcy sale of Barneys New York to Authentic Brands Group for $271 million. - WWD

5. The Home Depot reported third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts' expectations and adjusted its annual forecast. The company reported revenue for the quarter ending Nov. 3 of $27.22 billion compared to $27.53 billion forecast, and comp store sales grew only 3.6 percent compared to the 4.7 percent expected. Home Depot's CEO explained that "some of the benefits anticipated for fiscal 2019 will take longer to realize than our initial assumptions." The company invested in-store upgrades, a new digital platform, and supply chain improvements that have not yet translated to growth. - CNBC

6. Kohl's earnings missed analysts' quarterly expectations for the third quarter ending Nov. 2. Revenue was $4.36 billion compared with analysts' expectations of $4.40 billion. Comp store growth was 0.4 percent compared with 0.8 percent that analysts forecast. Kohl's attributed the weak results to an "increasingly competitive promotional environment," as well as warmer September weather which resulted in weak fall apparel sales. Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass said that the company "returned to growth during the third quarter." Kohl's is counting on its expanded partnership to accept Amazon returns, a Facebook data-backed curated shop, and exclusive collections from the Olsen Twins and Property Brothers to drive holiday sales. Meanwhile, Kohl's off-price competitor TJX Cos. beat analysts' earnings expectations and showed 4 percent comp store growth over the same period. - CNBC

7. Burger King has been sued by a vegan claiming the Impossible Whopper has been contaminated by meat. The class-action lawsuit was filed Monday in Florida's federal court and claims the plant-based burgers are contaminated because they're cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers and are cooked in meat by-products. The lawsuit alleges false advertising because Burger King has marketed the Impossible Whopper as "100% Whopper, 0% Beef." Burger King's site does disclaim that customers can request their burgers cooked separately, but the plaintiff is seeking damages paid for the "premium price" of the Impossible Whopper. - CNN

8. Popeyes signed its first lease in Shanghai in a move that will kickstart its strategy to compete with KFC in China. Popeyes' parent company CEO Jose Cil said he thinks customers want more options and that, "I think we can be the no.1 Chicken brand here in China and all around Asia." Popeyes announced plans in July to open 1,500 locations in China over the next ten years. The chicken sandwich will be offered there. - REUTERS

9. DTC eyewear company Warby Parker launched Scout contacts. Co-founder and co-CEO David Gilboa told Forbes that they are “the Warby Parker of contacts, literally.” Scout will cost $440 a year for daily disposable lenses. Gilboa said that 40 percent of Warby Parker's customers also wear contacts and they had been asking for them. Warby Parker will also carry contact lens competitors Acuvue, Alcon and CooperVision to "minimize any friction" so customers don't have to go to multiple doctors or locations. - BLOOMBERG

10. Action sports eyewear company Electric signed a licensing deal for Volcom eyewear and goggles. Volcom recently became the official sponsor of the U.S. Snowboard Team and will make the team's Olympic uniforms in Tokyo for the 2020 Games. Volcom is owned by Authentic Brands Group, the new owner of Barneys. The first Volcom eyewear made by Electric will hit the market in 2020. - SES

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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