Inside Ecommerce - November 22nd, 2019

Inside Ecommerce (Nov 22nd, 2019)

Data: Dems prefer Levi's, Republicans wear Wrangler / Earnings: L Brands, Macy's, Lowe's / Taco Bell

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1. Victoria's Secret's parent company L Brands reported mixed third-quarter results for the quarter ending November 2. Comp sales fell 7 percent for Victoria's Secret, although sister brand Bath & Body Works saw sales up 9 percent for the same period. Victoria's Secret has fallen to competitors that offer a more inclusive model for lingerie, ranging from ThirdLove to Target. Although VS updated in-store marketing to include plus-size models and partnered with inclusive brand Bluebella, former CEO Les Wexner's affiliation with Jeffrey Epstein also was bad for the brand. In its quarterly earnings commentary, L Brands said, "We have more work to do, and we recognize that it will take some time to see the improvement in the business." - FOX BUSINESS

2. Macy's reported quarterly earnings on Thursday that missed analysts' expectations and cut its full-year outlook. The department store saw the first decline in two years of comp-store sales at a 3.5 percent drop compared to the 1 percent expected. Markdowns were heavy and hurt sales despite Macy's efforts to try new initiatives like pop-up shops and branded spaces for resale site ThredUp. CEO Jeff Gennette said warm weather and decreased traffic from global tourism and "weaker than anticipated performance in lower-tier malls." Macy's revenue was $5.17 billion compared to $5.32 forecast for the third quarter ending November 2. - CNBC

3. Lowe's Companies Inc. is closing 34 underperforming stores in Canada by February 2020. The stores closing include six Lowe's, 26 Rona stores, and two Réno-Dépôts. Lowe's operates 600 stores in Canada and closed 31 last fiscal year. The announcement was made as the North Carolina-based Lowe's reported third-quarter results. While earnings per share exceeded analysts' expectations, revenue and comp sales fell short of analysts' expectations. Same-store sales grew 2.2 percent compared to the 3.1 percent forecast for the quarter ending November 1. - FINANCIAL POST

4. White Claw hard seltzer forecasts that its sales will reach $1.5 billion this year. White Claw's SVP of Marketing Sanjiv Gajiwala told CNN Business, "There are core trends that consumers are engaging in, which are about mindfulness or understanding what they're putting in their body." White Claw plans to release three new flavors next year: tangerine, lemon and watermelon. The company had planned for a 300 percent growth rate and had to reallocate product to navigate a potential shortage because it grew at 360 percent this September. Gajiwala said White Claw owns about 60 percent of the $2 to $2.5 billion hard seltzer industry. - CNN

5. Taco Bell is piloting "Crispy Tortilla Chicken" as both chicken strips and a crispy taco. Taco Bell will pilot the crispy chicken in Houston and Ohio before launching nationally next year. As People's Morgan Raum said: "Taco Bell is a little late to the fried chicken fiasco." Popeyes started the crispy chicken wars and roped Chick-fil-A and Wendy's in before it sold out and then replenished and put it back on its menu. Popeyes launched its chicken sandwich in August and sold out in less than two weeks because it underestimated demand. Chick-fil-A started a social media "war" when it claimed it was home to the original chicken sandwich. The feud is far from over and Popeyes released a statement that called the chicken sandwich the biggest product launch in the chain's history. - FORBES

6. As if the political divide isn't big enough, the Wall Street Journal says consumer data shows Democrats prefer Levi's and Republicans wear Wrangler jeans. The WSJ tweeted, "The red/blue divisions that define national politics have moved into retail." WSJ also called out GMC (Republican) v. Volkswagen (Democrat), and Chick-fil-A (Republican) v. Starbucks (Democrat). Both denim companies got their start as workwear, but the companies' branding diverged. While Wrangler was owned by VF Corp and is part of the workwear spinoff Kontoor, Levi's has resonated with urban consumers who connect with its SF-heritage. - WSJ

7. Adidas launched an AR ocean world experience in its Paris store to highlight the environmental impact of single-use plastics. The experience runs for six weeks and educates consumers on the "tremendous impact and the effects of consumption and plastic usage on the planet." Adidas' senior manager for trends and innovation said, "It is important to us to make the innovations of our brand a tangible experience for our customers." The AR experience compliments the Adidas product being sold in-store that is made from recycled ocean plastics. - WWD

8. Burton Snowboards Founder Jake Burton Carpenter died Wednesday. Burton Snowboards' co-CEO John Lacy shared the news with employees through email: "He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much.” Burton was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and told employees earlier this month that the disease had returned. Burton founded his snowboarding company in 1977. He pioneered the sport and helped it gain mainstream acceptance first on chair lifts at resorts and almost 20 years later at the Olympics. Snowboarder Shaun White told the NYT in 2015 that Jake was "like the cool dad of the sport." Burton was 65. His wife Donna is co-CEO of the company. - SES

9. Apple is testing a new music service directed at retailers called Apple Music For Business. Levi's and Harrods are two of the 25 clients piloting the service which operates in partnership with PlayNetwork. The service is meant to get around licensing fees and compete with similar services offered by Sirius and Spotify that cost retailers between $25 and $35 a month. - HYPEBEAST

10. Bumble Bee Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It announced a deal with its largest creditor, Taiwanese FCF Fishery, which will purchase the tuna company for $925 million. Bumble Bee's "recent and significant legal challenges" led to increased debt. Two years ago, Bumble Bee pleaded guilty to forming a price-fixing cartel with Chicken of the Sea and Starkist. It has other outstanding lawsuits for price-fixing and still owes $17 million to the U.S. Department of Justice as part of its judgment. - CNBC

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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