Inside Retail - December 2nd, 2019

Inside Retail (Dec 2nd, 2019)

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Happy Cyber Monday friends!

Costco's website crashed on Thanksgiving. As much as I love Costco, I don't think of it as an eComm retailer. Digiday reported in July that online sales only accounted for 5 percent of the company's business. Its CFO Richard Galanti said that the company still preferred customers to come shop in-store. Read on to see how much analysts estimate the crash cost the company in lost sales.

Hit reply and let me know if you shopped online or in-store for Black Friday: What was the best deal you found?


1. Black Friday stats are in and it turns out despite early predictions the shopping holiday wasn't "what it used to be," it actually broke records for a strong sales day. The main difference from past years: people went online and shopped instead of going to brick-and-mortar stores. CNBC and Adobe Analytics reported it was the second-largest online shopping day ever behind last year's Cyber Monday, which generated $7.9 billion in sales.

Here's Black Friday by the numbers:

  • $7.2 to $7.4 billion in online sales on Black Friday 2019 (Adobe Analytics forecast $7.5 billion and reported $7.4 while Salesforce reported $7.2 billion).
  • 20 percent increase in online sales over last year.
  • $2.9 billion in sales purchased on smartphones.
  • $4.2 billion spent online on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The most popular items purchased included Frozen 2 toys from Disney, Madden and FIFA games, Apple Airpods and Samsung TVs.

2. Today is Cyber Monday and market intel site is predicting sales will top $9 billion this year. Last year, Adobe Analytics reported sales hit $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday, up from $6.59 billion in 2017. Although Amazon traditionally owned Cyber Monday, Walmart and Target have stepped up their e-comm strategies and are showing larger growth rates in online spending than Amazon. Here's a convenient list from Tom's Guide of deals from other major retailers today too. - CNBC

3. Retail Santa jobs are still booming for retirees but with the decline of shopping malls, the job of "mall Santa" has lost some of its luster, according to Business Insider. A former mall Santa from LA's Century City Mall said, "There were a lot of times where it was slow and not a lot of foot traffic and that was kind of boring to me." He partnered with his fellow elves, who were aspiring actors living in LA too, and they got an agent and began booking TV gigs. Another mall Santa who also worked at today's Westfield Century City said he quit working in malls and moved to private events. That mall Santa said as the retail landscape changed and people could book appointments on their phones and avoid waiting in line, the job was less about excitement and more "go faster and sell more." - BUSINESS INSIDER

4. Costco's Thanksgiving Day website crash could have cost it almost $11 million in lost sales, according to retail website Love the Sales. The Costco site was down for 16 hours beginning late Wednesday, affecting 2.65 million users. Love the Sales calculated that the site should have done $11,035 in e-commerce sales per minute. Nordstrom Rack and The Home Depot also had slow sites on Thanksgiving. Costco extended its online sales to Friday to compensate for the failure. - FOX BUSINESS

5. Swedish fast fashion giant H&M is testing out a clothing rental service. The service costs $37 a week and allows customers to pick from 50 different pieces. It's currently available only to loyalty club members at H&M's Stockholm flagship. H&M is also testing out a repair program as part of its response to a UN report on fashion's harmful effects on the environment. Fast fashion is one of the worst offenders in the fashion industry, which contributes to 10 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Other retailers that have had successful clothing rental services include Urban Outfitters' Nuuly, which includes clothes from sister brands Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, and Banana Republic's Style Passport. - BOF

6. Versace has sued Fashion Nova for copying three of its dresses including the Jungle print dress made famous by Jennifer Lopez. The complaint was filed in California federal court last week and said, "Fashion Nova’s Infringing Apparel is plainly a deliberate effort to exploit the popularity and renown of Versace’s signature designs, and to trade on Versace’s valuable goodwill and business reputation in order to drive profits and sales to line Fashion Nova’s pockets." Fashion Nova has been sued before for copyright infringement: Kim Kardashian sued the company last year for $10 million and alleged the site copied her dress and her image by using a lookalike model. - FORBES

7. VF Corp., parent company to Vans and The North Face, is bidding to purchase Venetian luxury sneaker brand Golden Goose from private equity firm The Carlyle Group. PVH Corp., which is Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger's parent company, is also reportedly bidding for Golden Goose. Tapestry, owner of Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman, is also considering it, as are Ralph Lauren Corp. and the parent of Dr. Martens. Bank of America is holding an auction for the high-end brand and plans to have the deal completed by early next year. - FOOTWEAR NEWS

8. European second-hand clothing resale marketplace Vinted secured approximately $140.9 million in funding bringing its valuation to $1 billion. The funding was led by Silicon Valley-based Lightspeed Venture Partners and the valuation created Lithuania's first tech unicorn. The funds will go to European expansion and hiring. The company's CEO said, "We’re in a stage that is very unpredictable what exactly the financial future of this company will be." - BLOOMBERG

9. Craft coffee will be the next segment to experience a boom, according to Fast Company. The industry was worth $35 million last year and is on track to reach $85 billion by 2025. One investor explained, "It’s very rare that you have a daily-use product that customers feel passionate about," contrasting the high emotional connection people have with coffee to the weaker relationship they may have with daily-use items like paper towels. Craft coffee startups include Blue Bottle, Verve, and Intelligensia. Cold brews, high-end instant coffees, and $15 to $16 cups of coffee are part of the craft coffee niche. - FAST COMPANY

10. Chinese state newspaper the Global Times tweeted that a trade deal between the U.S. and China would have to include rollbacks on U.S. tariffs. The Global Times is affiliated with the People's Daily, the official publication of the Communist Party in China. President Trump said he is in the "final throes" of negotiations with China which would hopefully put an end to a 16-month trade war. - SCMP

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.

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