Inside Retail - December 6th, 2019

Inside Retail (Dec 6th, 2019)

Target's Time Square move / Papa John's recipe debate / Boomers, Millennials sharing retail trends

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1. Start spreading the news: Target will open a store in Times Square in 2022. Analysts say the move is part of the company's plan to move into densely populated areas – Target has added a number of locations in the Big Apple within the last year. Similar to those other locations, the Times Square spot will be a small-format store at just 33,000 square feet (the typical Target store is about 135,000 square feet) and be located at 42nd Street between 7th and 8th avenues. The small-format stores have been part of the company's success story this year, increasing its full-year profit outlook. – CNBC

2. As if Macy's stock being down nearly 50 percent this year isn't enough bad news for the struggling department store, company President Hal Lawton is leaving effective today. Lawton, who joined Macy's in 2017, will become CEO of Tractor Supply Co. next month. In a brief statement released Wednesday, Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette said Lawton brought "significant contributions to the business over the past two years." Tractor Supply Co. is expected to post a 7 percent revenue increase in 2020 – compared to Macy's profits that are expected to decline 20 percent next year and each of the next several years. Lawton came to Macy's from eBay, where he served as senior vice president of North America.  – FORBES

3. If you haven't kept tabs on former Papa John's CEO and founder John Schnatter in the last few days, let's catch you up:

  • Schnatter alleges that the pizza recipe at Papa John's has changed. "The way they're measuring the pizza, the way they're putting the pizza together is just not fundamentally sound to what makes a Papa John's pizza," he said in an interview. Current CEO Rob Lynch denies the claim, saying, "No, actually, nothing has changed."
  • Schnatter on Thursday sued a former ad agency that worked with Papa John's, alleging that he was secretly recorded in May 2018, and that parts of the recording were leaked. In the recording, Schnatter is allegedly heard using racist language.
  • M. Annette Cox, Schnatter's wife, filed for divorce Thursday. In court records, Cox says their marriage is “irretrievably broken." The couple had been separated since April 1.

4. Perhaps Baby Boomers have killed the real Christmas tree market. Data suggests that just 16 percent of people 65 and older who put up a tree are buying real ones – 81 percent are using artificial trees. Meanwhile, 44 percent of people 30 to 49 who decorate a tree buy a real one. From 2002 to 2017, real Christmas tree production dropped 30 percent, according to the Census of Agriculture. As children of Boomers move out, the older generation is opting for fake trees that can be reused annually. The National Christmas Tree Association has hope – based on data – that younger generations will want to recreate their childhood memories of fresh-smelling Christmas trees. “Many families want to have authentic experiences, do good things for the environment and know the story behind the products they buy. Real trees match up completely with that; a fake tree made from PVC plastic in a Chinese factory does not," tree association Executive Director Tim O'Connor said. – WAPO

5. Speaking of Boomers and Millennials: The two generations that seem to always be at odds might be warming up to each other's generational retail trends. Among the 10 brands growing the fastest among Millennials includes several legacy companies: Häagen-Dazs (4), Jif peanut butter (5), Dole Foods and Bayer (both tied at 8). For Boomers, some of the 10 fastest-growing brands include Impossible Foods (2), Amazon's Ring doorbell (3) and [quite the shocker here!] White Claw (7). Fast Company suggests that, perhaps, the cross-generational brand love might be due to older brands doing a better job at new marketing tactics (like social media), and that newer brands are using old-school marketing methods to reach Boomers. But check this out: DoorDash gets a gold star because it is considered the fast-growing brand among Gen Z, Millennials, GenXers ... and ... Boomers. – FAST COMPANY

6. As retailers continue to close brick-and-mortar locations, Dollar General plans to open 1,000 new stores next year. In its most recent quarter, Dollar General sales grew 4.6 percent year-over-year – marking its fastest-growing quarter in five years. The company now has more than 16,000 stores across the country. The success of stores like Dollar General and rival Dollar Tree, however, could be due in part to stagnant wages for many Americans. The average salary for a Dollar General shopper is $40,000 and wages for low- and midde-income consumers have not grown much. People with low incomes tend to be "one doctor bill or one car repair bill away from not being in such good shape," Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin said. – CNN

7. With an epic shift in the industry thanks to the digital era, an age-old question of whether they should localize their stores still faces retailers. The topic was part of a recent discussion on an Aptos forum and had commenters at RetailWire discussing what retailers should do. The gist of the question centers around whether retailers should push through their personal brand when opening in a new location or if they should adopt the local flavor. Urban Outfitters and Vans, two retailers highlighted in the RetailWire piece, "are already taking their core brand promises across markets and looking to localize it without muddying the waters of their message, but it’s not a given they can do so in a way that resonates" in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, Nikki Baird writes. What do commenters of the RetailWire story think?

  • Mark Ryski, founder and CEO at HeadCount Corporation: "Staying true to the brand vs. adapting to the local market is not an either/or proposition. Localization may not always be required, but I think it should almost always be considered."
  • Adrian Weidmann, managing director at StoreStream Metrics: "It isn’t about being a homogenous brand or adapting to a local market — it’s about being a hybrid of both."
  • Patricia Vekich Waldron, founder and CEO of Vision First: "I’ve always believed that “Glocal” is the best approach."

What's your take? How important is localization to a retailer? Hit reply to share your thoughts.

Bobby Cherry is a senior editor at and Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist. Follow his love of all things Pittsburgh and more on Twitter and Instagram. In addition to editing, he curates Inside Pittsburgh. He also shares his love of the holiday season at

Editor: Kim Lyons, Inside Managing Editor and Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist.

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