It’s been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week and what we’re still thinking about.
From Victoria’s Secret launching a podcast to a Hot Wheels and Gucci collab, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Victoria’s Secret is podcasting now because why not?
As part of its effort to emerge from its reputation as a lingerie brand dependent on the male gaze, Victoria’s Secret on Wednesday launched a podcast, VS Voices, spearheaded by Girlgaze founder Amanda de Cadenet. Episodes will feature “a group of icons who share a common passion to drive positive change in the world,” including members of the company’s new VS Collective like Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Megan Rapinoe, Paloma Elsesser, Valentina Sampaio, Adut Akech and Eileen Gu, per a company press release.
That group, too, is an overt pivot from Victoria’s Secret’s infamous “angels,” and was launched in June, shortly before the brand’s official split from former parent L Brands. With new episodes dropping on Wednesdays, de Cadenet each week will interview a guest, starting with Chopra Jonas, who “explores how growing up in India helped define her as an advocate for women, how she balances ambition with emotional vulnerability and offers new insight into her grief around the death of her father, and how her culture reacted to her marriage to Nick Jonas.”
Canada Goose plans first-ever footwear campaign
The apparel company, known for its luxury winter coats, expanded into the footwear space recently and on Wednesday this week released a preview of its first campaign for the category. The campaign, dubbed Force of Nature, features Romeo Beckham, Indigenous artist and activist Sarain Fox and Indigenous leader and former NHL player Jordin Tootoo. Each is profiled in the campaign to celebrate “what makes each of these personalities a Force of Nature.”
All of the stories are told with the environment and weather as a driving force. Beckham’s storyline takes place among the mountains, Fox’s in the forest and Tootoo’s in a foggy plain. The campaign explores what Canada Goose’s “Live in the Open” motto means to each of the three, and pushes its two first footwear styles: the Snow Mantra Boot (made in the image of the brand’s Snow Mantra Parka) and the Journey Boot (inspired by classic hiking boots worn in the Alps).
“The launch of Canada Goose Footwear is one of the most significant milestones in our more than six-decade history. We are bringing a completely new perspective to the category, balancing performance and luxury – which is the ultimate expression of our lifestyle brand,” Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose, said in a statement. “A Force of Nature is strong, dynamic and confident; all characteristics that Canada Goose enables.”
All Rihanna sees is dollar signs
DTC lingerie company Savage x Fenty announced that it is delving into brick and mortar in 2022. Co-President and Chief Merchandising and Design Officer Christiane Pendarvis told Bloomberg that U.S. stores were part of its upcoming growth strategy and that the company is opening its own physical stores. The business, which is owned by Rihanna, may also expand its store presence to the European Union.
Mirror to launch into Canadian market
Just over a year after Lululemon acquired the at-home fitness startup, Mirror is readying its launch into Canada. The technology will be sold in nearly 40 Lululemon stores across the country as well as online beginning Nov. 22. The expansion into Canada pushes Mirror’s in-store presence to nearly 200 locations, the company said in a press release.
“We have seen rapid growth and strong engagement for Mirror since launching in the United States and look forward to deepening our roots at home in Canada,” Celeste Burgoyne, president of the Americas and Global Guest Innovation at Lululemon, said in a statement.
The move comes just weeks after Lululemon announced Mirror’s founder and CEO, Brynn Putnam, would be stepping down from her role as chief executive.
Ellen DeGeneres to debut beauty brand
The long-time talk show host this week announced she is getting into the skin care business. Kind Science, an age-positive skin care brand three years in the making, will launch on Oct. 26
“It is kind to animals. It is kind to your skin. It’s kind to the planet. And it’s kind to your wallet,” DeGeneres announced on her show.
Limited edition Haute Wheels
If you ever wanted to buy a Cadillac but didn’t want to drop all that cash, you may be into this new collab. Mattel Creations this week announced a collectible honoring Gucci’s 100th anniversary in the form of a Hot Wheels x Gucci Cadillac Seville.
“This epic and unexpected collaboration between Gucci and Hot Wheels reinforces that toys are a canvas that reflect pop culture, fashion and design,” Richard Dickson, president and Chief Operating Officer of Mattel, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to celebrate and honor Gucci’s incredible 100th milestone with an artistic take on a limited-edition Hot Wheels, reinforcing the significance of Toys as Art.”
The limited-edition replica of the 1982 Gucci Cadillac Seville, which drops on October 18, will set you back $120. It is the first high fashion collaboration for Hot Wheels and the first official collectible from Gucci.
Spirit Halloween and Dunkin’ make a tasty-looking collab.
As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” This Halloween, you can take that to a literal level and wear a Dunkin’ cold brew costume, and dress your child as a donut hole treats box thanks to Spirit Halloween’s partnership with Dunkin’.
If this doesn’t match the vibe you’re going for, donut worry. Spirit Halloween and Dunkin’ still have something brewing.
Consumers can be a Dunkin’ hot coffee or a strawberry frosted donut instead. Apparently, these costumes caught the eye of several consumers because they sold out in just 24 hours last year, according to an announcement emailed to Retail Dive. The adult-sized costumes are available on Spirit Halloween’s website for $39.99 each.
Halloween runs on @dunkindonuts! ????
— Spirit Halloween (@SpiritHalloween) October 4, 2021
What we’re still thinking about
The year has been going very well for a very large swath of retail. Initial public offerings are going bonkers, major retail bankruptcies are down against every year since Retail Dive started tracking them in 2017. Vaccines, stimulus, quantitative easing and widespread balance sheet restructurings have all played a role. But retail has never been an easy business. Risk ratings and other data shared with Retail Dive show 20 companies in the industry that still could face bankruptcy or other forms of default in the months and years ahead, and that’s not a comprehensive list.
That is how much the direct-to-consumer underwear brand Parade raised in a recent Series B round. Among its plans for the new capital is a physical “experience” (a store, perhaps?) in SoHo, New York. It’s not alone in DTC players expanding into brick and mortar. Intimates brand Knix is opening its first U.S. stores this year and beauty brand Glossier is also opening stores again after having to shutter its footprint last year.
What we’re watching
Is breaking up Macy’s hard to do?
There may be no better evidence of how unhelpful finance wizards can be to the retail business than the weird phenomenon, spearheaded by Canada-based department store company HBC, of splitting up a retailer’s online business from its legacy store operations. That company earlier this year worked with private equity to break apart the online and offline operations of its Saks Fifth Avenue and off-price Saks Off 5th businesses, then by itself foisted the same treatment onto its Canadian Hudson’s Bay unit.
This week an activist investor made waves — and sent Macy’s stock skyward — when he reportedly suggested at a gathering of other activist investors that the storied American department store could unlock value by similarly splintering its e-commerce into a separate company. Scott Ostfeld, partner and co-portfolio manager of Jana Strategic Investments, (a firm that Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, called “ruthless”), reportedly said that Macy’s stock price could double and that its e-commerce alone could be worth $14 billion, compared to the company’s current $6.9 billion valuation.
The whole idea runs counter to the Herculean efforts most legacy retailers have made in the past several years to weave their online-offline operations together. And while investors may like it, several observers of the industry mercilessly ridiculed it, employing words like “completely stupid,” “financial pirate,” “utter madness” and “zero sense” to discuss the effort. Macy’s itself poured some cold water on the concept by pointing to remarks from CEO Jeff Gennette during its Q2 conference call touting its “comprehensive retail ecosystem,” although it has yet to challenge Ostfeld’s advice directly.
“Of course, what separate businesses would allow is for various financial games to be played where one business could charge the other licensing or service fees,” GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders said by email. “That may be attractive to investors looking to make a quick buck, but it’s not how a retailer should be run and it is not a strategy for long-term success.”