7 Retail Headlines on My Mind

New York Fashion Week wasn't actually about the runway nor just about the fashion (link). Most of the coverage - formal media, as well as via my professional network on Instagram - I saw was about the outlandish or experiential, such as The Row's tea party and Alice & Olivia's felt-created ode to women artists. Both, incidentally, were made for Instagram. And, through Alibaba, China now will have access to NYFW looks via shoppable fashion shows on Tmall.

Nordstrom reportedly has landed on a partner to take it private (link). The public markets and quarterly earnings pressure aren't friends of retailers who want to make the right long-term business investments, such as the also-just-announced Nordstrom Local concept, which I think is spot-on as an additional presence in cities where Nordstrom has other stores. Of course, private equity often isn't anyone's friend either, which is why I was glad to see this is expected to be a minority - if still leveraged - buyout.

Direct-to-consumer brands without the space or logistics for same-delivery have more options for competing with those who do (link). Darkstore has expanded and lets brands - including those with large items like mattress-maker Leesa - use their space for free, only taking a small fee when the actual delivery occurs. Speaking of delivery and competing with [Amazon], I don't hear much about ShopRunner anymore.

Target continues to invest in the marketing and merchandising of its private labels and will launch 12 new brands (link). These are brands. They shouldn't be downgraded by anyone to a "private label" box. Cat & Jack hitting $2B in its first year and everything about the way it's communicated to customers positions it as a "real" brand. That's what private label done right can be. 

Ivanka Trump's fashion line is no longer in demand at wholesale or on online shopping aggregators (link). It's nice to see people voting with their wallets. Will there be protestors at the direct-to-consumer shop she plans to open? Will there by customers? Will she make public appearances there despite having claimed to separate herself from the business?

A startup launched to compete with corner convenience stores and wasn't warmly received (link).  It's not easy to come up with a business idea, put the pieces in place to execute it, and get funding. I like vending machines for creative and retail purposes. But Bodega is a sleek, larger vending machine that's being branded as "tech" and "data" and has a name that should've been eliminated from consideration as soon as they realized it needed to be tested for offensiveness in Latino communities. 

eBay is still trying to re-position itself as a destination for new product, now in partnership with a startup that's been trying to communicate its own purpose (link). Because Spring has brand partnerships eBay lacks and eBay has traffic Spring doesn't seem to have built yet, maybe eBay's new Spring storefronts will benefit both. But hard to say it will be meaningful volume, especially relative to eBay's base.