The Grinds: The secondary watch industry pushes luxury’s evolution; Quip raises $40 million, but risks becoming the next Harry’s; Product recommendation sites criticize but drive traffic to Amazon; Parachute takes on multi-channel strategy

The secondary watch industry is pushing established players to evolve their approach, echoing developments in the sneaker market. WHAT HAPPENED: Raymond Weil partnered with the second-hand watch retailer TrueFacet to create authentication programs…


The Grinds: Nordstrom strives to remain an ideal wholesale partner; Goop and Universal Standard launch a collab; Coca Cola may invest in Dirty Lemon; Kering sheds YNAP, attacking ecomm solo

Nordstrom strengthens its long-standing relationship with Ted Baker and begins selling Outdoor Voices as it attempts to remain an ideal wholesale partner. What happened Nordstrom has partnered with NuORDER, a software that lets brands upload their…


The Grinds: Facebook opens pop-ups at Macy’s, Masse monetizes moms, Peloton threatens SoulCycle, Wayfair acquires new customers

Facebook opens pop-ups at Macy’s, bringing the shoppability of Instagram offline. What happened Facebook will debut pop-ups at nine Macy’s department stores for the holiday season. In operation until February 2019, the pop-ups will feature more…


The Grinds: Dollar Shave Club debuts fragrance, Dollar stores look to urban markets for expansion, Influencers become investors, Glossier opens flagship

Dollar Shave Club debuts fragrance in an attempt to differentiate from other digital-first men’s health brands. What happened Dollar Shave Club, the direct-to-consumer subscription razor brand founded in 2011, is expanding to a new category:…


The Grinds: Sweetgreen aims for $1 billion valuation; Shopify courts larger vendors; Banana Republic launches Cos Bar shop-in-shop; End Clothing, The Line invent the new department store

Sweetgreen aims to become a $1 billion salad empire, but will have to scale sustainably to maintain its image. What happened Sweetgreen, the fast-casual salad chain founded in 2007, has grown to approximately 90 locations across California,…


The Grinds: Pinterest strives to make pins more shoppable, Sunday Riley receives criticism for fake reviews, RSE Ventures is creating an empire, Patagonia gets political

Pinterest strives to make pins more shoppable, and its advertising business more profitable. What happened Pinterest users that click on a home- or style-related pin—that is, an image with a description and link to the original online source, the…


The Grinds: Harry’s debuts women’s razor brand, Shopify embraces customer service—for vendors, Walmart acquires Bare Necessities, Sephora extends the Museum of Ice Cream’s lifeline

Harry’s debuts women’s razor brand, Flamingo, in the quest to diversify its holding company and cater to female customers. What happened Harry’s, the direct-to-consumer subscription disposable razor brand that launched in 2011, debuted a women’s…


The Grinds: Walgreens partners with Birchbox, Grocery stores rethink their blueprints, Rotarity merges the rental model with streetwear, Netflix purchases studio

Walgreens refreshes its beauty aisle with Birchbox partnership, but it’s not the only mass retailer to embrace cosmetics. What happened Walgreens is launching a pilot partnership program with the online subscription beauty service Birchbox both…


The Grinds: Macy’s and Revolve institutionalize influencer marketing, Re:Store merges affordable retail space with coworking, SoulCycle goes live, Ulta partners with men’s grooming brand Oars + Alps

Macy’s and Revolve graduate their influencer marketing strategies into more institutionalized forms. What happened Influencer marketing continues to blossom—in 2018, 84% of advertisers noted that influencers were included in their marketing…


The Grinds: Brands diversify ad spend; Nordstrom launches influencer-driven, private-label brand; Gap will debut men’s activewear brand; Bumble goes into beauty

Billboards, stickers and other non-traditional ads grow in popularity as more brands diversify. What happened “Out of home” advertising—billboards, ads on public transportation and in other public venues like sports stadiums—now comprise 7% of…


The Grinds: Loyalty programs get experiential, Stripe goes offline, Dirty Lemon opens checkout-free store, L Brands shutters Henri Bendel

Loyalty programs, once discount-centric, are evolving to reflect the experience economy. What happened The vast majority of brands and retailers offer membership in one shape or another, but the benefits have remained rather thin, often composed of…


The Grinds: Starbucks attempts to win over Italy, Ritual fails to live up to transparency claims, Mattel launches film division, Instagram may launch a separate shopping app

Starbucks attempts to win over Italy, opening a roastery in Milan. What happened Thirty-five years ago—long before becoming Starbucks’ CEO—Howard Schultz, then a marketing director for the brand, visited Milan and returned transfixed by the idea of…


The Grinds: FAO Schwarz makes a comeback, Hims takes on Hers, Zalando builds a brand with a music festival, Tiffany & Co. banks on flagship

FAO Schwarz will make its comeback in Rockefeller Center as toy retailers scrape up Toys R Us’ debris. What happened FAO Schwarz closed its Manhattan flagship back in 2015. This November, it’s returning with a 20,000 square foot location in…


The Grinds: Escape rooms blossom, PepsiCo acquires SodaStream, “Game of Thrones” fans take Croatia, Taubman Centers invests in mall of the future

Escape rooms blossom, but need to evolve beyond a fad to stay alive. What happened Escape rooms—curated sets where visitors are trapped and must solve puzzles to chart their “escape”—grew from about 24 locations in the U.S. in 2014 to more than…


The Grinds: JCPenney banks on babies; Malls house digitally-native brands, coworking offices; Casper plans for 200 stores; VF ditches denim

JCPenney banks on babies, but seizing Toys R Us’ market share continues to ignore the company’s endemic problems. What happened JCPenney is opening 500 baby shops in its department stores, sweeping up market share from the liquidation of Toys R Us…


The Grinds: Walmart is incubating an Everlane-like private label, CVS embraces K-beauty, Equinox turns to employees for brand promotion, Van Leeuwen raises minority investment

Walmart is incubating an Everlane-like private-label brand—should Everlane worry? What happened Walmart’s new brand is allegedly inspired by Everlane—the minimalist “essentials” brand for women’s apparel and accessories—but will aim to reel in…


The Grinds: IKEA downsizes and digitizes, The RealReal raises $115 million, Disney and 21st Century Fox strike merger, A Ma Maniére fuses streetwear with hospitality

IKEA downsizes and digitizes to retain its hold on young clientele. What happened Since 2015, IKEA has opened 24 small format stores—an average of 9,700 square feet, compared to its traditional 82,000 square foot warehouses. Customers aren’t able…


The Grinds: Ipsy unveils members-only beauty ecommerce site, Boutique and vintage vendors turn to Instagram, Retailers invite brands to advertise with package inserts, MoviePass acquires Moviefone

Ipsy, queen of the beauty subscription box, unveils Shopper, a members-only, direct-to-consumer site. What happened Ipsy, a subscription service that began in 2011, sends members Glam Bags, which include a personalized bounty of five full- and/or…


The Grinds: Lady Gaga adds to celebrity beauty boom, Emirates Airline goes luxe, Casper tests out nap store, Walmart opens ecommerce center

Lady Gaga adds Haus Beauty to the celebrity beauty boom. What happened Lady Gaga’s Haus Beauty has raised money from Lightspeed Venture Partners, the same investment firm that backed Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, Stitch Fix and Snap, Inc. The…


The Grinds: Disney and Muji launch immersive experiences, Aday grows “wear-testers” program, Peloton acquires Neurotic Media, WeWork debuts retail market

Disney brings Star Wars to Hollywood Studios and Muji opens more hotels, inviting visitors to live in their brands. What happened A little over a month after debuting Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios Park, Disney is bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s…


The Grinds: Nike debuts training pop-up, Rimowa tries out direct-to-consumer, YouTube reacts to IGTV, SoulCycle embraces media

Nike’s training pop-up gives customers the tools to “Just Do It.” What happened Nike Plus members and those with the Nike Training Club app can now visit a training pop-up in Los Angeles until mid-August and workout with professional athletes.…


The Grinds: Goop answers pseudoscience criticism, UPS looks to automation, #MeToo jeans reprise the accessible feminism debate, Disney launches attraction previews

Goop answers pseudoscience criticism by coming clean about its product benefits. What happened After growing a business by amassing a devoted following of customers who believed in product benefits not necessarily backed by science—and receiving…


The Grinds: JCPenney launches Fanatics shop-in-shops, Honest Company raises $200 million, Wish brings the dollar store online, Walmart opens ModCloth stores

JCPenney banks on shop-in-shops, this time with digitally-native sports manufacturer and retailer Fanatics. What happened JCPenney launched Fanatics shop-in-shops in 350 of its locations, and plans to open 300 more by the end of the summer. Each…


The Grinds: Reformation inks wholesale deal with Nordstrom, H&M opens off-price store Afound, J.Crew plans a fall relaunch, Rent the Runway introduces maternity

Reformation expands its brick-and-mortar footprint with a new wholesale deal at Nordstrom. What happened Reformation, which sells eco-conscious clothing online and at its 11 stores, will sell at Nordstrom, both on the department store’s site and at…


The Grinds: JAB expands its food and beverage empire, The NFL and Nike team up with Fanatics, Tiffany & Co. revives its retail, SoulCycle makes U-turn from IPO

JAB expands its food and beverage empire with Pret a Manger while Nestlé sheds U.S. candy brands. What happened JAB Holding Company, which owns food and beverage brands including Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Panera Bread Co., Keurig Green Mountain and…


The Grinds: Comme des Garçons names direct-to-consumer brand, Walmart and eBay personalize shopping, Saks and Barneys strive to stay relevant, Target adds new digital beauty services

Comme des Garçons launches CDG, taking on a new challenge: direct-to-consumer ecommerce. What happened In the lead up to the launch of CDG in July, Comme des Garçons is launching CDG Breaking News this May as a capsule collection teaser. The CDG…


The Grinds: Bulletin opens its third New York store, Aesop expands its retail footprint, Shopify moves offline, Walmart will sell Harry’s razors

Bulletin is opening its third New York store, continuing its quest to champion women in business. Bulletin, which began as an online magazine in 2014 featuring digitally-native women-led brands, will open its third flagship store in the historic…


The Grinds: Instagram launches in-app payments, Sephora opens its second Studio, Online returns are hurting landlords, Birchbox sells a majority stake to one of its investors

Instagram launches in-app payments for select brands, which could substantially increase its share of commerce. What happened For the in-app payments, an extension of Facebook Payments, Instagram allows users to create a profile that includes their…


The Grinds: Instacart may suffer from Walmart-Amazon food wars, Meghan Markle takes influencer marketing offline, Brookfield Ventures invests in tech-driven startups, Kering adapts to a changing luxury industry

In Walmart and Amazon’s food wars, Instacart may be the collateral damage. What happened Walmart continues to rev up its grocery operations at home and abroad. This week, the company announced that it will merge its grocery chain Asda with…


The Grinds: Toy retailers seek gains from Toys R Us’ bankruptcy, Fraud-detecting services vet online shoppers, The Wing ushers in a new era of retail real estate, Beauty buffs and sneakerheads form social channels

Big toy retailers like Hasbro and Mattel and independent toy stores hope to gain market share from Toys R Us’ bankruptcy, but Amazon and its competitors may beat them to it. What happened In the wake of Toys R Us’ bankruptcy, toy manufacturers…


The Grinds: Walmart plans to redesign site, Click-to-buy morphs into click-to-buy-and-make, b8ta expands “retail as a service,” Domino’s delivers to customers en route

Walmart is making its website more sleek, but where does that leave Jet? What happened Walmart, which continues to devote more resources to its ecommerce operation, plans to debut a resigned website that spotlights its higher-end brands and…


The Grinds: Nordstrom opens first standalone men’s store, LVMH launches luxury startup accelerator, Warby Parker must meet investors’ expectations, USV invests in livestream marketplace ShopShops

Nordstrom opens its first standalone men’s store, relying on data to cultivate its foray into New York City. What happened Nordstrom’s first standalone men’s store—and first store in New York—will open this Thursday in Manhattan. The store enters…


The Grinds: Build-A-Bear thrives—Toys R Us dies, Adore Me to open stores near Victoria’s Secret, New York City devises retail vacancy tax for landlords, Goop raises $50 million

Build-A-Bear thrives —Toys R Us dies. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Build-A-Bear has posted four consecutive years of profitability and remains debt free in an era when…


The Grinds: Ulta Beauty will begin selling Chanel Beauté, Nordstrom family ends buyout effort, ThredUp wants to create a consignment ecosystem, Google launches new advertising program online with its AI assistant

Ulta Beauty will begin selling Chanel Beauté—a coveted and surprising addition to the beauty retailer that mixes high and low. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Ulta Beauty,…


The Grinds: Best Buy, other retailers crack down on returns, Duty-free airport retail thrives, ASOS stands out with its product descriptions, West Elm sells experiences with local artists

Best Buy and other retailers are cracking down on the number and frequency of returns, but are risking their customer relationships. To-the-point analysis about one of the four important stories from the week.   What happened Best…


The Grinds: Target opens small-format stores, BuzzFeed adds new beauty and style vertical, JAB Holding Company conquers coffee, Glossier launches new pop-up

Target is the latest mass retailer to open small-format stores, whose focus on private label could help it provide even more differentiated products. To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.  …


The Grinds: JCPenney leverages Sephora, Stitch Fix adapts its subscription model, Best Buy closes mobile phone stores, BuzzFeed and Walmart launch a product collaboration, Amazon warehouses embrace chaos

JCPenney continues to leverage Sephora for its turnaround efforts, but the minimal amount of control it has over its biggest growth driver is worrisome. To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What…


The Grinds: Fast-fashion full-price sales fall, Amazon expands Amazon Go, Younique raises Coty’s profitability, Adidas’ Speedfactory innovates the supply chain, ABC Carpet & Home sells top floors as office space

Fast-fashion retailers are seeing falling full-price sales, led by H&M and more recently, Zara. To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Analysts were already concerned with Zara’s…


The Grinds: Harry’s moves beyond shaving, Prime credit card users get cash back at Whole Foods, Instacart and grocery partners compete with Amazon, Kraft Heinz cuts costs, but needs to grow, Amazon Lending partners with Bank of America

Harry's moves beyond shaving as it tries to become a platform and holding company for digitally-native brands. To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Harry’s, a…


The Grinds: Goop expands merchandise, Whole Foods raises rates for sellers, L. L. Bean updates return policy, Secondary sneaker market heats up, Macy’s launches new pop-up

Goop expands and diversifies G. Label merchandise, but questions of scalability loom To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Goop, which launched in 2008 as Gwyneth Paltrow’s…


The Grinds: Fenty Beauty outpaces competition, Alibaba moves offline, H&M curbs expansion, Mall landlords fight over tenants, Apparel sales hit all-time low

Fenty Beauty becomes the fastest-growing celebrity cosmetics line To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Sales for Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics line created by Rihanna, Sephora and…


The Grinds: Outdoor Voices calls out copycats, Amazon raises seller fees, Starbucks mobile ordering grows, Fake products slip past The RealReal, IKEA partners with TaskRabbit

Fans of Outdoor Voices call out brands for copying its products, proving more powerful than non-existent legal protections To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   What happened Outdoor Voices…


The Grinds: Amazon Go opens, Richemont buys Yoox Net-a-Porter, Young people prefer online shopping, Bankrupt retailers get rent concessions, Target unveils unique fragrance

Richemont buys Yoox Net-a-Porter, becoming the first major luxury holding company with a serious ecommerce operation To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   Why it’s interesting…


The Grinds: Beauty Pie’s pricing strategy, Amazon’s aesthetic, Target’s holiday sales, Amazon’s beauty business, Aural advertising increases

Beauty Pie, the membership-based beauty retailer sees success with its unconventional pricing strategy To-the-point analysis about one of the five important stories from the week.   Why it’s interesting Beauty Pie was started…