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: 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…


Why is Walmart intentionally launching brands outside its ecosystem?

Last week Walmart announced that it’s launching two new standalone brands: Allswell for mattresses and other bedding products, and Co Squared for beauty and personal care. These are the first two standalone brands Walmart has launched since its…


Basics brands are commodities. Why do people keep building them?

The hidden secret of most businesses is that the more boring the business, the better the business—the flashier, the worse. This heuristic is especially true in the consumer goods landscape, where brands run the hazard of seeking attention over…