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 the surprise ending to Office Depot’s sale-or-split considerations, to a set of Lord of the Rings-themed candles, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
With inclusivity in mind, Thinx rebrands social media, website
In an effort to make the language it uses around periods more gender inclusive, Thinx rebranded its social media handle from @shethinx to @thinx. The brand said the language change will also apply to its website URL soon.
“This change is anything but small, and we knew it was necessary and long-overdue,” the company said in its announcement. “As a brand that makes period underwear and creates space for conversations around the realities of menstruation, the importance of gender-inclusive language truly cannot be understated.”
Thinx said the move is in part to help combat the period market that is dominated by feminine-gendered products, which can be isolating for some people, including members of the trans community. Thinx is hoping the language change helps provide a space for all of its customers to feel represented.
“Of course, this is only the beginning: from education to media to access to period products, we still have a long way to go to make sure that all menstruators are represented and supported. But using gender-inclusive language to talk about periods is a first step toward lasting change,” the company said.
Beyond Yoga steps into brick and mortar
Marking its first independent store, Beyond Yoga on Saturday will open a pop-up shop at The Grove in Los Angeles.
“As a Los Angeles-based brand, opening our first pop-up experience at The Grove is a natural first step into retail,” Michelle Wahler, co-founder and CEO of Beyond Yoga, said in a statement. “The space reflects Beyond Yoga’s values and provides us with the opportunity to meet loyal customers while our knowledgeable style experts also introduce new fans to our buttery soft favorites.”
The store, more than six months in the making, will carry products in sizes XXS to 4X. The space will also host community events, including with Bia Blooms to create custom bouquets, Bala for a workout class and Sweet Rose creamery for an ice cream event.
The opening of the pop-up comes nearly a year after Levi Strauss announced it would acquire the DTC yoga brand.
Beyond Yoga’s Wahler said it intends to open more stores this year and in 2023.
Nike exiting Russia, American Eagle exiting China
Nike and American Eagle Outfitters are each apparently making big decisions about their overseas operations, with the sports giant exiting Russia for good and the teen apparel retailer reportedly at least hitting pause on its sales in China.
After temporarily closing its stores in Russia, Nike won’t reopen them, according to a notice posted to its Russian website that states the company “made a decision to exit the Russian market.” The website and mobile app also will no longer be available in the region, per the statement.
A company spokesperson confirmed that, “NIKE, Inc. has made the decision to leave the Russian marketplace,” but did not respond to several requests to clarify whether the decision is related to the ongoing war in Ukraine. “Our priority is to ensure we are fully supporting our employees while we responsibly scale down our operations over the coming months,” the spokesperson said.
Several brands and retailers have closed up shop in Russia since that country’s invasion of Ukraine four months ago.
For American Eagle, the calculation to leave behind its China-based sales, if true, is likely financial rather than political. The retailer didn’t immediately respond to requests for confirmation of a report in Women’s Wear Daily stating that the apparel retailer has not only closed stores there but also deleted its Tmall storefront online.
Chinese customers can still shop at American Eagle via its own brands’ websites, although the goods will be shipped from the U.S., according to Women’s Wear Daily’s report. And the decision doesn’t affect its Hong Kong market, which remains “an important part of our [Asian Pacific region] growth strategy,” according to that report.
Academy Sports and Outdoors debuts men’s private label focused on versatility
Academy Sports and Outdoors on Thursday launched a new men’s private label, dubbed Right of Way. The activewear line is aimed at providing “versatile closet staples for everyone,” according to a company press release. At launch, R.O.W. includes shorts, pants, joggers, polos, T-shirts and long sleeves in “mix and match colorways.” Sizing runs from small to 2XL and prices are between $19.99 and $34.99.
R.O.W. joins a series of other private label brands Academy Sports and Outdoors sells, including Magellan Outdoors, Freely and BCG. The new private label will be sold online and in all of Academy Sports and Outdoors’ stores.
The company joins other athletics retailers to enhance private label offerings recently, including Foot Locker. Like Dick’s Sporting Goods’ VRST men’s line, which launched in March last year, R.O.W. is going after the lifestyle market dominated by brands like Lululemon.
“R.O.W. provides the guy on the go with a collection of athletic-inspired essentials that seamlessly integrates into his lifestyle from workday to weekend and everything in between,” Eli Getson, senior vice president and general merchandising manager of apparel at Academy, said in a statement. “Whether you’re taking a video call, running errands, or grabbing dinner, these accessible pieces create an effortless style.”
Athleta, Allyson Felix team up for child care services
Athleta and Olympian Allyson Felix this week announced that they will be providing free child care in partnership with &Mother, a nonprofit organization, at select track and field events this year. The program will launch during Felix’s last championship race from June 23 to June 26.
“My final season is not about winning medals but giving back to the sport and future mom-athletes and leaving it better for the next generation of women raising children,” Felix said in a statement. “As I reflect on the barriers that I faced when competing at the highest level alongside being a mother, I feel more committed than ever to leaving behind this legacy to ensure more women can both raise children and excel in their athletic careers.”
The partners will provide free child care for any athletes, coaches and staff participating in the national championship through Vivvi, an employer-sponsored child care company.
The news comes on the heels of Athleta announcing that parent company Gap Inc. led an $8 million series A funding round into Felix’s Saysh lifestyle and apparel brand. As part of the investment, Gap Inc. acquired an equity stake in Saysh, and Athleta will showcase the brand’s footwear on Athleta.com.
In 2019, Felix spoke out against Nike for its treatment of pregnant athletes. In an op-ed in The New York Times she wrote, “I’ve been one of Nike’s most widely marketed athletes. If I can’t secure maternity protections, who can?”
This candle collection will light up your house like the eye of Sauron
Ever wonder what the long journey of bringing the ring to Mordor smells like? Mythologie Candles, a candle retailer focused on fantasy stories, is bringing those smells directly to consumers with its latest Fellowship Collection.
Based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the candle collection features seven candle scents and two bundle options. Fear not though — the candles do not smell like an army of Orcs or a hellscape volcano. Instead, the candles are affectionately named after key characters from the stories, like The Ranger and The Dwarf, and range from having scent notes of bright bergamot to “war-beaten leather boots.”
“We want to be the best in the world at transporting people to fantasy worlds through scent stories,” Leah McHenry, founder and CEO of Mythologie Candles, said in a statement. “Being fans of fantasy movies and worlds like Lord of the Rings, we know what it’s like to want to truly feel like you’re physically there. It’s the ultimate escapism. Something was missing from that experience and we believe we have solved it.”
Let’s just hope lighting up one of these crackling candles doesn’t come with the stress of traveling through Middle-earth.
This idea is a little nutty
Why would you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when you can simply drink one? 7-Eleven this week announced its new Peanut Butter and JAMS Cappuccino, now available at participating 7-Eleven, Speedway and Stripes stores.
The release of the coffee drink comes during “Brainfreeze Season” — where its family of c-stores have giveaways every Friday inspired by music and fashion. “Customers can jam out to music in a whole new way,” the company said in an attempt to tie together two very different promotions.
“We take summertime seriously at 7-Eleven and want our customers to feel like rockstars all season long,” 7-Eleven Proprietary Beverages Senior Product Director Jacob Barnes said in a statement. “We are always looking for ways to offer stand-out beverages at a great value that add a bright spot to our customers’ days. Our Peanut Butter and JAMS Cappuccino does just that — serving up a delightful combination of childhood nostalgia and adulthood necessity.”
You truly may not be ready for this jelly.
What we’re still thinking about
That’s how many deals Office Depot owner ODP Corp. agreed to after rejecting both a possible sale and company breakup.
By the end of last year, ODP had essentially three deals on the table: an acquisition offer from Staples and its owner Sycamore Partners, another offer from an unnamed suitor, and the company’s own plan to split into two separate, independent, publicly traded companies — one housing its B2B sales unit, another its consumer and retail business. This week, nearly a year and a half after Staples first pitched it to ODP, the company rejected the entire slate of options in front of it.
With the acquisition offers, ODP said in a release it considered “the expected value to the company of such proposals, taking into account the proposed structure, economic terms, certainty, expected timing and potential regulatory requirements.”
ODP and its board chair cited macroeconomic and market factors behind not pursuing a separation. The company has, however, restructured as a holding company, with its various business units tucked into their own LLCs.
“[T]he completion of our internal reorganization will make such a potential separation substantially simpler should the company determine to resume the separation process following a change of market conditions in the future,” board chair Joseph Vassalluzzo said in a press release announcing the company’s decision to do, well, nothing for now.
That is roughly how much Revlon’s stock rose by Thursday as investors piled onto it. The cosmetics giant has $3.5 billion in debt on its books and is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a process that typically leaves very little or no recovery for equity holders at the end of the day.
In other words, there were very sound historical and logical reasons why Revlon’s stock was trading at a little over $1 last week after it filed. As to why it shot up past $8 this week — “meme-stock mania” and Reddit were the reasons cited by the financial press.
Until recently, such a spike would have been unthinkable. But small-time traders have shown that they can drive up the price of a stock regardless of the operational and financial health of the company it is attached to. GameStop was left for dead by investors, fairly or not, before Reddit-driven stock traders piled into it. Bank car rental company Hertz issued stock during a bankruptcy process, before the Securities & Exchange Commission spoke up.
Revlon’s stock price is probably not top-of-mind for those running the company today. The cosmetics maker is currently scrambling to lock down its ingredient supplies, keep its factories running and fill orders from retailers for the holiday season so it doesn’t lose revenue, shelf space and market share at a critical time.
What we’re watching
Retailers, tech companies unite to develop coordinated metaverse standards
Companies including Meta, Microsoft, Ikea, Wayfair and more have joined together to develop the Metaverse Standards Forum, per a press release Tuesday. The group “will explore where the lack of interoperability is holding back metaverse deployment and how the work of Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) defining and evolving needed standards may be coordinated and accelerated.”
According to the organization, creating an open and inclusive metaverse will require the collaboration and cooperation of multiple standards developing organizations — such as The Khronos Group, the World Wide Web Consortium and more — in conjunction with other companies.
“Building a metaverse for everyone will require an industrywide focus on common standards. The Metaverse Standards Forum can drive the collaboration that’s needed to make this possible, and Meta is committed to this work. Creators, developers and companies will all benefit from the technologies and experiences that will be made possible by common protocols,” Vishal Shah, vice president of Metaverse at Meta, said in a statement.
Notably missing from the list of founding members are popular metaverse platforms like Roblox and Decentraland, which many retailers have partnered with over the past year to create immersive metaverse experiences for consumers. Notably missing are leading tech brands – and general competitors with Meta and Microsoft – Apple and Google owner Alphabet Inc.
The concept of the metaverse, which is intended to be an immersive version of the internet not specific to one platform or device, has the potential to create large value for retailers, according to McKinsey. However, many consumers are not sure how to describe what the metaverse even is, and there are questions about its safety for children.