On the surface DTC seems like a no-brainer: Cut out the middleman, increase margins, gain customer insights in an increasingly crowded retail marketplace. However, this pivot will still be difficult for larger brands. Let’s take a look at some of the roadblocks and lessons retailers can learn from those who have been successful.
As 2020 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect back on a wild and crazy year in retail, to paraphrase the Festrunk brothers from Saturday Night Live. COVID-19 came in like a wrecking ball in February and March, causing widespread shutdowns that hit retail especially hard, leading to hockey-stick growth in ecommerce.
Nike is shutting out nine of its retail partners as the company continues a major focus and shift toward direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, according to a note from Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Sam Poser. The nine retailers are Belk, Dillard’s, Zappos, Boscov’s, Bob’s Stores, Fred Meyer, EBLens, VIM and City Blue.
RTW Retailwinds, parent of apparel retailer New York & Co., filed for bankruptcy protection, adding it plans to close most if not all of its nearly 400 stores and seek a buyer for its ecommerce business. The company plans to continue operations, including re-openings where appropriate, paying vendors and suppliers and employees.
Brooks Brothers, famous for its pinstriped suits worn by 40 of the 45 U.S. presidents and legions of executives since its 1818 founding in New York, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the impact of COVID-19 as a major factor. The company, with $1 billion in sales and $300 in debt, expects to find a buyer shortly.
Following in the footsteps of JC Penney and others, struggling rollup Ascena Retail Group said it plans to pay up to $5.5 million in retention awards and performance bonuses and undo pay cuts to top executives, as it reportedly weighs a bankruptcy filing in the face of its debt and declining sales.
Shortly after J.C. Penney filed Chapter 11, Amazon reportedly was in talks about possibly picking up the troubled store chain on the cheap. The plan calls closing 242 of 846 stores by 2021, setting up a real estate investment trust (REIT) to handle the balance of its physical assets and receiving $900 million in debtor-in-possession financing.
Twenty first century loyalty – the degree to which a brand meets customer expectations for their Ideal in a product category – is a KPI that changes before the brand’s economic structure begins to improve or decline. It’s an early warning signal that your brand may be in trouble. And J. Crew’s recent Chapter 11 filing is a prime example.
Chinos Holdings, parent of preppy clothing retailer J. Crew and women’s apparel and accessories seller Madewell, filed Chapter 11 as part of a restructuring plan that calls for converting $1.65 billion of its debt to equity and securing $400 million in loans. This is the first major retailer to file for bankruptcy during the coronavirus crisis.
Total ecommerce sales hit $26.93 billion over Cyber Weekend, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as stores went in the opposite direction. Cyber Monday’s online spending reached a record $9.4 billion, up 19.7%, making it the largest online shopping day of all time in the U.S. Store sales dipped nearly 1%, according to RetailNext.