Issues with sizing and color conventions have probably been an issue since the invention of clothes. And with so much shopping now driven online by the pandemic, combined with generally liberal return policies, apparel returns have exploded. New technology solutions and industry standards are both working to solve the problem.
Amazon is working with Simon Property Group, the largest owner/operator of shopping malls in the country, to convert some shuttered J.C. Penney and Sears anchor stores into local fulfillment centers to augment its already massive network and facilitate last-mile speed, the Wall Street Journal reported.
A partnership between mall giant Simon Property Group and apparel licensing firm Authentic Brands has made a $305 million bid to acquire the assets and intellectual property of Brooks Brothers out of bankruptcy court, according to various media reports. The partnership, named Sparc LLC, plans to keep at least 125 stores open.
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.
Neiman Marcus Group, owner of the 43-store chain of the same name as well as two Bergdorf Goodman locations and Last Call discount shops, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as expected, in the process securing $675 million in loans from creditors. The filing also calls for a long-term plan to eliminate $4 billion of debt.
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.
Retail was a mixed bag this week, as over a dozen states have begun to slowly reopen, working to come out the other side of the COVID-19 shutdown. Some retailers and malls are doing the same, hoping that enough returning shoppers and their pent-up demand for goods will help with massive cash flow and viability challenges.
Amazon is continuing to dominate in apparel sales online, according to a new report from CoreSight, which reports 70% of apparel shoppers bought clothing or footwear on Amazon in the past 12 months, up from 60% a year ago. This compares to 51.2% who said they did so on Walmart, 44.6% at Target and 35.3% at Kohl’s.
Macy’s Inc. announced plans to close 125 stores within three years in an effort to find profitability amid an ongoing shopper flight from malls and department stores, while consolidating its headquarters in New York and cutting 2,000 corporate jobs. This will leave 400 Macy’s stores in place; about 30 will close in 2020.