Macy’s Wrestling With Retail-Ecommerce Split

| Mike O'Brien

Breaking up is hard to do, which department store stalwart Macy’s is discovering as it wrestles with how best to split up its store and online businesses, a bit trickier than the same move by Saks Fifth Avenue, according to a report in Reuters.

shoppers on retail queue covid-19

2020 Year in Review: Retail Upended, Reset Continues

| Mike O'Brien

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.

Black Friday mobile commerce feature

Black Friday Hits a Record $9B Online, Stores Down 30%

| Mike O'Brien

As expected, Black Friday 2020 saw tremendous success online but was a bust in stores, as shopper behavior has been altered irrevocably by the ongoing pandemic. Adobe Analytics reported $9 billion in ecommerce sales on Black Friday, up 21.6% from $7.4 billion in 2019. Store traffic meanwhile was down 48% to 52%.

Sizing Matters: How Tech, Standards Are Working to Solve Apparel Returns

| Mike O'Brien

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.

Frank and Oak store feature

Frank and Oak First Acquisition of New Retail Investment Group

| Mike O'Brien

A former Macy’s executive and a Wall Street veteran have teamed up to start a retail acquisition and advisory group that’s looking to build up a stable of purpose-driven brands it can help scale and grow globally. The group launched with the acquisition of distressed Canadian apparel brand Frank and Oak, which closed on Oct. 8.

Macy’s Benefiting from Centralized Plan as Ecommerce Grows 53% in Q2

| Mike O'Brien

In a familiar theme for omnichannel retailers who have gotten ahead of the curve in digital transformation, Macy’s reported store sales down 61% in the second quarter, while ecommerce increased 53%. Still brick-and-mortar news was not all bad, as stores reopened stronger than expected and luxury goods outpaced projections.

Amazon Reportedly Weighing J.C. Penney Acquisition Out of Chapter 11

| Mike O'Brien

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.

Deliv driver

Target Looks to Acquire Tech Assets of Deliv as Startup Unwinds Operations

| Mike O'Brien

On the same day it was announced Deliv was winding down its operations this summer, it came out that Target is in talks to snap up some of Deliv’s technology assets to bolster its local ecommerce fulfillment and bring founding CEO Daphne Carmelli onboard, NBC reported. Others had reportedly been looking at Deliv, including grocers.

Neiman Marcus Files Bankruptcy, First Major Retail Chain in COVID-19 Crisis

| Mike O'Brien

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.

Roundup: Retail, Malls Reopen Slowly, Midsize Players Get Fed Relief

| Mike O'Brien

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.