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Shein, Forever 21 Parent Sparc Group Strike Major Deal

| Mike O'Brien

Fast fashion retailers Shein and Forever 21 struck a major deal aimed at cross-promoting brands to a similar audience of younger apparel shoppers heading into a closely-watched holiday season. It’s a marriage of mall, retail and brand experience with a production and distribution machine driven by tech and social savvy. But there’s a shadow cast by concerns over Shein’s business practices.

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Brands: Give Retailers the Partnership They’re Looking For

| Lynn Herman

The same techniques you use to develop your brand and your audience make you an attractive partner for retailers. They want to see mature brand identities. Standing out from a crowded field of competitors takes a clear commitment to a core mission and values, and consistent messaging with a defined target audience. Retailers and customers look for brands that are sincere, consistent and original.

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The Manufacturer-Retailer Relationship: Collaboration Breeds Success

| Kristin Naragon

The dynamics of the manufacturer-retailer relationship are complex and subject to power shifts. Where retailers often excel at customer loyalty, recognition and retention, manufacturers control stock availability and product development. As customers continue to demand innovative digital experiences across a growing number of channels, effective communication and collaboration is crucial.

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Retail Media Networks: 5 Ways to Unlock Brand-Building Power

| Kevin Dunn

With advertisers projected to spend upwards of $45 billion on retail media this year, launching a retail media network makes a lot of sense. However, it requires careful planning and execution amid a crowded marketplace. Here are five key steps you can take to establish a retail media network that drives transformational growth for your business.

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Alt-Commerce: The Future of Consumer Buying and Selling

| Olivia Viniss

In recent years, a new wave of non-traditional, alt-commerce models has emerged, challenging our assumptions about consumer purchasing and preferences. Alt-commerce represents a radical shift in the way people buy and sell products. Innovation and technological advances, coupled with the need to foster closer customer relationships, have given rise to new selling channels.

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Volcanic Retail Creates Platform to Connect Retail Buyers, Brands

| Mike O'Brien

Volcanic Retail is bringing a Tinder-style matchmaking capability to facilitate connections between brands and retail buyers, allowing them to connect through its marketplace to quickly determine compatibility and set up deals. The platform, launched in 2022, already has more than 2,000 retail buyers and 7,000 brands, the former including Tractor Supply, Whole Foods, Walmart, TJX and Nordstrom.

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Beyond a Transactional Loyalty Program

| Julie Smith

The high cost of a bad loyalty program is showing up on bottom lines, demonstrating a direct connection between retention and profitability that leaders can’t ignore. Consumers demand a deeper experience to earn their loyalty, going beyond transactional value. They want to engage in a close, personal way with brands they love, building relationships that evolve with their needs.

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Walmart and the DTC Brand Unwind

| Mike O'Brien

The curious case of Walmart’s venture into creating a stable of hot startup DTC brands has come to a close, with the 2023 sales of Moosejaw, Bonobos and Eloquii in quick succession. So it’s a fitting time to take a look at the six-year-plus journey that began with the $3.3 billion acquisition of We look back and ruminate with Raj Konanahalli, a partner and managing director with AlixPartners.

Bonobos Being Sold by Walmart at a Big Discount

| Mike O'Brien

Less than two months after selling off Moosejaw Mountaineering to a more appropriate home at Dick’s Sporting Goods, another of Walmart’s digital-first apparel brands is being sold. This time, menswear seller Bonobos is going to Express and WHP Global for $75 million, a $235 million discount to its $310 million acquisition in 2017.

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Society Brands Looks to Step Up Acquisition Pace

| Mike O'Brien

Society Brands, an Ohio-based acquirer with a small-but-growing portfolio, asks its founders to stick around as brand directors, incenting them with an equity stake from a future liquidity event or IPO over the next few years as the company accelerates its pace of acquisition. The company’s six brands were all acquired in 2022.