The pandemic dramatically accelerated the retail industry’s digital transformation. Large retailers had the technology and processes necessary to respond quickly, but others found their entire business models upended overnight. While some changes may go, what will stay is a renewed focus on building community in retail.
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.
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.
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.
The uncertainty around schools reopening has made this back-to-school season unlike any before it for retailers, with school supplies lists often unknown as districts work out details, and the normal cadence of discount events and promotions disrupted as well, experts say. Apparel has been hit hardest while tech items are winners.
It was another eventful week in the ongoing saga of retail bankruptcies. Tailored Brands, parent of Jos. A. Bank and Men’s Wearhouse, plans to put a greater emphasis on casual apparel as part of its Chapter 11 filing, while the investment group REV is planning to snatch up assets from both Pier 1 and Modell’s out of bankruptcy court.
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.
Ascena Retail Group, parent of iconic women’s apparel brands Lane Bryant and Ann Taylor, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced plans to shutter 1,600 of the 2,800 stores across its various chains in an effort to reduce its massive debt by $1 billion. The news comes weeks after an executive bonus windfall.
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.