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Target Sees Sales Decline from Pride Boycott

| Mike O'Brien

Target reported weaker Q2 sales, acknowledging it was partly due to backlash over its annual pride month collection in May, first from shoppers who reacted negatively to items like children’s clothing in front-of-store displays, then from LGBTQ groups angered by the company’s response. However, Target’s earnings beat expectations, efficiency efforts including automation and lean inventory.

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How GenAI is Being Used to Reduce Ecommerce Returns

| Mike O'Brien

With generative AI adoption being so widespread across industries, one key application and business process of the technology near and dear to the hearts of retailers is finding ways to reduce the expense, hassle and poor customer experience of ecommerce returns that grow year after year. Hear how leading retailers are leveraging GenAI and machine learning to reduce returns and boost CX.

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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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L.L. Bean Expands Omnichannel Approach

| Mike O'Brien

L.L. Bean, looking to expose more shoppers to its iconic, century-old mix of outdoor apparel and gear, is expanding its wholesale partnerships, opening new stores in the U.S. and Canada and launching a French-language website north of the border as well. The retailer has signed wholesale partnerships with Moosejaw and Dillard’s, adding 66 storefronts, plus four new owned locations.

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Back-to-School: Omnichannel Experiences Help You Ace It

| Steve Sivitter

Because omnichannel consumer experiences drive back-to-school shopping, brands must champion consistency across all retailers carrying their products. The effort pays off, however, increasing the likelihood that consumers will trust your brand. Focus on an omnichannel strategy that delivers a consistent customer experience, anticipates customer needs and addresses concerns.

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Coalition Asks EPA to Add Textiles to Plastic Reduction Plan

| Mike O'Brien

The American Circular Textiles Group (ACT), a coalition of apparel brands, recommerce companies and recycling solution providers, is asking the EPA to include textile waste in a draft plan to reduce plastics that was issued for review in April. ACT proposes amendments to current Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws to include textiles, and a deposit system like those for bottles and cans.

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Economic Picture Iffy, But NRF Calls for Record Back-to-School Spending

| Mike O'Brien

Economic signals are a bit of a mixed bag heading into the important back-to-school and back-to-college shopping season, an economist with the National Retail Federation said, with inflation easing but spending on services and essential items still impacting spending on goods. In spite of this unsettled macro picture, the NRF projects record spending on K-12 and college.

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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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Free Returns Still Drive Loyalty, Even As Thresholds Rise

| Mike O'Brien

Even as more retailers are increasing thresholds for free returns shipping in the face of massive volume and steadily rising costs, 79% of consumers said they’d be more likely to make a repeat purchase from those offering free returns or exchanges, according to a new survey from solution provider Loop. 75% said they expect retailers to make new product suggestions based on their purchase.

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Alex and Ani Closing Headquarters, 20 Stores

| Mike O'Brien

Alex and Ani, once popular for its expanded charm bracelets and a smaller competitor of the global Pandora chain with its lab-grown diamonds, is closing stores and its Rhode Island headquarters as it assesses the state of its business in a challenging post-pandemic environment. The company, which filed for bankruptcy court protection in 2021, will close 20 locations, leaving seven open.