It's been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week, and what we're still thinking about.
From Old Navy’s love of pockets to retail’s latest round of layoffs, here's our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Apple adds buy now, pay later to fintech offering
Apple on Tuesday announced a pre-release of Apple Pay Later. It’s a buy now, pay later service enabled through Mastercard’s Installments program. Investment bank Goldman Sachs is the issuer. Retailers that accept Apple Pay don’t need to do anything to enable Apple’s BNPL service for customers.
Shoppers will need to apply for a loan through Apple Wallet to use Apple Pay Later. The loan terms are four installments over six weeks for amounts between $50 and $1,000. With pandemic-driven e-commerce demand now falling, companies are rushing to make BNPL services available in stores on point-of-sale devices, sibling publication Payments Dive reported.
Apple Pay Later must be connected to a debit card, not a credit card. While that feature should keep people from using one form of debt to pay off another debt, the BNPL business model still faces concerns and challenges, Fitch Ratings Senior Director Michael Taiano said in an emailed statement.
Target’s spring collection features women designers
This spring, Target is partnering with three designers for its newest limited-time women’s collection. Women-founded brands Agua Bendita, Fe Noel and Rhode are joining the racks starting April 15 while supplies last. Most accessories and clothing items are $35 and under. Items range from sizes XXS to 4X. The collection is also available online and through same-day pickup options.
While the spring collection is size inclusive, it’s also diverse in its designers’ heritage. The pieces from Agua Bendita are inspired by the Colombian roots of the designers Catalina Álvarez and Mariana Hinestroza. Founder Fe Noel features vibrant prints in her namesake brand that point back to the designer’s Caribbean heritage. Rhode, by Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers, includes many globally inspired prints.
Andie Swim opens Malibu flagship
DTC swimwear brand Andie this week opened a flagship store in California in the Malibu Country Mart shopping center, where other DTC brands like Gorjana, Vuori and Faherty also operate stores.
While the flagship is currently the brand’s only store, according to its website, Andie opened a pop-up shop in West Palm Beach, Florida, in late 2021.
The brand hosted a store opening event at its Malibu location on Tuesday, which included appearances by Andie’s founder, Melanie Travis, model and actress Charlotte McKinney and actress Jamie Chung, according to details emailed to Retail Dive.
Old Navy gives shoppers a pocketful of sunshine
Much has been said about the absence of pockets in women’s clothing, including that the lack of a spacious place to carry things has both sexist and political roots. When women’s clothes do have pockets, they are often much smaller than men’s, an issue compounded by the rise of the skinny jean, which made women’s pockets smaller at the same time that phones got bigger (whose idea was that?).
But it seems brands are finally catching on to the thought that women do need to carry things with them, and therefore, they do actually want pockets. Gap-owned Old Navy this week announced its spring line would offer 50% more dresses with pockets, “and is committing to grow their dress assortment with perfectly-placed-pockets even more in its summer collection and beyond.”
In fact, the retailer’s website now features a “Pockets of Joy” collection shoppers can use to filter out that scourge on society: pocketless dresses. In a telling depiction of the state of the modern world, Old Navy cited a February 2023 survey by Material that showed 71% of women got an “instant mood booster” upon discovering a dress had pockets.
That’s really all it takes. Higher serotonin levels are just a pocket away.
A classic match: Oreos and… Walmart+?
Walmart has been trying to convince shoppers to adopt its relatively nascent Walmart+ offering for two years.
The perks have included things like a Paramunt+ subscription, free shipping on all online orders, a return pickup service, and exclusive access to product releases and discounts. As the program grows, the retailer continues to add fresh benefits to entice shoppers, like a six-month trial of Spotify Premium. And now: early access to Oreo’s newest flavor.
Kyle Lanham, a merchandising director at Walmart, posted on LinkedIn that Walmart+ members get early access to the cookie brand’s new Blackout Cake flavor through the end of this weekend (the flavor is set to hit shelves on Monday). This may not be the last benefit for food-motivated members, either: Lanham teased “more awesome things” on the way from the retailer’s snacks team. (Is there a better team to be on than the team in charge of snacks?)
Early access to Oreos might not be the deciding factor for anyone considering a Walmart+ membership, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Did we mention you can also get milk delivered?
What we’re still thinking about
That’s the number of workers Blue Nile announced it will lay off as it moves to close a fulfillment center in Seattle. The DTC company, which was acquired by Signet Jewelers seven months ago, is centralizing its fulfillment center services in New York City in the coming months. The layoffs will start on July 14.
That’s the number of known layoffs at Walmart’s e-commerce fulfillment centers. Last week the company confirmed that it has “adjusted staffing levels” at fulfillment centers “in select markets.” The specifics of those numbers are slowly being made available via WARN notices. Last week, documentation showed that 201 workers at a facility in Pedricktown, New Jersey, had been laid off. This week, according to notices in Florida, Walmart is also downsizing its facility in Davenport by 400 and laying off 69 workers at a field operations center in Jacksonville.
What we’re watching
Amazon wants to make buying prescriptions easier
Amazon this week announced a new feature wherein manufacturer-sponsored coupons will be automatically applied to eligible patient’s orders on Amazon Pharmacy. The service may cut down on consumer confusion on how to locate and apply coupons to their medications — a study cited by Amazon found that patients only use coupons 15% of the time they are available.
The e-commerce giant launched Amazon Pharmacy three years ago, placing it as a direct competitor to other pharmacy retailers including CVS Health and Walgreens. Other retailers are pushing into the healthcare space, including Walmart. The big-box store has been expanding its network of medical centers, recently announcing that it would open 28 new Walmart Health centers in 2024, bringing its number of total locations to over 75.