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 Target’s new store format to Swiss Miss’ scented sweater, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Hasbro’s CFO retires
Hasbro on Wednesday announced that Chief Financial Officer Deborah Thomas will retire. She has been with the company for 24 years.
“Deb has been a tremendous leader and colleague, including as an invaluable resource and advisor to me during my transition into the CEO role. The entire Hasbro team and I wish her and her family the very best in retirement,” CEO Chris Cocks said in a statement.
The company is looking at internal and external candidates as her successor. Thomas will remain as CFO until that person is named and as an adviser to the company for a period thereafter.
At Home downgraded by Moody’s
Moody’s this week lowered Texas-based At Home’s corporate credit rating from B3 to Caa1. Moody’s also downgraded the retailer’s probability of default and its senior secured first term loan, as well as secured and unsecured senior notes.
The firm maintained At Home’s stable outlook.
“The downgrade reflects the difficult operating environment the company is facing including high costs and volatile demand that increases the risk that a recovery in operating performance could be longer than previously anticipated,” Moody’s analysts said, adding that the downgrade also reflects the retailer’s high leverage with debt. While the firm believes At Home has adequate liquidity to navigate cost pressures ahead, it said “absent a significant recovery in earnings, this level of leverage is unsustainable. While Moody's expects declining freight costs will contribute to an earnings recovery in 2023, inflationary pressures will continue to impact demand and credit metrics are expected to remain weak in 2023.”
Karen Katz reportedly gives up CEO role at Intermix after five months
Karen Katz, the former Neiman Marcus chief who took over as interim CEO at Intermix in June, has left that post, amid mounting financial woes, Women’s Wear Daily reported. CFO James Rushing has taken over her duties, according to an earlier WWD report. Gap Inc., which continues to face turmoil of its own, sold the specialty retailer to private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners last year for an undisclosed amount.
Intermix didn’t immediately comment on the CEO transition. But a company spokesperson said by email that "INTERMIX is exploring several options to navigate the challenging retail and economic environments in an effort to strengthen the company’s long-term position. The company is confident in its path forward."
Big Lots names a CMO and a CMO
Big Lots on Wednesday named Margarita Giannantonio as its chief merchandising officer and John Alpaugh as its chief marketing officer.
Giannantonio joins the company from TJX, where she was most recently the general merchandise manager of TJX Canada. She has previous experience with Hudson’s Bay Company and Hugo Boss Canada, among other companies.
Alpaugh joins the company from CyberMark, where he was CEO. He also spent 16 years with PetSmart in various leadership roles, and has worked with Procter and Gamble and IBM.
A sweater so good you could eat it from Swiss Miss
As it starts to get colder, out come the warm drinks and sweaters. Famous hot chocolate brand Swiss Miss is looking to combine the feeling of both of those things with its latest seasonal sweater.
The Conagra Brands company released a blue and white winter sweater that has the smell of hot cocoa and an insulated pouch with a zipper for a thermos, according to a press release last week.
The limited edition sweater, which retails for around $60, even features reversible sequins allowing buyers to change its message from “I am hot” to “I am sweet.”
Get comfortable this Thanksgiving with Southern Comfort sweatpants
There is nothing like the taste of turkey, cranberry sauce and … whiskey?
Southern Comfort has released limited-edition “drinking pants” for the upcoming holiday, according to a company press release this week. And good news: They’re unisex!
"With pants I feel like you're always having to make choices – are they fancy enough to pass grandma's strict dress code, are they comfortable, can they easily fit and carry your SoCo? It's like pant makers never considered we want it all. Drinking Pants get me," Brad B., a semi-pro pants-wearer, said in a statement to the company.
The black sweatpants are a mere $11.23, with a featured shot glass pocket (a.k.a a pocket) and the ability to be reversed so the large yellow “Drinking pants” words are wherever you prefer them to be.
What we’re still thinking about
150,000 square feet
That is roughly the size of Target’s new larger format stores, which it is focusing on over the next few years of development. On average, they run 20,000 square feet larger than the retailer’s other big-box stores, with more space for backroom fulfillment, omnichannel services and an expanded merchandise offering, including in food and beverage. The retailer recently debuted the concept in a store outside Houston.
The company tied the format’s size to the growth in omnichannel services like in-store and curbside pickup. It represents a pivot in focus for Target, which had previously focused on opening smaller format stores to reach urban and college markets.
That was the growth rate in footwear brand Allbirds’ revenue for the third quarter. For many brands, especially in the current market, that would be a robust number. But for Allbirds, it represents a slowdown in momentum and comes as the company has been swiftly expanding its store base as a path to growth. The company’s net loss also doubled in the quarter. To buffer its bottom line, Allbirds has laid off 8% of its corporate workforce and worked to take costs out of its operations by liquidating inventory and automating distribution centers.
What we’re watching
Amazon’s aggressive cost-cutting carries risks
Is it the economy, the pressure on profits, the natural evolution of a quarter century-old business or the new chief executive that is leading to Amazon’s scrutiny of its underperforming divisions? Amazon says it’s something it does every autumn, and that current macroeconomic conditions are influencing its approach this year.
The downsizing project follows earlier moves by Amazon to freeze hiring, first in its retail operations, then company-wide. Andy Jassy, who took over last year from founder Jeff Bezos to lead the e-commerce giant, is focused on profitability, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. But he must be careful not to overdo it, lest he undermines the culture of innovation, or even the loss-making units like Alexa, integral to the company’s secret sauce, analysts told Retail Dive.