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 Jim Beam’s Kentucky hug pajamas to Amazon’s potential European Union antitrust settlement, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Serta Simmons reportedly prepares bankruptcy filing
One of the largest bedding manufacturers in North America, Serta Simmons, is reportedly considering a bankruptcy filing in the near future. The mattress company could file for bankruptcy as soon as next month, according to a Bloomberg report this week citing unnamed sources.
According to the report, Serta Simmons has been confidentially discussing a restructuring plan with its creditors. The plan could include giving control to some first-lien lenders.
The company operates Serta, Beautyrest, Simmons and Tuft & Needle.
Sephora reportedly on the hunt for new marketing chief
Deborah Yeh, the chief marketing officer of Sephora Americas and the overarching company’s global chief purpose officer, will drop the CMO role from her title Jan. 1, according to a report from Women’s Wear Daily. In the new position, she will report to Sephora’s new CEO Guillaume Motte.
Sephora Americas is looking for a new chief marketing officer to fill her old spot, according to the report. Sephora did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the promotion and the company’s search for a new marketing chief.
Torrid partners with ThredUp
Torrid on Thursday announced a resale program with ThredUp. Torrid, a DTC company that features apparel for women in sizes 10 through 30, is the first plus-size brand to partner with ThredUp’s resale-as-a-service program.
Torrid customers in the U.S. can generate a prepaid shipping label, fill a box with apparel, shoes and accessories from any brand, and ship it to ThredUp for free. Sellers will receive a Torrid shopping credit for items sold.
Jim Beam bourbon wants you to send a Kentucky hug
If you aren’t able to see loved ones in person for the holidays, consider sending them a pair of pajamas. Specifically, Jim Beam’s new pajama merch which imitates the feeling of a hug, according to a company press release from last week.
The unisex “Kentucky hug” simulating pajamas are a red flannel pattern, and use weighted pads on the neck, shoulders and back to give the desired effect…allegedly.
Build-A-Bear might be known as the company that monetized selling a partially complete product and having the shopper finish it, but the plushie retailer has bigger plans now. Much bigger.
We’re talking a deal with oft-forgotten celebrities Billy Ray Cyrus, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Chevy Chase to star in a Build-A-Bear Entertainment original Christmas film. Dubbed “Glisten and the Merry Mission,” the animated movie is based on a story written by Build-A-Bear’s CEO Sharon Price John and revolves around a couple of elves named after food that go searching for an enchanted “snow deer.” (Presumably, this is different from a reindeer.)
Also on the agenda? 1999’s “RollerCoaster Tycoon” but with better graphics. The company is delving into the metaverse with a new Roblox experience, Build-A-Bear Tycoon, that lets users “fully immerse themselves in the world of hearts, hugs, and adventure.” That includes collecting bears, building out a virtual workshop and attending virtual heart ceremonies (it’s not a cult, it’s an experience). Shoppers can earn digital Bear Bucks and otherwise pursue virtual bear tycoon status.
Build-A-Bear might once have been a bear shop. It’s an empire now.
What we’re still thinking about
This is the number of people expected to shop on Super Saturday, according to the National Retail Federation. It’s the last full weekend before Christmas Day. This year, Christmas falls on a Sunday. The number of anticipated shoppers this year – 10 million more – is the most since the group began tracking this stat in 2016.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said consumers “have been shopping in record numbers this year.” That momentum is likely to continue to the end of this year, according to an analyst with Prosper Insights & Analytics. During the last week of the year, consumers are likely to keep retailers busy by spending gift cards gifted to them, returning or exchanging unwanted gifts and taking advantage of soon-to-end holiday promotions and closeout deals.
What we’re watching
European Union antitrust settlement poised to shake up Amazon’s operations there
Amazon has agreed to a deal with the European Union that would allow it to avoid charges related to antitrust laws and save it from paying a fine of as much as 10% percent of its global revenue — about $470 billion last year – but would also shake up its operations there, according to reports from the Financial Times and New York Times. The agreement follows a previously disclosed proposal outlined in July, the New York Times said.
Amazon’s commitments include refraining from using non-public information about its marketplace sellers to sell goods, including its own private labels, according to the E.U.’s outline of the settlement. That practice is also under scrutiny in the U.S. Congress. The e-retailer also agreed to treat all sellers equally when ranking offers via its “buy box,” including sometimes including a second “winner.” Sellers could opt to use other companies for their Prime fulfillment, and Amazon would refrain from using seller information to further its logistics operations, among other provisions.
The final deal may go further. In a speech at Fordham's Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy in September, Margrethe Vestager, the E.U.’s executive vice president and its commissioner for competition, said that feedback received since July “pointed to potential improvements on several points.”
“The commitments offered by Amazon appear relevant to address the harm and have the potential to transform Amazon's business model as a marketplace and retailer,” Vestager said. “But we are not there yet.”
Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.