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 Sam’s Club’s 40th anniversary to the latest inflation numbers, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Will David’s Bridal see a Chapter 22?
The New York Times recently reported that David’s Bridal is considering filing for bankruptcy “within the next few weeks.”
According to the report, which cited anonymous sources, the retailer has been working with investment bank Houlihan Lokey to explore a sale, which could be part of the bankruptcy filing.
“As is our practice, we do not comment on speculation,” a David’s Bridal spokesperson said in a statement to Retail Dive. “Providing excellent service remains our focus and we are committed to serving and delivering for our brides and customers and being part of magical moments.”
The bridal retailer previously filed for Chapter 11 in November 2018, wherein it slashed its debt by approximately $450 million.
Sam’s Club turns 40
Sam’s Club turned the big 4-0 on April 7. The warehouse club, which is a division of Walmart, announced this week several initiatives and special events to celebrate the milestone.
They include $40 off first-time memberships; special offers on merchandise for members through May 1; commemorative ‘80s-themed merchandise; a free sweet treat and fountain drink at all locations on April 15 while supplies last; and a birthday cake frozen yogurt sundae for $1.58.
"From the day we opened our doors, we've worked hard to build relationships and create experiences that earn our members' loyalty," Ciara Anfield, Sam’s Club’s chief member and marketing officer, said in an announcement. The first Sam’s Club store opened in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Today, there are about 600 Sam’s Club locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Gucci opens its first salon store concept
Gucci this week launched a by-appointment salon in Los Angeles, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Located on the corner of Melrose Place and Melrose Avenue, the space was previously occupied by Marc Jacobs but is now easily identifiable with a large Gucci billboard above the building. The fashion luxury house’s salon is exclusive to top-tier clients.
Private appointments can be made at the salon, which can be booked for up to a day long, according to the report. Clients can schedule red carpet fittings and are even offered a special menu from the Gucci Osteria restaurant on Rodeo Drive. The salon also features made-to-order collections for men and women, accessories, luggage, decor, high jewelry and watches.
Lacoste crocodile gets a costume change from Netflix
The Lacoste crocodile is one of the most iconic brand logos in retail, but what if the company had chosen a demogorgon instead?
Netflix and Lacoste are about to find out how some alternative versions of the popular logo would go over with customers. The two are partnering on a collection of apparel that crosses Lacoste’s crocodile with characters and costumes from shows like “Stranger Things,” “Bridgerton,” “The Witcher” and “Sex Education.”
The genderless clothing line features the Lacoste crocodile wearing a “Bridgerton”-inspired wig in some products, riding a bike in others and transformed into a demogorgon for those who couldn’t get enough of the man-eating terrors from “Stranger Things.” Lacoste Deputy CEO Catherine Spindler called the collaboration, which will be sold online as well as at Lacoste stores, a “unique encounter between our two worlds.”
While the companies emphasized the clothes can be worn anywhere, the collection also gives couch potatoes an important opportunity to outclass everyone else’s Netflix and chill fashion game.
Philadelphia cream cheese fights against bagel taxes
The Philadelphia cream cheese brand is coming out strongly against an infamous New York City tax ahead of Tax Day on Tuesday. Customers must pay a tax when ordering a bagel that is already sliced and spread – a tax which the Philadelphia brand finds “ludicrous.”
“As a brand that has set the cream cheese standard for 150 years, Philadelphia believes that no one should have to pay an extra tax to experience its silky-smooth delight,” the company said in a press release Tuesday.
To combat this, Philadelphia is releasing a limited-edition Tax-Free Bagel available nationwide Friday through Tuesday. Working in partnership with H&H Bagels, the bagel is already stuffed with cream cheese and unsliced, circumventing the tax.
What we’re still thinking about
That’s how many jobs the retail industry cut in the first quarter, a 1,125% increase from a year ago and the fourth highest among the sectors tracked by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The firm notes the downsizing is “a possible sign of decreased expectations for consumer spending,” according to an emailed press release.
The technology sector led all industries in the number of job cuts in the first quarter, with 38% of the total, per the report. The realignment in tech is affecting retail players as well, most notably Amazon, which last month announced another 9,000 layoffs on top of more than 18,000 confirmed in January.
That’s the number of retail stores that may close by 2027, according to a report published this week by UBS analysts. Slowing consumer spending, reduced availability of credit and rising penetration of e-commerce may contribute to the decline. As the pandemic’s effects on daily life receded, retailers closed more stores than they opened in 2022.
Looking ahead, over 5,000 stores are set to close or already have since January 2021, and UBS said “this trend should continue in the years to come,” as consumers consolidate trips and continue shifting to online shopping. UBS said online retail spending per household was $9,900 in 2022, up from $8,900 a year ago.
What we’re watching
Inflation is easing, but consumers remain wary
On Wednesday the U.S. government released a much-hoped for inflation measure, reporting that the consumer price index was at 5% for the 12 months ending in March, the smallest increase since May 2021.
But, even with gas prices down 17.4%, consumers remain hesitant to spend much on discretionary goods, according to GlobalData research. In February, 55.3% of consumers surveyed by the firm said they are buying fewer non-food products and 62.6% continue to hunt more for bargains, with 56.5% shopping around for deals.
Higher interest rates are having the desired effect of tamping down inflation, but, with prices still somewhat elevated, that means consumers are being squeezed from different sides, GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders said in emailed comments.
“Consumers are currently in the worst of both worlds with both prices and debt servicing costs rising,” he said. “The hope is that one of these issues, inflation, resolves itself over the course of this year — but it looks like this will only happen very gradually, meaning the household squeeze will continue for some time to come.”