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 Dollar General expanding its fresh produce assortment in stores to Angry Orchard taking a firm stance on fall flavors, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Dollar General expands produce offering to 5,000 stores
Discount retailer Dollar General, which has more than 19,000 stores, said this week it plans to expand its fresh produce offering to more than 5,000 stores by January. The retailer has set an even larger goal to offer fresh produce in more than 10,000 stores over the next several years.
The produce offering includes tomatoes, onions, apples, strawberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lemons, limes, and salad mixes.
Many of the stores that will feature the expanded offering will be in areas that the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies as food deserts. Dollar General’s said its produce offering includes the top 20 fruits and vegetables typically sold in traditional grocery stores and it covers about 80% of produce categories.
BeautyStat names chief marketing officer
Yaso Murray has been appointed chief marketing officer of the skincare brand BeautyStat, according to a LinkedIn post Thursday.
“I've fangirled this brand since inception and have to pinch myself for being in the coveted seat,” Murray said on LinkedIn. “It's a tour de force with a bigger mission to democratize what beauty truly means to the consumer.”
The new CMO most recently served in the same role at Image Skincare and previously held leadership roles at Coty Inc., La Prairie Group and Clinique, per LinkedIn. Murray marks BeautyStat’s first chief marketer, according to reporting from CEW.
American Exchange Group acquires HatchCollective
American Exchange Group — an accessories design and manufacturing company — has acquired personal care brand HatchCollective, according to a Wednesday press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
HatchCollective was founded in 2009 and houses brands such as NatureWell, Found Active, Orlando Pita Play, TXTUR and Paint & Petals. The move by American Exchange Group marks a significant step into the beauty and personal care categories, with HatchCollective joining the company’s portfolio that is focused on apparel, footwear and accessories.
American Exchange Group operates footwear brands Aerosoles and White Mountain, as well as apparel brands Mudd, Olivia & Kate and more.
"I have always believed in a head-to-toe approach when building our brand portfolio, seeking out opportunities that genuinely enrich and enhance the lives of our consumers and HatchCollective along with their range of trusted and science-backed beauty and personal care products fits perfectly into that strategy," Alen Mamrout, CEO of American Exchange Group, said in a statement.
Personalized skin care brand Proven expands partnership with Sephora
After announcing a partnership at the beginning of the year, Sephora and Proven have expanded on their ties.
The skin care company this week announced it will bring its personalization technology and products to 10 Sephora locations. The locations will feature interactive video displays, allowing customers to scan a QR code to access a quiz to determine their personalized skin care formulas.
“This has not been easy, but working alongside the amazing team at Sephora, we have built something unique that will allow even more consumers to build a long-term relationship with our brand. I’ve always said that personalization is the future of skincare, and this partnership extension coupled with the overwhelmingly positive reception to our digital launch proves that to be true,” Proven’s co-founder and CEO Ming Zhao said in a statement.
The Proven experience will be available in select Sephora locations in Los Angeles; New York; Dallas; Glendale, California; Santa Clara, California; Pembroke Pines, Florida; Metairie, Louisiana; Troy; Michigan; Paramus, New Jersey; and Tysons Corner, Virginia, locations.
Ever thought about drinking your breakfast?
Eggo is now on its second alcoholic beverage inspired by its frozen waffles. Ahead of National Waffle Day on August 24, Eggo and Sugarlands Distilling Co. announced its collaboration on a breakfast-themed alcoholic beverage, according to a press release.
The, “Eggo Brunch in a Jar Sippin' Cream,” is a combination of the flavors of toasted Eggo waffles, maple syrup, butter and bacon.
The cocktail is available at select retailers and online in select states. Last year just in time for the holiday season, the two led a similar collaboration with the release of Eggo Nog, a rum-based drink.
How ‘bout them apples
Angry Orchard Cider Company this week made it clear that it is sick of everything pumpkin flavored. “Angry Orchard is here to solidify the mighty apple as the real favor of fall,” the company wrote in a press release.
The company is therefore launching an apple-variety pack of hard cider, dubbed the Fireside Mix, with four variations of the apple-centric beverage. It includes the company’s original flavor, Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, its Cinnful Apple with cinnamon notes, the Green Apple with hints of honeydew and kiwi and Baked Apple Pie which features notes of nutmeg and vanilla ice cream.
"We are definitely team apple all year round, but something about drinking cider while you can see apples on the trees makes it that much more special,” Joe Gaynor, cider maker at Angry Orchard, said in a statement. “We hope this apple-only pack shares that feeling and shows just how unique apple-driven ciders can be."
The mix pack is available at retailers nationwide for a limited time.
What we’re still thinking about
That’s how much July e-commerce sales grew in the month that included Amazon’s Prime Day. The e-commerce giant and its rivals jumped to offer sales during the same timeframe, but that could mean slower online growth in August, according to analysts. Many other sectors suffered in July, with apparel sales barely budging up (less than 1%) and department store sales declining by close to 4%. With student loan payments set to resume soon, what spending will look like for the holidays remains a question mark.
That’s how much Target’s comparable sales declined in a period that was also negatively impacted by its Pride merchandise debacle. Target CEO Brian Cornell said the negative reaction to its Pride merchandise impacted the retailer’s revenue, which was down nearly 5%, but the executive defended the retailer’s decision to pull some merchandise in order to protect staff. “Pride is one of many heritage moments that are important to our guests and our team, and we’ll continue to support these moments in the future,” Cornell said.
What we’re watching
South Florida's ‘most polarizing conservative talk radio host’ invests in woke, goes broke — and sues
Target stockholder Brian Craig, who purchased a little over 216 shares for about $50,000 in April last year, has sued the retailer, its chief executive and board of directors, alleging securities violations. According to the suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Target’s board misled shareholders over the effect that ESG efforts — which he says culminated in this year’s Pride merchandising — would have on its results. He is seeking to void Target’s 2023 director election, as well as damages and attorney’s fees.
Target didn’t immediately return a request for comment. This week, CEO Brian Cornell said that volatile protests at some stores over its Pride Month displays hurt sales to some extent, but reiterated the retailer’s commitment to celebrating Pride. This suggests the protests themselves hurt sales, according to Sandra Stewart, principal at Thinkshift Communications and an expert on the benefits of ESG policies.
“It's clear that objections to Target's displays were not an organic market reaction. Rather, anti-LGBTQ+ agitators generated the business disruption, and now they're suing the company for the business disruption,” she said by email. “This seems more like a scam than anything, and do companies want to set a precedent that they are vulnerable to scams? Or abandon their stated values for fear of extortion?”
Moreover, Target’s share declines haven’t been unusual in the current climate for discretionary spending, according to GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders. Craig still owns his shares, according to court documents.
“The bottom line is that for a long period of time before current economic woes, Target has been one of the best performing large retailers in the US and has grown its sales and profits at a very fast pace,” he said by email. “It is very hard to reconcile this fact with a company that has supposedly made itself unpopular.”
It’s unclear why someone who calls himself “South Florida's most polarizing conservative talk radio host” in 2022 would invest 50 grand in a retailer with the years-long track record of diversity goals and LGBTQ+ support. Neither he nor his attorney immediately returned requests for comment. But prevailing in court is probably not the point, according to Alison Taylor, executive director of the Ethical Systems program at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “The idea seems to be to create a chilling climate for diversity efforts, make corporations anxious about retaliation, and inflame the culture wars, in hope of winning over voters,” she said by email.