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 Fabletics' new store in Germany to Canada Goose's footwear expansion here's our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
AAFA calls for more action on supply chain crisis
After the Biden Administration moved to increase hours at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, the American Apparel and Footwear Association called the action "largely symbolic." Left unaddressed, the trade group said, were spiraling ocean freight rates and "unreasonable practices" by carriers.
"Much more needs to be done to end this backup, and more must be done to address price gouging and unreasonable practices by carriers," AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar said in a statement. In a letter addressed to a U.S. Department of Transportation official, Lamar cited rising rates, delays and shipping contracts that are "routinely ignored" by carriers. Lamar asked that the Administration bring all parties to the negotiating table and called for "[a]ggressive enforcement of existing rules and regulations," such as enforcement actions against excessive fees.
Guten tag, Fabletics
Fabletics this week opened its first European store in Berlin, Germany, according to information sent to Retail Dive.
The location features iPads installed in dressing rooms so customers can request a different size or color, check inventory or get styling tips. Style quizzes can be taken via touchscreens throughout the store so shoppers can decide on style needs and preferences, and employees can employ tech to help customers shop on the company's website and organize free shipping. The Berlin location also has a live social media screen that customers can use to "follow Fabletics-related social media activities."
The company also soon plans to launch a recycling program where shoppers can return old Fabletics apparel and receive a 10% voucher.
"Germany is not only one of our top markets in Europe, but the vibe, the energy and the pulse of Berlin speak directly to our Fabletics customers," said Gerrit Müller, managing director of Fabletics in Europe, in a statement. "Athleisure has become an integral part of the clothing culture around the world. But Berlin has always been a pioneer of this trend."
Canada Goose offers members first dibs on its footwear
As the luxury apparel brand expands into footwear, Canada Goose this week said its Canada Goose Basecamp members would have the first opportunity to shop the new category ahead of its official launch in November. The pre-sale event begins Friday and runs through Wednesday, giving members access to the Snow Mantra Boots and the Journey Boots.
The company's Basecamp members receive exclusive access to events and experiences in addition to early access to products and company announcements. The pre-sale comes just a couple of weeks after the retailer's first campaign in the footwear space. The category officially launches Nov. 11 in Asia and Nov. 12 globally at Canada Goose's more than 35 stores, online and at select wholesale partners.
Lowe's kicks off the holiday season early
Lowe's has decked out its stores with holiday items as it anticipates consumers decking the halls earlier than ever. The home improvement retailer this week announced it is currently offering its largest selection of artificial trees ever, and come mid-November, Lowe's will bring back its fresh-cut tree lot to its garden centers.
Catering to consumers looking to limit store visits this year as the pandemic lingers, Lowe's will also offer products in its "Gift Zone," like tools, smart home products, appliances, wine chillers and neck massagers, among other things.
Like many retailers, including Target, Amazon and Kohl's, the home improvement retailer has kicked off its holiday deals early. Beginning Oct. 28, Lowe's "Season of Savings" event returns with new deals dropping every week through December on brands like Craftsman, Kobalt and Google. And throughout November, the retailer will release deals catered to its professional customer base.
Foot Locker introduces private apparel brand, Lckr
Foot Locker this week launched a new apparel line, dubbed Lckr that "merges sneaker and sport culture with the heritage of Foot Locker." The athletics company describes the products as everyday lifestyle pieces, and the brand's debut collection features fleece sets, cargo pants and matching track jackets and pants. The collection, which ranges in price from $40 to $75, is available in stores and online. More collections will be released throughout this year and next.
"At Foot Locker we're continuing to grow our assortment every day to make sure we're meeting the evolving demands of all of our customers," Bryon Milburn, Foot Locker senior vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "Today, we're seeing the need for comfort and the acceptance of casual wear in more places than ever before. With LCKR, we have developed an elevated basics line that gives our customers a diverse way to complement their personal styles at a great value."
Fellow Foot Locker brand Eastbay introduced a performance private label line just a few weeks ago to serve "the holistic athletic lifestyle."
Looking like a snack
What do women want most in the world? Equal pay and rights.
Other than that? POCKETS.
And why don't women have pockets? The patriarchy.
And why do we need pockets? Snacks.
Here comes Outdoor Voices with a contribution to the ongoing pocket conversation with its Snacks ⅞ Legging, which retails for $118.
The leggings, which are made out of nylon and lycra, have smart pockets and a shirt loop that you can shove an extra shirt or windbreaker through. They also come with a removable mini backpack.
These leggings are also machine washable and built for a "high-sweat activity" like eating Hot Flamin' Cheetos while hiking. At least that's what we suspect.
Something old is something new at L.L. Bean
A brand that has thrived for more than a century enjoys a unique advantage amid the current craze for apparel resale, in part because the word "vintage" has real meaning. L.L. Bean (founded: 1912) this month announced the release of "heritage garments from the 1960s to now" via Instagram Stories. The Maine company's designers apparently had a field day, "traversing vintage fairs and flea markets from coast to coast – as part of the outdoor company's commitment to look to its deep history for inspiration."
So far they've found 28 items, including outerwear, fleece, flannel, chamois, knitwear, anoraks and vests in men's, women's and unisex sizing. It's the first time the brand "has sourced, refurbished and resold vintage apparel," according to a company blog post.
Bean may be 109 years old, and these items may be properly vintage, but the company also employed up-to-date methods to bring its "pre-loved" collection to market. L.L.Bean said it partnered with sustainable textile cleaning company Tersus Solutions to clean and refurbish each item, and releasing the collection in three discreet morning drops, streetwear-style.
"L.L.Bean has always operated with durability and quality as the benchmark for everything we make," L.L. Bean designer Meghan Newton said of the effort. "Not only does this collection feature beautiful and rare L.L.Bean apparel that dates back 50 years, it is also an important step in our commitment to extending the lifecycle of our apparel for years to come."
Supreme gets to partner with The North Face collection
When VF Corp. spent more than $2 billion to buy Supreme late last year, several analysts noted that the company would be able to freely borrow the cult brand's small-batch drops to cross-market with its other labels, including Vans. This month a Supreme + North Face collection dropped — including a down parka, jackets, pants and sweatpants, a sweatshirt, T-shirt and headband.
This one's likely a winner, and not necessarily because the fan-favorite, rectangular red and white Supreme logo is sharing space with The North Face's stylized half-dome graphic. The North Face — a half-century old brand acquired by VF in 2000 — has been holding its own for a while now. The brand is one of the conglomerate's best performers, and has previously partnered up with high-end labels like Gucci. Already popular as both streetwear and outdoor gear, The North Face got a another major boost last year during the pandemic, as more people headed outside to safely recreate outdoors.
What we're still thinking about
Target announced this week it is expanding the number of dedicated Apple shops within its locations to 36 stores, just in time for holiday shopping. The expansion more than doubles the 17 Apple shop-in-shops Target initially rolled out in February. The first wave of Apple shop-in-shops at Target featured new lighting fixtures, displays for Apple's products and Target tech consultants who received training from Apple.
What we're watching
Congress demands answers from Amazon
Amazon CEO Andrew Jassy has until Nov. 1 to provide a sworn response to clarify how Amazon uses data generated by third-party sellers on its site, after members of the House of Representatives' judiciary committee and subcommittee on antitrust suggested in a letter that top company officials, including Jeff Bezos, "may have lied" under oath.
Committee members also asked Jassy to provide documentation and responses to stories in Reuters and The Markup that appear to contradict statements from executives that Amazon does not give preferential treatment to its own labels in search or use seller data to its advantage. The House conducted an extensive investigation into Amazon's market power and business practices that produced a scathing report released last year.
PayPal reportedly mulls acquisition of Pinterest
Digital payments platform PayPal is reportedly considering buying social media site Pinterest for $45 billion. The payments platform is offering $70 a share for Pinterest, representing about a 26% premium on the social media company's Tuesday closing price, according to a Bloomberg report.
Such a deal may help bolster Pinterest's social commerce ambitions, which it has been touting recently.