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 Adidas' partnership with the Black Women's Player Collective to Sam's Club tie-up with Tidal, here's our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Jana Partners reportedly takes stake in Macy's in order to push for e-commerce spinoff
After Scott Ostfeld, a partner at Jana Partners, made waves with his assertion that Macy's should replicate Saks' e-commerce spinoff in order to liberate value locked in its own online operations, the Wall Street Journal this week reported that the firm has taken a stake in Macy's.
Jana and Macy's each declined to comment to Retail Dive. If Jana were to have a significant stake in the department store, it would be in a position to advocate for a breakup. Knowledge of the undertaking at Saks shapes the thinking behind the idea of Macy's as an ideal candidate for a similar move, according to a person familiar with Jana's reasoning. Nine months preparing for the split resulted in a series of operating agreements to ensure that the customer experience remains seamless despite the separation, and the entities are co-existing successfully, the person said. Saks completed the split in March, and sibling companies Saks Off 5th and Hudson's Bay Co. have followed suit.
Target partner with Lego for latest collection
On Thursday, Target announced a partnership with Lego to produce nearly 300 products, most of which are under $30 and available exclusively at the retailer. Through the new "Lego Collection X Target" partnership, the retailer is offering brick-inspired products ranging from household goods, toys and pet products. Apparel items such as hooded sweatshirts, color-blocked puffer jackets and pajamas are also available in sizes XXS to 4X for women and S to 5XLT for men.
"Our guests love LEGO brick sets. In fact, Target is one of the leading destinations for families when shopping for the brand," Jill Sando, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Target, said in a statement. "As we approached the holiday season, we saw an opportunity to come together with one of our long-standing partners to create something truly special for our guests during a time of year when differentiation and value are paramount."
The collection will be available in stores and on Target's website in early December.
Coach stops destroying unwanted bags
After a TikTok video by user "thetrashwalker" went viral this week alleging that it is Coach policy to destroy unwanted merchandise, the retailer said it has stopped that practice, according to Business of Fashion.
Coach responded by saying that most of its excess inventory is donated and that destroyed product represents only around 1% of its products globally. The company also said that it is not obtaining any tax benefits on unsalable returns that are destroyed in stores -an allegation made in the video by environmental activist and influencer Anna Sacks.
Burning or destroying unwanted products has been a highly contested practice for years, most famously erupting in 2018 when Burberry stated in its annual report that year that it physically destroyed around $37 million in goods. That prompted the fashion house to increase efforts to reuse, repair, donate or recycle items instead.
Adidas partners with Black Women's Players Collective to tackle inequality in soccer
To further equal representation in soccer, Adidas this week announced a new partnership with the Black Women's Player Collective to support Black youth. The sports giant in an email to Retail Dive highlighted that the drop-out rate for girls of color in urban and rural centers is twice that of suburban White girls, a problem the company hopes to address through this partnership. In 2022, Adidas and the Black Women's Player Collective will hose annual soccer clinics and other programming for girls aged 8 to 15 in four cities across the U.S.: Atlanta, Durham, Orlando and Houston.
"This partnership will provide spaces where young girls can go out and experience the sport without constraints as well as providing role models through our collective," Ifeoma Onumonu, women's professional soccer player and Black Women's Player Collective board member. "What we plan to do with Adidas is give young girls the space to know they belong inside and outside the sport."
Allbirds debuts trail running shoe as it pursues further growth
As it looks for growth ahead of its long-anticipated IPO, Allbirds this week launched its first trail running shoe. The DTC shoe company is advertising the new product on its website for activities like hiking and walking in addition to trail running, and it's currently priced at $138. "Top-tested for durability, stability, and traction, it's the sneaker, comfort, and sustainability you love with new ripstop fabric, grippy treads, and stabilizing support to take on any adventure," the product description reads.
Allbirds made moves into the performance footwear market last year with its first running shoe, which was swiftly followed by an activewear offering this year. In filing for its IPO in August, the DTC brand pointed to possible further expansions in the outdoors, performance and casual spaces. This appears to fit the bill for at least two of those areas of opportunity as the company continues to pursue scale.
Sam's Club hits all the right notes
In a partnership no one saw coming, Tidal this week announced that Sam's Club members can now receive discounts on its music streaming service. Club members can access both Tidal premium and HiFi through the retailer's digital subscriptions hub. And with over 70 million songs and 250,000 videos in its catalog, you can shop while you bop along to all of your favorite hits.
(Also, did everyone remember that Jack Dorsey of Twitter / Square fame bought Tidal this past spring? Ha ha ha we all forgot because time means nothing.)
What we're still thinking about
That's how many retail workers quit their jobs in August, an exodus that was larger than most other industries for the period. That made for a quit rate of 4.7% for the month, the highest since April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At the same time, retail job openings in August amounted to 1.2 million as the industry preps for the holidays with seasonal hires. The mass resignations came during the same month as a severe rise in COVID-19 cases, driven by the delta variant of the disease.
"The end of emergency unemployment insurance and kids returning to campus this September was not the silver bullet for the jobs recovery many hoped for," Wells Fargo's Sarah House and Michael Pugliese said after the labor numbers were released.
That's the amount Target is planning to invest in Black communities in the U.S. through 2025, according to a press release Tuesday. This investment aims to push economic growth among communities by supporting local Black-led organizations. The most recent fund builds on a previous $10 million Target committed to last year following the murder of George Floyd.
That's how much Signet Jewelers has agreed to acquire Diamonds Direct for in cash, according to a press release Tuesday. Diamond Direct's president will report directly to Signet CEO Virginia Drosos, while the rest of its current leadership team will also remain. The deal is expected to close in Q4 of fiscal year 2022.
What we're watching
Analysts sour on Wayfair and Bed Bath & Beyond
Demand for home goods surged this past year as consumers looked to invest in the spaces they were spending the majority of their time. This boosted sales for many companies selling in this category.
But it seems like the ride's over for some retailers. This week Morgan Stanley analysts downgraded Wayfair from an Equal Weight to an Underweight as a result of a projected decline in the home furnishing category over the next two years, supply chain challenges, the enterprise value-to-sales ratio becoming less relevant if core metrics deteriorate, and unprofitability woes.
"As sales slow, possibly below expectations in Q3/Q4, profitability likely follows, driven by higher marketing spend to recapture share," the analysts said. The downgrade comes a day after Jefferies downgraded Wayfair to a Hold from a Buy, citing the potential for rising costs to cut into profits.
Morgan Stanley also downgraded Bed Bath & Beyond from an Equal Weight to an Underweight as it now anticipates the retailer to report below-consensus revenue over the next two years.