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 Gap promoting Kanye's latest album to multiple direct-to-consumer companies filing for an IPO in a matter of days, here's our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Former Adidas exec starts streetwear brand
Eric Liedtke, former Brand President at Adidas, this week launched a streetwear brand dubbed Unless. It was co-founded with executives from the likes of Quicksilver and R/GA, and has a sustainability focus, according to details emailed to Retail Dive. The brand, which offers apparel, accessories and footwear, claims to be "the first streetwear brand to create products that will harmlessly decompose at the end of life."
"Fashion is arguably the world's second-largest polluter. And the plastic problem keeps getting worse," Liedtke said in a statement. "With Unless we see a real opportunity for change. An opportunity for a better way. A way driven by cutting-edge innovation married with the desirability of streetwear. An innovative solution for consumers so they can truly feel as great as they look knowing their choices will have a positive impact on the world."
Gap helps sell Kanye's latest album
Kanye West, already famous as a hip hop musician and producer, fashion designer and erstwhile politician, has now expanded his retail assortment with a $200 portable "stem player," a music device that allows users to customize songs by isolating elements like vocals, samples or instrumentation and/or adding effects.
The "Donda" stem player, named for his latest release, ships with the new album already loaded. Although West via an Instagram post claimed that "Donda" was released by his record label before it was finished, he appears to be actively promoting it nevertheless. Gap customers, for example, received a cryptic email with just a black square —the album's cover art; a click ends the mystery with a link to buy a digital download via the Kanye West website.
The album and its chaotic release for the time being is overshadowing West's Yeezy Gap drops, which so far have constituted three colorways of the same jacket. Analysts, speaking to Gap Inc. executives during its latest earnings call, couldn't get the company to reveal any further details about that collection. "It's, you know, it's following a creative process versus a more traditional process and so you know that will lead to incremental excitement as this all builds, but it also leads to a different path," Gap Chief Financial Officer Katrina O'Connell said.
Dick's Sporting Goods' new banner, Public Lands, supports nonprofit partners
Public Lands, one of Dick's Sporting Goods many new concepts, is elevating its purpose beyond retail with a nonprofit mission in support of environmental activism, "access to outdoor experiences and ... inclusion and equity in the outdoors."
The new Dick's banner is donating 1% of its gross sales to The Public Lands Fund, which will operate via the Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation charity. Groups that will benefit include the Allegheny Land Trust, Venture Outdoors, The Arc of Appalachia, Project Learning Tree, Friends of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, the Alaska Wilderness League, The Conservation Alliance, The Conservation Lands Foundation, the Student Conservation Association and The Trust for Public Land.
Public Lands President Todd Spaletto said the idea is to support groups that are already doing "incredible work."
"[W]e're going to be working with our nonprofit partners to support their missions and collaborate on programs that get more people into the outdoors and take care of our local, state and national parks and recreation spaces," Spaletto said in a statement. "In fact, we're proud that our Pittsburgh-area store team has already logged 224 hours in volunteering with local nonprofit partners doing trail restoration, clean up and breaking new trails in local Pittsburgh parks and lands."
Your pet will look boo-tiful
Your dog needs a costume. Lucky for you, Petco this week announced the return of its "Bootique" for the scary season, which includes expanded costume types and sizes for a variety of pets. (And some for human owners.) The pet retailer is also holding a photo contest. Put your best furry friend in a costume and use the hashtag #PetcoHalloween on Instagram and TikTok before Oct. 25 to win a chance for prizes, including $5,000 in cash.
Best Buy steers into the electric transportation market
Retailers have been getting into every category under the sun lately, and Best Buy is letting consumers know that it is no exception. The company began selling a new product lineup of electric transportation — such as e-bikes, scooters, mopeds and accessories — on its website. By October, shoppers can pull up to select Best Buy stores to purchase the products too.
Best Buy is cruising into the category with items from brands like Unagi, Bird, Segway-Ninebot, Super73 and Swft. "There's been incredible innovation in the e-transportation space, and we know more customers are looking for ways to efficiently and sustainably commute," Frank Bedo, senior vice president at Best Buy, said in a statement.
What we're still thinking about
Equity markets shrugged off last year's COVID-19 dip and took off for the skies, with initial public offerings in the U.S. already hitting their highest mark since the internet bubble in 2000, according to Renaissance Capital. With stock prices reaching new heights in 2021, brands have been cashing in on the action, and opening up their shares and books to the world. Over the past seven days, three direct-to-consumer brands have filed papers for an initial public offering: Shoe brand Allbirds, jewelry maker Brilliant Earth and hair care specialist Olaplex. So far this year, by Retail Dive's count, more than 10 companies in the industry have filed to go public, including the DTC brands On, Honest Co. and Warby Parker.
That's the number of permanent supply chain workers that Walmart plans to hire ahead of the hectic holiday shopping season. The retailer said it is holding hiring events on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 for various full-time and part-time roles across 250 Walmart and Sam's Club distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation offices. Available jobs include order fillers, freight handlers, lift drivers, technicians and management positions.
That's how much Burlington Stores' sourcing costs rose over the past two years. In the second quarter of this year, the costs of buying and processing goods and other supply chain costs hit $146 million, a figure that took the company by surprise, according to Chief Financial Officer John Crimmins.
"There aren't enough containers," Crimmins said. "There aren't enough ships. There aren't enough trucks or trains. There is more volume now than any part of the supply chain pipes can adequately handle. Every piece of the pipe is slower and that our backlogs to work through every step of the way."
What we're watching
Allbirds' growth strategy
Allbirds filing for an IPO was, to some extent, expected. In fact, we referenced those rumors just last week in this column. The DTC brand's prospectus revealed a string of losses, which was also somewhat expected given the track record of other DTC brands that have gone public. What we're most interested in going forward is how Allbirds plans to grow.
In its filing with the SEC, the sustainable footwear brand outlined its expansion plans, which include growing within the international markets it currently operates in, releasing more product offerings in spaces like casual, performance and outdoor, and significantly growing its store base. In fact, the retailer noted it's in the "early phase" of a ramp up to "hundreds of potential locations." For context: Allbirds currently has 30. Those are some big plans with the potential to have big impacts.