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 J.C. Penney's Marilyn Monroe capsule collection to Sephora's future at Kohl's, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
The North Face is making gear from leftover scraps at its factories
On Earth Day last week, The North Face announced a collaboration with clothing company Online Ceramics, inspired by '70s California climb culture. The collection also served as an introduction to The North Face’s latest sustainability initiative: Re-Grind, a process through which the retailer is repurposing scraps from its factories into gear. Products in the Online Ceramics collection are made with at least 75% recycled or organic materials, and some of them were designed using the Re-Grind effort, the company said in a release emailed to Retail Dive.
The North Face plans to debut additional Re-Grind pieces throughout the course of the year as part of its goal to have its top apparel materials be recycled, regenerative or renewable by 2025. In its efforts to improve circularity, The North Face also launched a refurbishment pilot in 2018 dubbed “The North Face Renewed” to clean up defective, damaged or returned apparel and resell it online.
Coty opts to wind down Russian operations
In an SEC filing this week, beauty company Coty announced it would be winding down operations in Russia, effective immediately. In 2021, Russia accounted for about 3% of Coty’s sales and contributed a mid-single digit percentage of EBITDA, the retailer said.
“After careful consideration, including analysis of relevant U.S., U.K., and other applicable regulation, Coty has decided to wind down its Russian operations starting immediately,” the company wrote in the filing. “While all of the financial impacts, including the impact on the Company’s long-term outlook, of the decision are still being determined, this decision is not expected to impact Coty’s ability to achieve its previously issued fiscal 2022 outlook on revenue, adjusted EBITDA or adjusted EPS guidance because of seasonally lower contribution of the business in the fourth fiscal quarter.”
For fiscal 2022, Coty in February issued guidance of low-to-mid teens percentage growth in sales, $900 million adjusted EBITDA "at a minimum" and earnings per share of $0.22 to $0.26. The company is just one of many that have either paused operations in Russia or pulled out of the country entirely after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February this year.
Chief Keef designs True Religion anniversary collection
Famous American rap artist Chief Keef has designed an apparel collection for streetwear brand True Religion, according to a press release this week. The collaboration marks 20 years since the brand was founded and 10 years since the rapper's hit song “True Religion Fein” was released. The collection relies heavily on graphic heart, skull and bones imagery. The designed T-shirt, hoodies, joggers, denim jeans, jackets and beanies will be available for purchase online May 5.
“[W]hen you think of True Religion you think of Chief Keef, because the brand and the artist have become synonymous," Zihaad Wells, senior vice president and creative director for True Religion, said in a statement.
Chief Keef added that it has “always been a dream of mine to collaborate with True Religion. I actually wore head-to-toe True Religion to my first show and when this opportunity came about, I jumped on it.”
This news builds on True Religion’s history of collaborating with designers and artists, such as iconic skateboarding brand Supreme. The brand came to fame in 2002 by introducing denim jeans with a unique stitch and silhouette that rivaled the traditional five-pocket jean.
Brooks takes top spot in adult running market for the first time
For the first time, Brooks Running in Q1 took the top spot in the U.S. adult performance running footwear market. The brand had 22% share, based on revenue, per NPD Group data cited in a company press release.
Two of Brooks’ products, the Ghost and Adrenaline, were the top two franchise lines in the category, accounting for 14% of U.S. sales.
Given its performance and the fact that it topped $1 billion in revenue in 2021, the company is projecting double-digit growth in 2022.
“While Vietnam factory closures last year caused us to fall short of fulfilling strong market demand for Brooks in Q1, we remain bullish for substantial growth in 2022,” CEO Jim Weber said in a statement. “Brooks’ performance products continued to lead with runners and the best is yet to come as our new Glycerin styles come to market featuring DNA LOFT v3, a nitrogen-infused midsole compound that delivers an incredibly compelling running experience.”
J.C. Penney is turning out to be the Authentic Brands store
With the addition this week of Marilyn Monroe by JCPenney, “a collection of pieces that honor the enduring style of feminine silhouettes and effortless, polished looks,” the 120-year-old department store has solidified its role as … Authentic Brands Group’s favorite retailer.
The IP management giant owns a slew of iconic brands; in addition to Marilyn Monroe, those include Sports Illustrated (found at J.C. Penney), Forever 21 (found at J.C. Penney), Juicy Couture (found at J.C. Penney) and Muhammad Ali (partnered with J.C. Penney), among others.
The Marilyn Monroe collection features clothing reminiscent of the actor’s style, including sleek capri pants, crisp shirting and full-skirted sundresses cinched at the waist, according to a press release from J.C. Penney and ABG. Items will be available in sizes XS to 3X, per the release.
The limited-time capsule is available now at 300 J.C. Penney locations and online, the companies said. A special edition of Keds with Marilyn Monroe-inspired details will be released in May exclusively at the department store.
“We are thrilled to see this collection come to life,” Dana Carpenter, ABG’s executive vice president of entertainment, said in a statement.
Pete Davidson stars in a new H&M campaign
Pete Davidson is the new face of H&M’s menswear campaign. The man who somehow manages to land the hottest women on the planet even though he looks like every stoner we went to high school with is now modeling fast fashion.
“We are thrilled that Pete Davidson is the face of our bold new campaign,” Henrik Nordvall, global business unit director for menswear, said in a statement. “Pete encapsulates everything H&M loves about the new menswear mood, with his self-confidence and play with personal style. He is so relatable, inspiring guys around the world to create the moment with their look themselves.”
In an interesting move, H&M is encouraging shoppers to wear its new pieces mixed with items from past collections. “The campaign encourages men around the world to enjoy what they already own, buy vintage, and then add in the new pieces that matter from H&M's menswear collections,” the company wrote in a press release.
Davidson, for his part, looks like he just rolled out of bed and then was handed a parrot for an unknown reason. “The clothes are comfortable and feel great to wear which is what I love about H&M,” Davidson said in a statement. The parrot had no comment.
Donut mind if “I Do”
Don’t know what to get the bride in your life? All you have to do is head to Dunkin’ to say "I like you a latte" or "I love you a hole lot."
The company revealed its first wedding merch collection last year as a wedding pop-up shop before Valentine’s Day. Now, bridal items are on sale. That means you can obtain things like a Dunkin’ bride satin robe, a marry me sweatshirt, the “she knows my Dunkin’ order” T-shirt, a tumbler and even— for the bride who has everything except taste — a Dunkin’ branded veil.
Donut ever let each other go.
What we're still thinking about
To sweeten the perks of its Walmart+ membership, Walmart boosted gasoline discounts for its members at participating gas stations. Those include 12,000 Exxon and Mobil stations, which will cut 10 cents from a gallon of fuel, and Walmart and Murphy stations, which will drop five to 10 cents from the price of a gallon.
“Ninety-one percent of our customers are aware of the increased prices at the pump and nearly half of those told us they are changing behaviors because of them,” Chris Cracchiolo, Walmart+ senior vice president and general manager, said in a statement at the time the retailer announced the perk. “More access to a bigger discount will make a difference for our customers.”
That’s how much Mattel’s sales grew by in what UBS analysts described as a “blowout” first quarter. The toy giant’s CEO, Ynon Kreiz, said that the company is “firmly in growth mode” and expects to take market share. Key toy categories grew by double digits, including action figures, which grew 75%. And while cost inflation ate into Mattel’s margins, its operating income still grew by 136% year over year.
It was a solid quarter for a company that could have potential suitors. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters both reported this week that Mattel has talked with private equity firms Apollo Global Management and L Catterton, though the Journal noted those talks were in an early stage.
D.A. Davidson Senior Research Analyst and Managing Director Linda Bolton Weiser said in a note this week that the company might be open to a buyout given that Kreiz is “frustrated with the stock’s relatively low valuation despite nearly flawless execution, a robust growth outlook, and ownership of some of the biggest brands in consumer products.”
What we're watching
After a massive expansion, Kohl’s Sephora partnership could soon get shut down
For much of this year, Kohl’s has been under pressure from activist shareholders to take drastic measures of some kind — maybe split its e-commerce from its brick-and-mortar stores, or sell itself. Now it seems close to being sold: The New York Post this week reported that mall REITs Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management had bid $8.6 billion for the department store chain.
The acquisition is a bit of a head-scratcher, given that neither Simon nor Brookfield run many strip-style shopping centers, where Kohl’s stores are usually found. Kohl’s does own enough real estate and is enough of a money-maker to be attractive to the mall owners, which have paired up before to buy other retailers.
The biggest surprise in the report, however, is that Simon and Brookfield would nix Kohl’s much ballyhooed tie-up with Sephora. LVMH’s beauty retailer is busy setting up 400 shop-in-shops in Kohl’s stores this year, landing at about 850 some time next year.
There’s some drama here: In order to partner with Kohl's, Sephora nearly two years ago ditched J.C. Penney, a Kohl’s rival that is also owned by none other than Simon and Brookfield. The mall developers didn’t return requests for comment on whether they would indeed end the Sephora partnership, while Kohl’s said by email that it does “not comment on any rumors or speculation.”