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 Taco Bell's subscription service to predictions for the holiday season, here's our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Drunk Elephant sees beautiful possibilities at Ulta
Not all loves were meant to last. Drunk Elephant, once a Sephora exclusive, proclaimed earlier this week it's fallen "drunk in love" with the beauty store's rival, Ulta. Starting Sept. 26, Drunk Elephant's skin care, body care and hair care assortment will be available at all Ulta stores and online. The expansion is a big one for Drunk Elephant, as Ulta had 1,296 stores at the end of July, which likely played a large role in the break from Sephora exclusivity.
The two beauty retailers have both fought hard to gain exclusives with hot new brands and drive an exciting merchandise assortment for customers, especially as Ulta has grown far beyond its "drugstore retailer" image to become a space where shoppers go for beauty products at all price points. The two are also competing for space in major retailers, through Ulta's shop-in-shop partnership with Target and Sephora's similar deal with Kohl's.
"Distribution in the nation's largest beauty retailer marks a new era for Drunk Elephant and the opportunity to reach a new community of beauty lovers," the company said in a release.
Casper reportedly lays off dozens of employees, including some C-suite execs
DTC mattress brand Casper on Friday notified its staff of layoffs impacting "dozens" of employees, TechCrunch reported. Notable among those included the brand's chief operating officer, chief marketing officer and chief technology officer. Casper declined Retail Dive's request for comment.
The retailer, which recently exited its European business, reported North American revenues in the second quarter increased 44.6%. But at the same time, the retailer's losses grew wider, and the brand has failed to turn a profit since going public last year.
The most recent round of layoffs comes on top of staff cuts last year affecting 21% of its global workforce, which were related to the closure of its European business.
Target launches first-ever Latino Heritage Month collection
For the first time, Target is launching a product collection for Latino Heritage Month. The collection highlights Latino-owned brands at Target like Siete Foods, Rizos Curls and Pacinos, as well as new brands like Cocina54 and Millennial Loteria. The retailer also partnered with Latino creators and Target team members to make 80 products across all categories available online and in stores throughout September.
Indochino gets casual
When a custom men's suits retailer trumpets its new ready-to-wear knitwear collection, it's clear that casual menswear is an enduring trend. Indochino recently unveiled its fall and winter collection, and it does include "retro-inspired suiting and a new line of Italian fabrics," two things that aim to please a more dapper gent — especially, in this case, if he has a fondness for the styles of the '70s.
But the collection also features Indochino's first ready-to-wear crew necks, and short- and long-sleeve polos as "more comfortable and casual options," according to an emailed press release.
"The world is experiencing a significant shift and, as we look ahead, we want to offer even more comfortable and casual options such as knitwear, as well as fashion forward seasonal fabrics," Indochino CEO Drew Green said in a statement. "Our customers may be back in the office, working from home or somewhere in between, and we're here to help them build their wardrobes — and their style confidence — on their own terms."
The knit items are designed to move, in more ways than one. The retailers's custom suits are each $429. Those in its new Monza line — made from "high-end" wool fabrics from the Guabello mill in northern Italy — are $549. Velvet dinner jackets for winter weddings and other late-year formal occasions, now available in emerald, black and navy, as well as burgundy, purple and brown, are priced at $399. But the new Indochino knitwear is $79.
Give them something to taco-bout
For some, this news will be heaven. Others will swear it's their version of hell.
Lettuce gather together, though, to discuss the latest offering from Taco Bell.
It's a taco subscription service (!) which allows participants to treat themselves to one taco a day for 30 days.
Here's how it works: You buy a Taco Lover's Pass, which is available on the company's app between now and Nov. 24 at participating locations. (But, to be real with you, all of these locations are in Arizona for some reason. Why all the AZ love, Taco Bell?) The pass costs between $5 and $10 depending on the user's location.
A menu will be revealed and you can choose one taco from a list that includes items like the Soft Taco Supreme, a Crunchy Taco and the Doritos Locos Tacos. Then you can go on to do the same thing every day for a month. It will be the best month of your life. Or the worst. Who can say?
What we're still thinking about
Some analysts were skeptical about Walmart+ when it launched about a year ago. After all, it costs about as much as an Amazon Prime account, with no entertainment streaming service or other side perks to lure members. But with thousands of stores to use for fulfillment and curbside pickup, Walmart quickly gained traction with the service, which includes unlimited same-day delivery and fuel discounts, as wary shoppers sought to check off their grocery lists during the pandemic without entering a store.
This week, Deutsche Bank analysts led by Krisztina Katai recorded what they called "an inflection in membership," estimating that 32 million U.S. households are Walmart+ members — 400 basis points more than what the team found at the start of the year.
That doesn't mean that Amazon Prime is losing. "Overlap remains high," with more than 80% of households paying for both memberships, according to the report. Still, the 60-year-old brick-and-mortar giant is in the game, as Walmart+ is attracting younger and higher income customers. Indeed, the stats led Deutsche analysts to title their research,"The Behemoth Awakens."
Not everyone is buying it, however. GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders took to Twitter to declare the 32 million estimate "laughably inaccurate," citing Walmart's own earnings reports.
This report from Deutsche Bank that Walmart+ has 32 million members is laughably inaccurate. I saw some actual numbers a while back (last year) and they were nowhere near this! But, the falsity of the information can be seen from Walmart's own reporting.https://t.co/x9CrnAnYcS— Neil Saunders (@NeilRetail) September 16, 2021
"I have not seen the latest Walmart+ numbers but it is safe to say that while they are growing, they are nowhere near the 32 million level," Saunders said later in that thread. "This would represent crazy growth — well above that achieved by Amazon — for a scheme that is good but far from universally compelling."
That is the top end of Deloitte's projections for 2021 holiday sales. It would stack on top of last year's 5.8%, a figure that beat just about everyone's estimates.
This year, consumers are flush with cash from multiple rounds of stimulus and diverted spending from travel and experiences. There is some evidence that the delta variant of COVID-19 is moving even more money toward product sales while consumers remain wary of traveling, dining and other experiences. The season's wild card is likely not demand but supply, as widespread choke points throughout the global supply chain threaten both margins and inventory.
What we're watching
How much these next IPOs will rake in
It's (still) IPO season. Running brand On just raised $746 million from its IPO, and settled on a final share price of $24, which was significantly above its initial price range. There are a few more IPOs we're still waiting on. A.K.A. Brands just this week announced it will sell 13,888,889 shares with an initial price range of between $17 and $19, valuing the company at up to $2.5 billion. Brilliant Earth, on the other hand, is selling 16,666,667 shares with an initial price range of between $14 and $16.
It's certainly the year of the IPO in retail, but will these next ones have the same success as On or will they follow Honest Co.'s trajectory?