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 Clarks' CEO leaving to KFC's holiday sweaters for chicken buckets, here's our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Less is more in Supreme x Tiffany collab
Tiffany, in its latest bid to update its vibe after announcing a campaign in August with Beyoncé and Jay-Z, this week tied up with cult brand Supreme.
Other Tiffany efforts to modernize in recent years — which have included marketing to same-sex couples and men, creating designs to appeal to millennials and introducing new levels of transparency around its diamond sourcing — have been well received. But since the storied American jeweler was acquired by LVMH earlier this year for close to $16 billion, its overtures to younger consumers have become more assertive and streetwise.
This week, Supreme and Tiffany each touted their collab on Instagram, but otherwise the announcement entailed the taciturn approach favored by Supreme, whose drops often appear suddenly and sell out fast.
Saying less may work better for Tiffany than its recent campaign, aimed at Gen Z, declaring itself "not your mother's Tiffany" and sparking a backlash.
The Supreme x Tiffany collection of silver jewelry includes earrings, a heart pendant, pearl necklace, star bracelet, stud earrings, key rings and a T-shirt where Supreme's simple red logo is instead featured in Tiffany's robin's egg blue.
Clarks CEO leaves top spot after less than a year
Former Zara and Guess executive Victor Herrero has stepped down as CEO of U.K. footwear brand Clarks after less than a year, a company spokesperson confirmed in an email. Herrero will remain on the board, as Chairman Johnny Chen steps in as interim chief executive while the brand searches for Herrero's replacement. The move will allow Herrero "to take on broader responsibilities within the LionRock / Viva China group of companies," the brand's new owners as of a year ago.
"Victor has done an incredible job in a much shorter than anticipated time and gives us a unique ability to accelerate the next stages of our growth plans," the spokesperson said, adding that the easing of the pandemic has also helped. "The Clarks business is on track to meet or exceed its forecast revenue goals, and our debt and cash positions have been considerably improved in the last few months. The loosening of pandemic restrictions in our key markets and the strong management of costs in the past six months have resulted in the delivery of a much-improved financial position in rapid time."
Chen, who has been managing partner of the Beijing office of both KPMG and PWC and is vice-chairperson of Lionrock Capital, has been a member of Clarks' board since February of this year, the company said. It's the latest shakeup in the nearly 200-year-old brand's top ranks since its acquisition by private equity. That ended what had been a longstanding era of family ownership, although the Clark family reportedly remains "a key shareholder" in the business. Also in February, a number top executives abruptly left the company, including previous CEO Giorgio Presca, per several news reports.
Ikea raises hourly wage to $16, expands benefits
Ikea this week announced it has raised its starting hourly wages for U.S. employees to $16, with wages starting at $17 or $18 an hour in some places, bringing its average hourly wage to $20. The wage increase — which applies to full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers — takes effect Jan. 1.
The announcement comes as others in the industry, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Macy's and Williams-Sonoma, have increased their own wages.
Ikea on Tuesday also said it's expanded its benefits package to include at least five weeks of paid time off, education assistance, back-up childcare and adult care, and "more inclusive health care benefits."
EBay launches a refurbishment program
Ebay on Tuesday announced the launch of its Refurbished program, according to a company press release. It's a "new destination for like-new products" where shoppers can access refurbished items from brands including Samsung, Dyson and Apple — all backed by a one- or two-year warranty. The program builds on the company's Certified Refurbished program which debuted last year.
Ebay Refurbished includes multiple, standardized condition grades (certified refurbished, excellent, very good and good) so shoppers can pick an item that best suits their needs. Sellers are vetted to meet performance standards. Products come with warranties, eBay's money back guarantee, free shipping and free 30-day returns.
Foot Locker continues to broaden its assortment with a new brand
Foot Locker on Monday launched a lifestyle brand with Don C, dubbed All City by Just Don. The new brand, which "merges luxury fabrics and modern streetwear with a vintage aesthetic" comes just a couple of weeks after the athletics retailer launched a new private label, Lckr. The first collection of All City by Just Don dropped on Wednesday, with products ranging from $55 to $150. The collection so far includes hoodies, T-shirts, shorts, and matching track pants and jackets.
"Like Foot Locker, Don C is deeply committed to the young, diverse communities we serve," Bryon Milburn, senior vice president and general manager of Foot Locker, said in a statement. "He is at the forefront of modern culture and fashion, and by lending his taste, care and craft to the All City by Just Don line at Foot Locker, we're able to further connect to the next generation of streetwear enthusiasts."
Foot Locker has been upping its apparel game across its brands, with Eastbay launching a new private label in early October.
KFC unveils a sweater for chicken buckets
It's ugly sweater season, and this year, KFC's fried chicken bucket is the most unexpected participant. This week, KFC introduced the limited-edition Finger Lickin' Chicken Mitten Bucket Hugger.
Like the name suggests, the Bucket Hugger is a knitted sweater that fits perfectly onto a bucket of KFC fried chicken. And that's not all, consumers can clasp onto the bucket through, get this, built-in mittens. It serves a dual purpose, KFC said: for safe carriage and to keep fingers toasty while doing so.
The time to obtain a Finger Lickin' Chicken Mitten Bucket Hugger has sadly already passed. It was available at KFC.com and on the KFC app from Nov. 9 through Nov. 11.
From ugly sweaters to candy cane-inspired treats, Petco amps up the festive offerings to get everyone in the spirit
Though the pandemic is still ever-present this holiday season, the vaccine has helped allow some traditions to return this year, namely gatherings with friends and family. But if, well, people aren't your cup of tea, don't worry, you're not alone.
According to a recent survey conducted by Petco, almost 80% of pet parents are "most" excited to spend the holidays with their pets than their human family members. To help get you and your furry friend in the holiday spirit, the retailer has stocked up on festive goods. From candy cane-shaped dog chews to novelty beds and throws, life will be anything but ruff for man's best friend.
But the fun doesn't stop there: Petco is selling matching hats and sweaters for pets and pet parents because apparently nothing embarrasses die-hard pet owners. But hey, at least those matching outfits will come in handy for the retailer's photos with Santa event from Nov. 28 to Dec. 18.
What we're still thinking about
The attorneys general of Nebraska and 38 additional states are investigating Rent-A-Center's Acina fintech unit, which specializes in lease-to-own financing. The company disclosed it had received a letter from Nebraska's attorney general informing it that subpoenas or civil investigative demands related to state consumer protection laws would be forthcoming. That's about all we know at the moment.
Rent-A-Center acquired Acima late last year for $1.3 billion in an effort to expand its lease-to-own platform and to partner with other retail names as a financing provider. Acima is also under investigation by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has made multiple requests for information but so far has not leveled any specific allegations against the company yet.
That is Macy's new starting wage, meant to entice workers during a tight labor market and in an era when more retailers are offering that figure to workers to gain an edge over peers in recruitment. Broadly, a $15 an hour wage has been shown to reduce poverty and inequality and boost mental health and company productivity.
Macy's is also offering employees a debt-free education benefit and an additional flexible paid holiday.
What we're watching
What's the deal with Staples and Office Depot?
Months have passed since the parent companies of Office Depot and Staples stores last reiterated their plans. Staples wants to buy ODP Corp.'s consumer business (Office Depot), the latter wants to remain independent, and spin off its retail business into a standalone company. Recently, both have once again restated their desires.
Staples issued a press release that nothing has changed since June — it still wants to buy ODP's consumer business for $1 billion in cash, and it has been working with the government to make sure the deal would pass through antitrust enforcers. Meanwhile, ODP is moving along with its spin-off plans, most recently naming Kevin Moffitt, currently chief retail officer of ODP as CEO of Office Depot once it's free from the parent. The company expects the spin-off to close next year.
Will ODP have a change of heart? If not, can Staples move on and learn to love again? Only time will tell.