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 American Eagle’s jorts boxers to a donation program from Victoria’s Secret, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Victoria’s Secret launches undergarment donation program
Victoria’s Secret & Co. announced on Wednesday the launch of VS&Co Essentials, a program that provides undergarments to women and young adults in need.
The retailer partnered with nonprofit I Support The Girls for the launch. The Maryland-based organization collects and distributes essential items nationally to people experiencing homelessness, impoverishment or distress. Each recipient will get a one-week supply of panties, for a total of seven pairs each.
“While so much has changed over the past few years — the vital need for essential items has not. The VS&Co Essentials program will be able to reach even more individuals in need and have a monumental impact for years to come,” Dana Marlowe, founder and executive director of I Support The Girls, said in a statement. The nonprofit has recently experienced a 35% increase in requests for essential products.
Conn’s shop-in-shops open at Belk
Southern department store Belk and Conn’s, a regional retailer of furniture, mattress, electronics and appliances, are making good on a partnership they announced earlier this year with shop-in-shops at five Belk locations. “Conn’s x Belk” can be found at Belk stores in Knoxville, Tennessee; Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Ridgeland, Mississippi; and Charleston, South Carolina.
"The great part about this partnership with Conn's is that our customers now have access to products we didn't sell in our stores,” Belk Interim CEO Don Hendricks said in a statement.
The tie-up not only brings that merchandise to those spaces, which range in size from about 10,000 to 25,000 square feet, but also provides white-glove, next-day delivery, according to a press release from the companies. The first five shops are opening this summer and into early fall, with more planned, and an online version will go live this fall.
Tommy Hilfiger joins ThredUp’s “resale-as-a-service” roster
ThredUp has added Tommy Hilfiger to its portfolio of “Resale-as-a-Service” clients, the resale site said on Thursday. Tommy Hilfiger’s U.S. customers can generate a prepaid shipping label from tommy.thredup.com, fill a shippable box or bag with clothing — women’s and kid’s items can be any brand, while men’s items must be Tommy Hilfiger — and ship it to ThredUp for free. If any of the women’s and kid’s items sell or if the men’s items are deemed eligible, they will receive Tommy Hilfiger shopping credit that can be used both online and in-store.
In a statement, Esther Verburg, Tommy Hilfiger Global executive vice president of sustainable business and innovation, said the partnership is part of the brand’s effort to become fully circular. “The U.S. market is packed with circular potential, and together with thredUP, we’re hoping to make a long-lasting difference,” she said.
The brand is no doubt also hoping to participate in what ThredUp calculates will be an $82 billion market by 2026. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo analysts see the resale site’s partnerships with brands as potentially more lucrative than its consumer business.
Why would you make something so controversial yet so brave, American Eagle?
Just when you were wondering “can I wear underwear and make people think I’m wearing actual clothes?” American Eagle is here to bring you boxer briefs that look like jean shorts.
That’s right, for just under $50 you can now buy a three pack of undies that look like jorts.
The eyesore of fashion loved by dads across America can now be layered under your actual jorts. American Eagle describes them as “ideal for the gym, lounging at home, or on the go,” but please let it be your secret that you wear underwear that makes it look like you are perpetually about to go get a hotdog at Costco. This product does have an audience. In a review NJ writes, “I LOOK GREAT! I just look great in them … my wife loves them too!” Which should give everyone hope about finding love.
Who wants a pandemic collectible?
The name Karen — which possesses a variety of definitions on Urban Dictionary, including “the middle aged white mother, responsible for the existence of the 'live, laugh, love' sign industry” — had already been besmirched before the pandemic gave rise to a new host of entitled customers.
The Karens that arose during the global health crisis became infamous for things like berating frontline employees about basic safety procedures. They went viral via rants about mask-wearing requirements and other COVID-19 policies, and generally exiled store managers to a deeper circle of hell than the pandemic had already placed them in.
In fact, the connection between pandemic-era Karens and refusing to wear masks is so strong that an Urban Dictionary example paragraph reads: “Karen refuses to wear a face mask for her 5 minute trip to the supermarket during a pandemic. She harasses the workers, asks to see the manager and threatens to sue.”
Now, that unique breed of Karen has been immortalized by Namespace in an action figure set that features Karen alongside the overworked and underpaid store manager, Joe. Joe is dutifully wearing a mask, and Karen is exercising her civil liberties by wearing a “live laugh love” shirt that doesn’t deserve to see the light of day.
Don’t get it twisted, though. This is apparently not an effort to commemorate Karens, but rather an attempt to “encourage positive change and even foster a little more tolerance," Namespace Sales Manager Matt Jacquot said in a statement. You know — by making Karens into action figures.
What we’re still thinking about
That’s the amount Sears Holdings, its former vendors and other plaintiffs settled for after years of litigation with the retailer’s former CEO Eddie Lampert. Plaintiffs accused Lampert, along with his hedge fund ESL Investments and other defendants of stripping out billions of dollars in valuable assets for their own profit and rampant self-dealing in the years leading up to Sears Holdings’ 2018 bankruptcy. The settlement could finally provide a path to ending Sears’ long, expensive bankruptcy, though the amount falls far short of what plaintiffs accused Lampert and other defendants of taking from the company.
That’s the number of employees Warby Parker laid off this week. It amounts to 15% of the brand’s corporate workforce and 2% of its total workforce. Co-CEOs Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa cited “significant volatility and uncertainty” in the global economy in their note to employees on the job cuts. Warby Parker joins a host of retail-related companies that have laid off employees in recent weeks, including fellow DTC brands Glossier and Allbirds.
What we’re watching
Are we reaching peak inflation?
The monthly consumer price index for July surprised analysts and economists with a picture of moderating inflation. Prices were still up 8.5% from a year ago but that was was down from a 9.1% year over year increase in June, and prices were flat month to month. Gas prices declined in the month after heavy spikes in June, while food prices continued their monthly rise.
Other data points to inflation easing as well. Online prices declined for the first time in two years, with electronic and toys leading the way down, according to Adobe’s Digital Price Index. Prices for online groceries, however, were up double digits over last year.