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 GNC launching into telehealth to Twisted Tea expanding into a new product category, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
GNC offers telehealth services for loyalty program members
Health and nutrition retailer GNC announced on Tuesday the launch of GNC Health. It’s a new supplemental healthcare service available to GNC Pro Access members as part of the company’s revamped loyalty program.
GNC said the $39.99 annual fee for an upgraded access membership now includes free healthcare services, including telehealth appointments for urgent and personal care. Members also receive access to 40 generic versions of most urgent care medications and more than 70 generic personal health medications with no co-pays, additional costs or fees required.
The retailer also said its myGNC Rewards loyalty program now offers two new tiers, silver and gold. The new tiers give customers the option to level up to gain access to greater perks and more value, the company said.
Walmart creates sensory-friendly hours
For customers who live with sensory disabilities, Walmart has introduced a quieter shopping environment. Sensory-friendly hours will occur Saturdays in July and August, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in most stores. During those hours, static image will replace moving pictures on televisions and select stores will turn off radios and lower overhead lights.
For areas that start school after Labor Day, sensory-friendly hours will begin this coming Saturday.
Pacsun opens first dedicated activewear store for Pac1980 line
Pacsun is opening its first dedicated activewear store at the Mall of America, the retailer said Thursday. Dubbed Pac1980, the store is named after Pacsun’s founding date and represents a more dedicated shift into the activewear category for the teen fashion brand. The store features a greater selection of activewear than is available in Pacsun stores and is organized by color.
Thanks to “overwhelming success and response” to the Pac1980 line, which debuted earlier this year and features leggings, skirts, onesies and tops, the retailer has added the activewear collection to all of its namesake Pacsun stores as well. Early demand caused some of the athleisure and active styles to sell out, and now the brand is pursuing a rapid expansion of the activewear business.
Pacsun plans to roll out more dedicated Pac1980 stores in the future, according to the release. Others in the teen fashion space have sought to establish themselves in activewear as well. Abercrombie & Fitch launched its Your Personal Best activewear sub-brand in 2022 and American Eagle expanded its Aerie brand with a dedicated activewear line, Offline by Aerie, in 2020.
Twisted Tea wants hairless backs this summer
Is the hair on your back preventing you from enjoying an ice cold Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea? There is now a solution for that, according to a press release.
The alcoholic beverage brand is now selling a wax for your back hair amid the current beach weather. The “tea-inspired hair removal system” smells and looks like the company’s iced tea drink, and comes with wax strips and detailed instructions for use. The system is available online through Aug. 1 while supplies last.
"For those who need some extra confidence this summer, we're back with a ridiculously twisted invention designed just for them,” Erica Taylor, senior brand director for Twisted Tea, said in a statement. “From the beach to the backyard, whether proudly rocking body hair or looking for some help, Twisted Tea is here to provide nothing but fun and delicious refreshment this summer.”
Morphe and influencers continue their love affair
When makeup brand Morphe’s owner, Forma Brands, filed for bankruptcy in January, its court filings revealed a slew of problems it faced. Among the issues it listed, the company noted that it planned to terminate several partnerships with certain influencers.
Morphe had bet big on influencer collaborations, which included Jeffree Star, James Charles and more. Forma Brands exited bankruptcy in April after lenders acquired it, naming a previous Outdoor Voices executive as its CEO.
But it turns out old flames die hard. Morphe is now back to working with influencers, despite its previous woes with the strategy. The makeup brand released a new makeup collection on Thursday with beauty and fashion influencer Meredith Duxbury. The limited-edition collection features products such as a face primer, lip liner and brow wax, according to an Instagram post.
What we’re still thinking about
That’s how many Lowe’s stores will have a Petco shop-in-shop, up from 15 locations. The partnership between the two retailers began in early 2022.
The Petco shop-in-shops in Lowe’s feature a range of products like flea and tick solutions, nutrition and Petco private labels. Seventy-five locations will also feature Petco’s Vetco Clinics once a month, which include services like vaccinations, microchipping and preventative medicine, and are staffed by a licensed veterinarian.
That’s the number for which Kim Kardashian’s apparel brand Skims is now valued. Following a recent funding round of $270 million led by Wellington Management, the DTC brand’s valuation was updated to $4 billion. Green Oaks Capital Partners, D1 Capital Partners and Imaginary Ventures also participated in the funding round.
The company plans to use the funding for product innovation, category expansion and building out its physical footprint, including opening a Los Angeles flagship early next year.
Skims has raised $670 million to date, including $240 million in 2022 and $154 million in 2020.
The company expects to reach $750 million in net sales this year, up from around $500 million last year.
What we’re watching
New merger guidelines grapple with antitrust features of Amazon, tech companies
The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice this week released a set of 13 proposed guidelines for mergers and acquisitions that in part take up “killer acquisitions” and other potential antitrust pitfalls at tech-oriented companies. The update is intended to deal with today’s competitive landscape, according to a statement from Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Antitrust Division.
Tech-oriented companies sometimes buy an emerging rival in order to quash the new competition, sometimes even shutting down the young entity shortly after. Observers have seen that “killer acquisition” process at play in retail as well, as when Amazon bought, then shuttered Quidsi several years ago.
While no companies are named, several aspects of the guidelines could apply to the e-commerce giant or other data-heavy companies. The agencies say they would consider the effect of “one-stop shops” on the market. Elsewhere, they discuss how a platform could potentially deprive rivals of a fair chance to compete.
“For example, acquiring data that helps facilitate matching, sorting, or prediction services may enable the platform to weaken rival platforms by denying them that data,” per the draft.
If approved, the guidelines don’t carry the force of law, but do offer a roadmap for regulators and judges mulling the legality of a proposed merger or acquisition.
“As markets and commercial realities change, it is vital that we adapt our law enforcement tools to keep pace so that we can protect competition in a manner that reflects the intricacies of our modern economy,” Kanter said. “Simply put, competition today looks different than it did 50 — or even 15 — years ago.”