It’s been another week with a lot more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we outline some things you may have missed during the week, and what we’re still thinking about.
From the latest Skechers board appointments to Adidas’ partnership with Waffle House, here’s our closeout of the week.
What you may have missed
Skechers adds Yolanda Macias to its board of directors
Skechers this week named Yolanda Macias, Cinedigm Entertainment Group’s chief content officer, to its board of directors, bringing the number of women on its board to three. Increasing the diversity of its board of directors is a relatively new effort for Skechers, which named Katherine Blair on its board in 2019 and before that, no women served on its board.
In a 2019 Retail Dive analysis on gender diversity in the top five sportswear brands, Skechers had the fewest women on its board and management team. One of the company’s 10 board members was a woman (Blair) and none of its four executives were women.
Macias’ appointment follows an overhaul of the board in December, when four Skechers directors have resigned and Zulema Garcia joined the board. Skechers said at the time that the departures were not the result of a disagreement with the company. The board reshuffle also follows an increase in participation from activist investors Tremblant Capital Group.
Now, with Garcia, Macias and Blair on the shoe retailer’s board, nearly half of Skechers’ eight-person board is made up of women. However, of the four Skechers frames listed on its websiteall are men.
Dick’s Sporting Goods appoints new Calia brand ambassadors
A few months after Carrie Underwood announced that she would be get away from the women’s sportswear brand which she built with Dick’s Sporting Goods, the retailer has appointed a new collective of brand ambassadors for the Calia label. The group of ambassadors includes wellness entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman, actress Dascha Polanco, golf journalist Alexandra O’Laughlin and gymnast Shawn Johnson East, according to details emailed to Retail Dive.
Dick’s launched a new campaign alongside the ad, called “Choose What Fits”, which started running late last week. The company has often touted the success of its Calia brand and is planning a number of expansions for the house brand, including its first golf apparel (debuting this spring) and its first maternity line. Maternity activewear as a category has been underserved and retailers have worked to address this in recent years. Nike launches its first collection dedicated to maternity in 2020.
Private labels have become a bigger part of Dick’s strategy, the retailer invest in own brands to fill gaps in its assortment. This strategy has included the launch of a menswear line, VRST, in March last year and build a list of brand ambassadors to represent each private label.
President Biden, touting benefits of unions, says ‘Amazon, here we come’
In a pro-union speech to members of North American building trades unions on Wednesday, President Biden, preaching to the choir, drew widespread applause.
Biden said he created the White House Task Force on Organizing and Empowering Workers in part because he believes that unions “are about bringing dignity and respect to the hard-headed.”
The president noted that unionized workers not only enjoy higher wages, benefits such as health insurance and paid vacations, protections against discrimination and harassment, and safer workplaces, but also earn power and a voice at work. He also called Amazon, where a Staten Island warehouse in New York last week became the first to unionize in the history of the company (a decision Amazon intends to appeal).
Some labor experts believe the victory could spark new organizing efforts at Amazon and elsewhere, which the president appears to endorse.
“And, by the way… Amazon, here we come,” he said to renewed applause, by a transcription of the speech published by the White House. “Look look.”
Walmart is trying to attract more sellers to its marketplace
Walmart is offering a 50% discount on commission rates for the first 90 days to new sellers on its marketplace. It also extended an agreement on its fulfillment service (Walmart Fulfillment Services) that it offers to third-party merchants, with free storage and a 10% discount on fees.
The retailer has been scrambling to attract sellers to bolster its online assortment to compete with Amazon, which remains by far the largest national online marketplace. Sellers also bring in service and advertising revenue through WFS and the booming advertising business.
Walmart reported the gross volume of merchandise in its WFS arm increased by 500% last year, and sellers using the service saw 50% sales growth for items. According to Marketplace Pulse, Walmart has over 142,000 sellers on its platform, with some 4,000 memberships in the past month. Amazon at this time last year had over 3.1 million sellers in North America.
A good embossed partnership
Adidas announced this week it’s partnered with the restaurant where you can have your hash browns scatter, smother and cover. It’s none other than Waffle House. Or WaHo if you’re from Georgia and ate there at 2 a.m. after a long night of studying (wink) and were grateful for menus where all you had to do was point the pictures.
The result of this unlikely pairing is a golf shoe, dubbed the Tour360 22 x Waffle House. It features a “dough-like” coloring “similar to the batter that constantly fills waffle irons” in the restaurant’s nearly 2,000 locations. The famous Adidas stripes have a checkered waffle pattern and the Waffle House logo is present on the heel. So everyone instantly knows how cool you are.
“Waffle House is such a well-known restaurant in Georgia and across the United States, we knew it would be fun to partner with their team on a design that brings a piece of the famous restaurant to everyone, all in our silhouette. flagship,” Masun Denison, global footwear director for Adidas Golf, said in a statement.
The shoe is available in men’s and women’s sizes for around $200, but unfortunately they’re all already sell. Thank you brunch, Adidas.
What we still think about
That’s Shein’s purported valuation, if the Chinese fast fashion retailer manages to get another $1 billion in funding that Bloomberg reports it is pursuing. As fast fashion stalwarts like H&M, Zara and Forever 21 have faltered, and as Gen Z consumers turn their attention to second-hand clothes, some analysts have speculated that the clothing segment will decline rapidly in the coming years. But Shein, who leverages social media to reach her young customers and runs a lightning-fast supply chain to refresh her on-trend styles and boost sales, is upsetting this story.
Gopuff is reduction of 3% of its global workforce of approximately 15,000 employees. According to a letter from co-founders Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, the layoffs are part of an internal “realignment”. The layoffs come as Gopuff nears close of $1 billion financing round led by Guggenheim Partners, according to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources.
what we watch
One of last year’s DTC IPOs is already at risk of bankruptcy
Last year was one of the milestones for direct-to-consumer company Digital Brands Group. She went public, acquired the In the USA and Harper & Jones clothing brands and increased its turnover by nearly 45%. “And now we’re taking that momentum, and we’re just going to keep accelerating it and moving forward,” CEO Hil Davis said on the company’s latest earnings call.
But the company finances are seriously threatened, based on his revelations. In its 10-K, Digital Brands said it may have to file for bankruptcy or seek alternatives if it cannot find enough cash to operate. 10-K and its most recent S-1 filings also include “going concern” language that it may not be able to survive the next 12 months without sufficient capital.
Digital Brands’ net losses tripled in 2020 to $32.4 million last year, and the Nasdaq has warned that its stock could be delisted if its value doesn’t rise (at the time of this writing, it was trading at around $1.25 per share).
Part of a huge class of IPOs in 2021, Digital Brands already faces significant financial challenges, even as it tries to continue to grow revenue and brand stability. In fact, it opened this year with another acquisition, women’s clothing brand Sundry. This purchase is conditional on financing before it can close.