The Weekly Closeout: Tractor Supply appoints chief marketing officer and Mattel partners with SpaceX
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It’s been another week with a lot more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed over the week, and what we’re still thinking about.
From Vuori’s expansion into tennis to Amazon’s latest foray into healthcare, here’s our closeout of the week.
What you may have missed
Spruce Point takes aim at Skechers
Spruce Point Capital issued a scathing report on Skechers this week, pointing to weakening sales in China and the potential for worsening inventory problems and eroding profits. The firm, which has a short position in Skechers, has also questioned the governance of the shoe company, which is controlled by the Greenberg family. Spruce Point accused the leadership of “nepotism, personal enrichment [and] endemic transactions between related parties. Skechers also faced activist investors attacking its governance structure and the influence of the Greenbergs on the company.
Vuori takes up tennis and pickleball
Sportswear brand DTC Vuori has grown in tennis and pickleball. The first collection for sports includes six items in different colorways, according to senior vice president of design, Sarah Carlson. These include three different skirts, a dress, polo shirt and shorts, with more to come. Carlson said the brand will expand its collections for tennis and pickleball “over the coming seasons.”
“Tennis and pickleball have grown in popularity during the pandemic and continue to impact the fashion industry. These sports are also a natural part of the Encinitas and Southern California lifestyle,” Carlson said via email to explain why the brand entered the category. “We are delighted to bring this new collection to our consumers, combining style and performance, on and off the pitch.”
Tractor Supply appoints new Marketing Director
Tractor Supply announced on Monday that Kimberley Gardiner will be the retailer’s next marketing director and Senior Vice President. She succeeds Christi Korzekwa, who announced her retirement.
Gardiner, who has more than two decades of marketing experience, was previously chief marketing officer at Volkswagen of America and held marketing positions at Mitsubishi Motors North America, Kia Motors America, 5th Kind and Toyota Motor Sales, USA. .
In his new role, Gardiner will focus on driving growth by enhancing Tractor Supply’s brand and marketing strategies.
“We are delighted to welcome Kimberley to Tractor Supply. She is a creative marketer with a proven track record of developing and executing growth strategies,” said Hal Lawton, CEO and President of Tractor Supply, in a statement. “His extensive experience and data-driven approach to brand development, along with his reputation for innovation, will help evolve our marketing organization and continue to build on the strength of the Tractor Supply brand.
Aerosols are out for your man
Aerosoles announced that it signed a new license agreement expand into men’s products. The company will launch slippers and socks for men, flip flops for men and women, and roller skates for men, women and children. The shoe brand has partnered with Orly Corporation for the effort and will launch its first collections next summer. The products will be available at Nordstrom, Macy’s and other major stores. Flip flops, socks and slippers will cost between $20 and $50, while roller skates will cost between $80 and $150.
Mattel signs multi-year toy deal with SpaceX, which is founded by child icon Elon Musk
Toy retailer Mattel announced on Wednesday that it entered into a multi-year agreement with SpaceX to create toys “that inspire kids and collectors to tap into their inner space explorer,” according to a press release.
The toys will launch under the company’s Matchbox brand next year, with astro-inspired collectibles to be released on Mattel Creations, its direct-to-consumer platform.
If your child has been looking forward to the fun and quirky NASA version toys, here they are. The American spaceship creator and launch company is founded by Tesla creator Elon Musk – a bastion of hope and inspiration for young kids who might want to buy Twitter in the future and then go back.
Twitter loves Kohl’s Cash
Kohl’s had a rough few weeks. The big shop pulled out of an acquisition deal and began to think about how to possibly monetize your real estate — something he once swore he wouldn’t do. So this week he received a negative outlook from S&P Global Ratings.
But, while news from the retailer seems to be going from bad to worse, social media is certainly having a good time. Twitter can be a difficult audience, but it gives credit where credit is due. And it comes this week in the form of a deep appreciation for both the department store and Kohl’s Cash.
kohl’s cash > cryptocurrency
—Jenna (@bcjennaa) July 20, 2022
how kohl’s money is probably worth more than the euro right now really makes you think
— Jeff (@jeffreybozos) July 20, 2022
I believe Kohl’s money is stronger than the US dollar.
—Ryan Cashman ???????????? (@CashmanRyan) July 20, 2022
95% of the ocean is unexplored, which means there could be a Kohl’s there
— pj (@pjaevans) July 19, 2022
What we still think about
This is the worst case scenario Bath & Body Works has forecast for its second quarter sales. The supplier of soaps, candles and other scented products is bracing for lower sales and profits this year after revise its guidelines downwards for 2022 and after a record year 2021 for sales. Management noted that traffic is down and low-income shoppers are skipping purchases and seeking discounts as they grapple with inflation. Like other retailers, Bath & Body Works is simultaneously offering discounts and looking for places to raise prices, while cutting costs where possible. But it’s still business as usual in some ways, as Bath & Body gears up for the autumn fragrance season.
Macroeconomic challenges, especially inflation, which injected uncertainty into the second half of the year are particularly difficult for small businesses, which lack the size or financial underpinnings of large chains. Retailers are particularly vulnerable: nearly half of small business owners say they are at risk of closing their doors in the coming months, while 59% of small retailers said so, according to research by Alignable.
Many who cling are reduce their hiringand, again, it’s more difficult in retail, according to another Alignable report. Fifty-seven percent of small players are not hiring and 3% are laying off employees.
what we watch
Amazon places the Prime in primary care
The e-commerce giant doesn’t make much profit from retail – much of it comes from its AWS cloud unit and services like fulfillment and advertising for its marketplace sellers, who are responsible for most of the goods sold on its site. The agreement with One Medical, a membership-based primary care company providing virtual and onsite medical services directly to members and corporate customers, further expands Amazon’s non-commercial operations.
According to analysts at the Telsey Advisory Group, healthcare “is one of the largest consumer spending buckets”, with opaque pricing and a level of fragmentation that makes it ripe for disruption. “We expect Amazon to continue to gain market share across multiple industries by leveraging its loyal customer base (more than 200 million global Prime members) and its relationships with small businesses,” they said. Thursday in a note on Medical One News. “The focus on new businesses and initiatives – grocery, health/pharma, fashion, home, third-party and Amazon Logistics – makes Amazon more valuable.”