TRAUB Weekly Update // Week of January 7, 2019

Here's our roundup of this week's top retail news.


  • Fitness marketplace ClassPass acquires competitor GuavaPass Tech Crunch
  • Chanel advances luxury watch operations with Kenissi investment  Retail Dive
  • Dotdash acquires Clique Brands publications Byrdie and MyDomaine Glossy
  • Postmates lines up another $100M ahead of IPO Tech Crunch


Tiffany ups its diamond sourcing transparency
Tiffany & Co. on Wednesday announced a major transparency initiative around its diamond sourcing, saying that it has begun sharing the provenance of its newly sourced, individually registered diamonds and that by 2020 it will share information about their “craftsmanship journey,” including where its cutting and polishing workshops are located. Retail Dive 

How to Make a Millennial Feel Cozy in Just One BeverageRecess
Ease, comfort, and pleasure are what millennials, those members of the high-anxiety “Doom Generation,” really want — and capitalism is into it. A new beverage called Recess is a case study in where those desires meet. Bubbles? Yes. CBD? Check. Sans-serif block font? Yeah! A knowing, nudging, creepily on-point Instagram presence? ObviouslyRecess is a sparkling water infused with CBD (government name: cannabidiol), a nonintoxicating hemp extract that is said to act as a pain reliever, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and chillifier. The drink also contains adaptogens, ephemera from the neverland of is-it-food-or-not that are supposed to reduce stress and improve memory, focus and immunity. Their efficacy is without definitive evidence, but both CBD and adaptogens are decidedly a thing in functional health and wellness — and their marketing. NY Times

(TRAUB Note: The TRAUB team tried Recess today at the office - check out the Instagram for our taste test verdict.)

Men’s shaving brand Bevel expands to skin care
Fresh off its December 2018 acquisition by Procter & Gamble, Walker & Co.’s shaving brand Bevel launched into skin care this week in hopes of becoming the choice personal-care brand for men of color. The skin-care collection features four products — a face wash, a toner, a spot corrector and a gel moisturizer – and mirrors the “end-to-end system” that Bevel has for its shaving category. (It offers pre-shave, shave and post-shave products.) The new assortment is an attempt to deepen the brand’s relationship with current customers and also reach potential consumers who do not shave, said Tristan Walker, Walker & Co. founder and CEO. Glossy

Nest Bedding to launch Amazon-exclusive mattress
With Mattress Firm filing for bankruptcy protection in October last year, which entailed closing 700 of its underperforming stores, it seems like mattress startups are popping up everywhere in hopes to get consumers to go to bed with them. And while Nest Bedding expects to reach $34 million by the end of this year, competition within its market segment is bringing in nearly 10 times that revenue. Nest Bedding announced the launch of its Amazon-only mattress, FLIP, a move that may prove beneficial as more startups form partnerships with legacy retailers such as Amazon with Tuft and Needle, Casper with Target and Williams-Sonoma brands West Elm and Pottery Barn with Leesa. Retail Dive

Teeth aligner startup Candid opens physical location in SF
Candid,  a teeth aligner startup that aims to make straight teeth more accessible and more affordable than Invisalign, is evolving its direct-to-consumer business. In addition to its at-home impression process, Candid recently started enabling people to come into a physical office to get their teeth scans completed. Candid is opening physical storefronts in San Francisco, Austin, Columbus, Ohio and Santa Monica, Calif. This is in addition to the two locations in New York City, one in Boston and one in West Hollywood, Calif. By the end of next year, Candid aims to have 75 locations across the U.S Tech Crunch

The Warby Parker of tights has arrived Heist
The recent backlash against Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show reveals that women want more from brands that market to them. For years, women’s underwear, tights, and shapewear was designed for the male gaze, rather than women’s comfort. These pieces were marketed as a way to make women appear sexier and skinnier to their partners. But times are changing. Underwear brands like Thirdlove and Lively are rejecting that approach to marketing and product design, and now a British tights brand called Heist joins them. Fast Company 

(TRAUB Note: While we generally aren't fans of calling brands "The Warby Parker of", many members of the TRAUB team are big fans of the Heist tights.)

West Elm is the latest retailer to dip into the beauty category 
Home décor retailer West Elm is betting on beauty with its new private label line, West Elm Water Street. The bath-focused collection, which debuts on Jan. 9 in its 100 stores and on, builds on the Williams-Sonoma-owned brand’s roots in furniture. It features countertop accessories, vanity mirrors and hampers, but also allows West Elm to dip its toe into a select offering of bath bombs, soaps, and hand and body lotionsIn step with the product launch, West Elm sent 50 influencers custom-designed mailers, which included Water Street product, a Naturopathica beauty routine kit and instructions for a 30-day, one-minute self-care challenge. These influencers will be on-hand to experience a custom Naturopathica spa experience on Jan. 9 in New York City Glossy

Macy's Cuts Profit and Sales Forecast After Weak Holiday Season
Macy's said its sales slowed after a good start to the holidays, and flagged particular weakness in women's sportswear, sleepwear, fashion jewelry, fashion watches and cosmetics. Its comparable sales over the critical November and December months rose 1.1 percent. Kohl's reported similarly muted comparable sales growth for the holidays, sending its shares down as much as 9 percent. Target was down nearly 4 percent even after the retailer posted relatively strong holiday sales growth of nearly 6 percent. Those results come as overall sales for the 2018 U.S. holiday shopping season hit a six-year high as shoppers were encouraged by early discounts, according to a Mastercard report in late December. But some are already calling for an industry-wide slowdown this year. Business of Fashion

Why Covering Nancy Pelosi’s Hot Pink Dress Isn’t SexistNanyc Pelosi
In an increasingly visual age, how you look is part of the message you are communicating. That photo of Ms. Pelosi in an orange coat and dark glasses is more effective than any logo at communicating women’s relish at being on the front lines. (The director Barry Jenkins even put it on a sweatshirt, which he is giving away.) I don’t think there’s any question Ms. Pelosi picked a hot pink dress for her swearing-in both because she knew it would make her stand out in what was still a room full of dark suits, and because of the symbolic nature of the occasion: a color traditionally associated with delicate femininity had become a color associated with a seat of power. That’s a strategic and savvy choice, and to take notice of it is to acknowledge the multidimensional chess game Ms. Pelosi is playing, not to demean her. NY Times

J. Crew tackles sustainability with denim buyback program
J. Crew debuted this week a new program in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, in which it buys back old pairs of jeans to be recycled into insulation material for the housing companyTo incentivize customers to recycle their denim with J. Crew, the brand is offering $20 toward a new pair of jeans for every pair brought in. That’s generous, compared to like programs by brands like Rag & Bone and A.P.C., which only offer a percentage discount, usually around 10-20 percent (although A.P.C. offers 50 percent for some styles) on future purchases. Any pair of jeans can be turned in, not just pairs purchased at J. Crew. Other brands, including the aforementioned Rag & Bone and A.P.C., typically require that the recycled product be from the brand. Glossy 

Nike stretches into Lululemon's space with 1st yoga line
Nike's latest announcement could have Lululemon and Athleta sweating. While the retailer has offered yoga-related products in the past, this is Nike's first yoga-tailored sportswear line, and the fact that it's already offering men's yoga apparel puts it in a good position to challenge Lululemon, which is still focusing on building a male customer baseWhile Lululemon's first male-centered campaign in September 2017 focused on the definition of strength, masculinity and awareness, Nike is taking an entirely different approach, highlighting yoga as a supplement to other workouts and emphasizing how it helps professional athletes from all different sports compete better in their respective spaces. Retail Dive 

Clinique Puts a Trendy Twist on a Beloved Product: PersonalizationClinique
Clinique iD’s introduction to the marketplace signals legacy brands’ growing embrace of personalization, as challenger brands like Belle Bar, Prose and Function of Beauty have been offering customizable hair and skincare for over a year. But the change came with some challenges. The brand is banking on that surprise and delight coming primarily in the form of five brightly colored cartridges, each one meant to address a different skincare concern. The options are wide-ranging: The green one soothes irritated skin, orange is for calming tired skin, blue for refining and retexturing pores, white to even skin tone, and purple to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Ad Week 



  • Executive Shakeup at Coty Amid Struggles in Consumer Beauty WWD
  • Jean-André Rougeot Named CEO of Sephora Americas WWD