Weekly News Update // Week of January 13, 2020

Here's TRAUB's roundup of recent retail news. Sotheby's and Highsnobiety partner on Masterworks capsule, Warner Bros. to open first ever 'Harry Potter' store in New York City, Opening Ceremony to close stores,  Nike's Vaporfly shoes possibly banned from the Olympics, and more. 


  • Opening Ceremony Acquired by Off-White Backer New Guards Group BoF
  • Callisto Gaming Raises US$500K in Seed Funding Finsmes
  • Califia Lands $225M Series D Round Led by Qatar Investment Authority Bevnet
  • Pentland to Buy Speedo North America From PVH for $170M Footwear News
  • Austin-based FlashParking raises $60 million for parking management technology Tech Crunch 
  • Casper files to go public TechCrunch


Sotheby’s and Highsnobiety Partner on Masterworks Capsule

Sotheby’s continues its exploration of the streetwear world through a collaboration with media company Highsnobiety, launching on Jan. 20. The collection is part of the Sotheby’s Old Masters department’s initiative to introduce pre-Modern-era artworks to new collectors. Works such as Matthias Withoos’ “Still Life With Butterflies and Lizards, an Imaginary Landscape With Allegories of Abundance and Charity” from the Prague School in the 16th century, Ginevra Cantofoli’s “A Sea Nymph,” a 16th-century Netherlandish School panel of a skeleton draped in white fabric, and a depiction of Bacchus and Ceres from an 18th-century Dutch school appear on white-and-black T-shirts, crewneck sweatshirts and hoodies, ranging in price from 65 euros to 125 euros. WWD


Warner Bros. To Open Giant ‘Harry Potter’ Store In New York City

Warner Bros. will open the world’s first-ever Harry Potter flagship store in New York City in Summer 2020. The upcoming store, to be located next to the Flatiron Building at 935 Broadway, will house the largest ever collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products, from Hogwarts House robes to Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. Visitors will be able to explore a store spanning 20,000 square feet and three floors full of Wizarding World merchandise. Forbes


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Nike’s Vaporfly Shoes Might Get Banned From the Olympics

For all the technological claims shoe companies have made over the years—Buy these shoes to run faster! Jump higher!—Nike may have actually succeeded too drastically. Elite runners may be banned from wearing Nike’s Vaporfly 4% shoes in races later this year. The Nike Vaporfly 4% uses a combination of advanced foams and a carbon fiber plate to rebound as much as 4% of the energy from one running stride into the next. Fast Company


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Opening Ceremony to Close Stores

With new owners, New Guards Group, Opening Ceremony plans to close all its retail locations sometime in 2020. In a letter that Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, cofounders of Opening Ceremony, sent to the media community and friends Tuesday, they said that they made that decision “to focus on growing the Opening Ceremony collection and brand with our new partners New Guards Group, and expand the designs of Opening Ceremony.” WWD


Kiehl’s Adds Facial Services to its Standalone Stores

On Wednesday, skin-care brand Kiehl’s will start offering services at its 80 standalone stores in the U.S., in a bid to differentiate what is available at its wholesale partners. L’Oréal-owned Kiehl’s has historically provided complimentary skin-care consultations and a basic 15-minute hydrating facial to all shoppers, but it will now offer three tiers of 20-minute facials to customers who make a purchase of at least $65, $85 or $125. Glossy 


Starbucks Uses AI to Counter Mobile's Isolating Effect

Deep Brew, Starbucks' artificial intelligence (AI) technology, is a key part of the company's vision for the future. Currently, the tech calculates a store's inventory needs and predicts how many baristas are needed every day. The benefit is that Starbucks employees don’t have to spend time doing these tasks, meaning they have more time to spend on helping and interacting with customers. According to Johnson, 100% of the time saved through AI goes back into customer connections. Retail Dive 


Lego Sets its Sights on a Growing Market: Stressed-Out Adults

Lego, the world’s largest and most profitable toymaker, is zeroing in on a growing demographic: stressed-out adults. The 87-year-old Danish company increasingly bills its brightly colored bricks as a way to drown out the noise of the day and perhaps achieve a measure of mindfulness. The company’s newest kits — which include the Central Perk cafe from the sitcom “Friends” and a vintage 1989 Batmobile — tap into Gen X nostalgia, while its Ideas and Forma lines are being targeted to adults who want to occupy their hands but keep their minds loosely engaged. The Washington Post 



Low-CO2 Food Labeling Will be the Next ‘Low Fat’ Craze

In what could prove to be a landmark marketing scheme, the Phillippine-owned fake meat producer Quorn—perhaps known best for its viral vegan sausage rolls in the U.K. and chicken-less nuggets in the U.S.—will begin labeling 30 of its most popular products, not simply with federally mandated Nutrition Facts but with a full disclosure of the food’s CO2 footprint. The CO2 labeling is a completely voluntary move, meant to highlight the fact that Quorn’s proprietary protein mix puts out greenhouse emissions that are 90% lower than beef. Fast Company 



  • Away C.E.O., Steph Korey, Is Back The New York Times
  • Glenda Bailey Steps Down as Editor-in-Chief of Harper's Bazaar BoF
  • Hudson’s Bay Appoints President, Iain Nairn BoF
  • Valentino Names Chief Brand Officer Alessio Vannetti BoF


  • TikTok lights, keto-friendly bread, beauty fridges: how old products get rebranded for the internet Vox
  • The EBay Veteran Cashing In On The $369 Billion Returns Boom Forbes
  • The making of Mojo, AR contact lenses that give your eyes superpowers Fast Company