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TRAUB Weekly News Update // Week of January 28, 2019

By TRAUB

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


 M&A and INVESTMENTS

  • Unilever buys New York based The Laundress to boost cleaning business Reuters 
  • Walgreens scoops up 63 Shopko pharmacies at Ch.11 auction Retail Dive
  • Wellness startup Hims enters the unicorn club with $100M investment Tech Crunch 
  • Hair Dye Disruptor Madison Reed Locks In $50 Million In VC Forbes
  • Billie Raises $25 Million for Women's Shaving and Personal Care Fortune 

INDUSTRY NEWS - GENERAL

Shopify to Open TV and Film Production House for Streaming and Network Content

The Ottawa-based e-commerce company says the venture will be called Shopify Studios and will involve developing, producing and financing projects for both streaming platforms and traditional networks. Among the first wave of content Shopify will release is a series of 20- to 30-minute films on entrepreneurs, examining the relationship between where individuals live and what they choose to create and a podcast exploring secret economies. Financial Post

 

Condé Nast to launch Vogue Business newsletter
Vogue is plowing into the less sexy side of fashion. The Condé Nast stalwart said Monday it will launch a new website and newsletter called Vogue Business. Instead of runway shows and the latest clothing trends, it will specialize in wonky topics like design and manufacturing, marketing and distribution and the influence of technology across the industry. The new title won’t be overseen by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, but rather Vogue International president Wolfgang Blau. NY Post

 

Taobao tech improves online shopping for visually-impaired

Alibaba’s Taobao online marketplace in China has adopted new technology to improve the shopping experiences of blind and sight-impaired users, including an artificial intelligence-enabled feature that reads text written on webpage images. The report stated that Taobao, which has about 300,000 daily active users who are blind or have partial vision, has been using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology on its shopping pages since late last year. Retail Dive

 

Pinterest Reportedly Hires Underwriters For Widely Anticipated 2019 IPO

With the U.S. federal government open once again, the temporarily frozen IPO pipeline is finally starting to thaw. One of the bigger IPOs that could happen in 2019 is Pinterest’s, a popular photo-sharing website originally built around the visual metaphor of cork bulletin boards. Pinterest has hired bankers for its IPO, according to the Financial Times. The FT reports that “Pinterest has hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to advise” it on its impending public offering. Crunchbase News 

 

 

What Is the Future of Ecommerce? 10 Insights on the Evolution of an Industry

“No industry,” wrote Harvard Business Review at the close of 2018, “is failing faster than retail.” At risk of contradicting the Crimson: bullshit. Sweeping proclamations make for great sound bites and (scholarly) clickbait. But the truth? Not so much. At the opposite extreme lay headlines trumpeting “voice-search buying,” “Instagram-worthy pop-ups,” and “VR-enabled O2O experiences.” What the data shows — and what the leaders we spoke to from brands at the forefront said — isn’t that retail is failing nor that success is tied to innovation for innovation’s sake. Instead, it points to the now unignorable center of commerce: customer choice. What is the future of ecommerce for 2019 and beyond? 10 insights offer the answer. Shopify Plus

 

Casper announces the Glow — a portable, sleep-friendly lightcasper

Over the past few years, mattress company Casper has expanded its product lineup to include everything from dog beds to nap pillows. (It’s also opened its own nap store.) The latest addition: the Glow, an $89 light. While the company has never made this kind of internet-connected hardware before, Chief Strategy Officer Neil Parikh pitched the Glow as part of Casper’s mission to improve sleep. And although there’s already whole categories of sleep-friendly light bulbs and smart lamps, the Glow has a couple of smart touches that could make it particularly appealing. Tech Crunch

 

The ambitious quest to recycle the world’s bras

An innovative partnership between the brands Harper Wilde and For Days aims to recycle a nearly unrecyclable garment. Harper Wilde and the T-shirt recycling brand For Days are partnering on a new bra recycling program that invites women to send them their bras, whether or not they were made by Harper Wilde. Those old bras will be sent to a recycling facility where they will be turned into new products and kept out of landfills. And since Harper Wilde has a free trial program that offers return shipping, it’s easy for customers to send old bras to the warehouse in the same package. Fast Company 

 

Altuzarra’s Take on Retailalta

Inviting seating, a cup of tea, a curated selection of art books. Welcome to Joseph Altuzarra’s novel first foray into physical retail. “True luxury today is to have a space to do nothing,” the designer says. He offers that assessment on a Wednesday evening walkthrough of his brand’s pop-up store at 956 Madison Avenue, opening today. The site most recently housed the Tomas Maier boutique, which closed with the dissolution of that brand by parent company Kering last year. Kering holds a minority stake in Altuzarra. The new pop-up will stay through March 29, after which a new tenant will take over the space, according to Altuzarra chief executive officer Karis Durmer. WWD

 

1-800-Flowers cashes in on conversational commerce, AR for Valentine's Day

Flower delivery service 1-800-Flowers.com now lets customers place orders using voice commands and chat services, just in time for Valentine's Day. Through Samsung's virtual assistant Bixby, customers can say a command like, "Hi Bixby, I want to send flowers to my wife," and pay for the order using Samsung Pay, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The verbal command system also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Retail Dive

 

Article rolls out last-mile furniture delivery option

Article, a digitally native furniture and home decor brand, announced on Thursday the launch of an in-house delivery service called Article Delivery Team. The delivery teams will operate in New York and Los Angeles with plans to expand to other major North American cities over 18 months. Retail Dive

 


COMINGS AND GOINGS

  • Jim Gold, President and Chief Merchandising Officer, Ending Long Run at Neiman Marcus Group WWD
  • Macy's Names Suzanne Anderson RTW Fashion Director WWD 
  • Browns CEO Holli Rogers Adds New Role at Farfetch WWD

Tags: News

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