Weekly News Update // Week of April 5, 2021

Here's TRAUB's roundup of recent consumer and retail news. Signet Jewelers enters the rental market by buying Rocksbox, Target to spend over $2B with black-owned companies by 2025, Nordstrom partners with Dover Street Market, and more.


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  • Twitter Held Discussions for $4 Billion Takeover of Clubhouse BoF
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  • Allbirds Takes Steps Toward IPO BoF
  • Impossible Foods preparing to go public with $10B valuation, Reuters reports Food Dive
  • Clubhouse eyes fundraise at around $4B valuation Crunchbase News
  • Sneaker Marketplace StockX Valued At $3.8B After Latest Funding Round BoF
  • Nestlé's North American bottled water business renamed BlueTriton Brands after $4.3B sale Food Dive
  • Glovo Raises $528M Crunchbase News
  • With $155M in fresh capital, Harry's looks to add more brands Retail Dive
  • Anheuser-Busch invests $100M to upcycle barley used to make beer Food Dive
  • Molecular spirit maker Endless West raises $21M Food Dive
  • PAIR Eyewear Lands $12M Series A With Vision Of More Customizable Frame Offerings Crunchbase News 


Signet Jewelers Buys Rocksbox, Enters Rental Market

The parent company of Kay Jewellers, Zales and Jared — also the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewellery — announced that it acquired the rental jewellery subscription platform Rocksbox for an undisclosed price. Signet hopes to add Rocksbox’s consumer base of young professional women (mainly, Gen-Z and Millennials) to its own more traditional base, and attract more customers to Rockbox’s service-oriented value proposition. Prior to announcing the deal, Signet disclosed it would accelerate its services business. The jewellery rental subscription will give Signet access to an engaged customer base and a new revenue stream. Beyond that, the company expects to expand repair, warranty and piercings services as well as introduce new ones. Signet’s foray into the jewellery rental space comes as the rental clothing market returns after being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Shifts in consumer behaviour are quickly making rental an attractive revenue stream for brands — Bain & Company estimates rental could represent 10 percent of revenue for luxury brands by 2030. BoF


Brookfield mall REIT to be sold for $6.5B

This move by Brookfield comes as no surprise, not least because the company made its intentions clear earlier this year. Specifically, the mall landlord may have been hemmed in by the web of financial requirements unique to publicly traded real estate investment trusts or REITs. Those rules are designed to ensure that mom and pop investors can partake of commercial real estate investments, though the stiff limitations are sweetened with massive tax exemptions. Because so much of a REIT's funds must accrue to its shareholders, it can be difficult to find enough capital to fund the type of renovation that is sorely needed at many malls, according to Nick Egelanian, president of retail real estate development firm SiteWorks. Even the better malls run by Brookfield and Simon Property Group are suffering from traffic declines that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, according to recent research from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Several experts believe that most malls need a more diverse mix of tenants and, especially at enclosed malls, a design overhaul. Egelanian says his research shows that even A malls have 25% to 35% too much space. Retail Dive

Nordstrom Partners with Dover Street Market

The tie-up is another sign of retail’s ongoing evolution in a challenging environment. It’s the first time the Comme des Garçons-owned concept store has partnered with another retailer to establish a shop-in-shop, expanding its reach while lending Nordstrom the benefit of its brand. For the next six weeks in New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver and online, Nordstrom’s Space boutique, which typically stocks a mix of emerging and established brands such as Comme des Garçons, Wales Bonner, Jacquemus and Marine Serre, will feature the seven labels supported by Dover Street Market Paris, Dover Street Market’s platform for emerging designers. These include New York collective Vaquera, Gosha Rubchinskiy-founded label Rassvet, and Singapore-based Youths in Balaclava. BoF


Chanel-Owned Jeweller Goossens Opens First International Boutique 

The new shop on London’s Burlington Gardens, set to open April 12, will be the first retail location outside Paris for Goossens, a maker of fashion jewellery and homeware known for its sculptural, gold-plated creations incorporating crystals and semi-precious stones. One of more than two dozen suppliers Chanel has acquired since the 1980s, Goossens is less famous for its own products than for the costume jewellery it makes for its parent company, as well as for other Paris couture houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and Jean-Paul Gaultier. The opening of a London outpost comes as luxury companies are attempting to expand their presence in the fast-growing jewellery sector, which remains dominated by unbranded items and regional names. BoF


Luxury fashion brands poised to join the NFT party

on-fungible tokens are all the rage, but for luxury fashion brands they pose questions — in abundance. Will the crypto-wealthy, who are mostly young and male, be interested in luxury fashion NFTs? What would they look like and would buyers get any utility from them? Would they be brand dilutive? And will the complexity of setting up cryptocurrency wallets be too much of a bother for luxury consumers? While each new day brings another breathless story on a new non-fungible token (NFT) record sale, the luxury fashion world has remained relatively quiet. But that’s about to change. Fashion brands have been studying the wild, wacky world of blockchain and all its creative and business possibilities. Now they are poised to jump in. Vogue Business


Saks Fifth Avenue Moves to Halt Sales of Fur Products
Saks Fifth Avenue will close its fur salons and stop selling products made with animal fur by early 2023, part of a broader trend by US department stores to stop selling such goods. The Saks fur salons will close by the end of this fiscal year, which concludes January 29. They sell items like mink coats, fox puffers and rabbit jackets from designers such as Zac Posen, Norman Ambrose and Zandra Rhodes. The move will apply to both stores and e-commerce. The retailer will keep faux-fur on its shelves, along with products that include cattle hide, shearling, down and leather. BoF


Target to spend over $2B with Black-owned companies by 2025

The mass merchant concluded its fiscal year last month promising to make Target a more relevant and welcoming place for Black guests. This commitment came after the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests against systemic racism last summer. Brands have responded to the protests in a variety of ways, including releasing statements addressing racism as well as investing and partnering with Black-owned brands. Ulta in February announced it would double the number of Black-owned brands on its shelves by the end of the year, and Ipsy committed $7 million to market and develop products from Black-owned beauty brands in January. Target also has its share of initiatives. The Wednesday announcement stems from Target's broader social justice and racial equity pledge. Target introduced its Racial Equity Action and Change (REACH) committee last year, which includes senior leaders with "a diverse range of perspectives and expertise" within the company to guide the retailer's efforts to end systemic racism. During Black History Month, the retailer also released an exclusive collection produced by and made for the Black community. Retail Dive 



  • Glossier taps L'Oréal exec for VP of brand Retail Dive
  • Lisa Osborne Ross Appointed US CEO of Edelman PR BoF
  • The Global Fashion Agenda Appoints CEO BoF


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