Weekly Consumer News Update // January 24, 2023

Here's our weekly roundup of recent consumer and retail news. This week, Microsoft and Alphabet announce layoffs, Walgreens locks up more products, Meta expands partnership with NBA, and more. 


  • Discord acquires Gas, a compliments-based social media app for teens TechCrunch
  • Makeup by Mario Secures $40M Minority Investment at $200 Million Valuation BoF
  • Bremont Secures $59 Million Investment WWD
  • Strava acquires Fatmap, a 3D mapping platform for the great outdoors TechCrunch
  • EBay Invests in Luxury Resale Platform Cudoni BoF
  • Babylist Acquires Expectful, Expanding Its Award-Winning and Fast-Growing Media Business Yahoo
  • Elliott Management Takes Big Stake in Salesforce WSJ
  • Microsoft announces new multibillion-dollar investment in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI CNBC



Microsoft is laying off 10,000 employees

The company said the cuts come “in response to macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities.” CNN


J.Crew Launches Resale Site

In partnership with ThredUp, the American retailer now offers customers a way to buy and sell pre-worn J.Crew products online. BoF


Carvana adopts 'poison pill', sells $4 billion of auto loans

Ally Bank and Ally Financial will buy the loans, giving Carvana a fresh source of funding as it tries to restructure its operations. Reuters


Alphabet to Cut 12,000 Jobs, ‘Sharpen Focus’ on AI Offerings

Google parent company Alphabet is making the “difficult decision” to lay off approximately 12,000 employees. Retail TouchPoints


U.S. Retail Sales Fell 1.1% in December

American consumers cut back on retail spending this holiday season, pinched by rising interest rates, still-high inflation and concerns about a slowing economy. WSJ


DoorDash expands Starbucks partnership

 Starbucks will become available for delivery via DoorDash across all 50 U.S. states by March, in an expansion of a partnership with the delivery service announced last year. TechCrunch


Party City Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy With Plans to Cut Debt

Filing comes after retailer has posted widening losses, weak sales. WSJ


Fashion braces for more layoffs as brands rightsize teams

From VF Corp to Everlane, redundancies are rippling across the fashion industry. Recruitment experts and analysts break down what’s driving the cuts, and look at what’s ahead. Vogue Business


TikTok Tests Out Podcasts Feature

TikTok is testing out a new podcast feature that allows users to listen to a video’s audio while the app runs in the background, Business Insider reported Wednesday . The experience is similar to Spotify and some versions of YouTube. The Information


Why Everything at Walgreens Is Suddenly Behind Plastic

The recent spike in shoplifting is both overblown and real. And almost everyone is profiting from it (including you). Curbed


As Digital Native Brands Expand Offline, Online Sales Grow Too

Placer.ai's latest white paper examines data from direct-to-consumer brands and digital-primary retailers that have expanded with physical stores in key markets. WWD


Banks Plan Payment Wallet to Compete With PayPal, Apple Pay

Financial institutions behind Zelle are working on a wallet for consumers to use at online checkout. WSJ


As Disney turns 100, its business is on a rollercoaster ride

The decline of TV and cinema and rise of streaming will reshape entertainment. The Economist


5 ways Target is pushing customer-driven innovations in omnichannel, grocery

Target wants the retail industry to know it’s brought its “Targét” touch to grocery and omnichannel. Retail Dive


Can Everlane Get Back on Track?

The digital-first basics brand known for “radical transparency” is betting a stronger stylistic point of view will help it boost performance. BoF


Super Bowl LVII is three weeks away, but the commercials have already begun

The teams that will face off in Super Bowl LVII won’t be determined for another [5] days, but that’s not stopping the sponsors of the game from getting the most bang for their buck. Yahoo


Zillow introduces Calendly-like instant booking for rental property tours

An instant tour booking feature is available on 2,600 rental properties with more being added at regular intervals. TechCrunch


Kroger-Albertsons Merger Faces Long Road Before Approval

Consumer advocates, unions and independent grocers are against a deal that would join Kroger and Albertsons, and be lucrative for investors. NYT


Spotify to axe 600 workers and shake up management

Dawn Ostroff, who spearheaded ambitious expansion into podcasts, to leave the music streaming company. Financial Times


Amazon launches a subscription prescription drug service

Customers ill pay $5 a month to fill as many prescriptions as they need from a list of about 50 generic medications. Washington Post


Meta partners with the NBA

Meta expands its partnership with the NBA to offer 52 games in VR

The company will deliver a package of 52 live NBA games, including five immersive 180-degree monoscopic VR games in 2880 on Xtadium and on Meta Horizon Worlds. TechCrunch


Lab-grown meat moves closer to American dinner plates

Executives at cultivated meat companies are optimistic that meat grown in massive steel vats could be on the menu within months. Reuters


Mattress Maker Serta Simmons Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Company filed in Texas as it seeks to cut debt to $300 million. Serta already restructured debt at the peak of the pandemic. Bloomberg


Hotels Embrace Blue-Collar Workers to Prop Up Sagging Business Travel

Small and medium-size businesses are driving the recovery of business travel across the U.S. WSJ



  • Ulta Beauty Names Michelle Crossan-Matos Chief Marketing Officer WWD
  • Peloton Hires Twitter Veteran Leslie Berland to Run Marketing Bloomberg
  • Elizabeth Von Der Goltz Joins Farfetch BoF
  • Stephanie Gottlieb Names Morgan P. Richardson President and Chief Commercial Officer WWD
  • Trish Donnelly Joins The Row as President WWD
  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings steps down, COO Greg Peters to take co-CEO role Yahoo
  • Capri Holdings Taps Cedric Wilmotte as CEO of Michael Kors WWD
  • Levi Strauss & Co. Announces New Chief Digital Officer Business Wire
  • Clinique Veteran Agnes Landau Joins Shiseido Americas as Chief Marketing Officer WWD
  • Away taps former Foxtrot exec as chief marketing officer Retail Dive


  • What American Retailers Can Learn From European Department Stores BoF
  • How Big Tech’s pandemic bubble burst CNN