Traub Weekly News Roundup // November 7, 2023

Here's our weekly roundup of recent consumer and retail news. This week, Michaels announces new marketplace, Elon Musk debuts ‘Grok’ AI bot to rival ChatGPT, and more. 



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  • Selfridges Owner Benko to Cede Control of €23 Billion Empire Yahoo
  • Disney to acquire remaining stake in Hulu for expected $8.6 billion CNN
  • Theme Park Operators Six Flags and Cedar Fair are merging in $8 billion deal CNN
  • Zillow to Buy Follow Up Boss For as Much as $500 Million MarketWatch
  • Vivid Seats to pay roughly $240 million in cash-and-stock deal for WSJ
  • Food-delivery startup Wonder Group gets $100 million investment from Nestle CNBC
  • Recycled plastic furniture maker Polywood explores sale Reuters
  • Hanesbrands is considering a sale of Champion, WHP Global and Authentic Brands Group are both interested CNBC
  • WatchBox, Govberg, Radcliffe And Hyde Park Jewelers Merge To Form The 1916 Company Forbes
  • LVMH buys eyewear brand Barton Perreira CNBC




Magnolia Bakery turned its most iconic desserts into edibles.

Magnolia Bakery is turning its most iconic desserts into cannabis edibles

The New York City-based dessert maker is transforming some of its famous treats into THC-infused edibles, including its banana pudding and red velvet cake. CNN


Why Aldi Is the Fastest-Growing Grocer in the U.S.

Aldi’s no-frills strategy has helped make it one of the cheapest and the fastest growing grocery stores in the U.S. WSJ explains why its unique approach to the shopping experience makes it a threat to competitors. WSJ


Vapes Get a Gen Z Makeover

In candy shades and eggy shapes, many of today’s most popular vaping devices look like toys. NYT




Inside Nuuly's warehouse in Pennsylvania.

The Retailer That Finally Got Rental Right

Urban Outfitters has spent over $100 million building Nuuly, a competitor to Rent the Runway that stocks more casual clothing. Four years in, the service is growing fast, and its owner says it will soon be profitable. BoF


Strip Malls Are the New King of Retail Real Estate

Changing consumer habits are boosting strip malls, with tenants competing for space. WSJ


Michaels Goes After Handmade Market - And Etsy - With New Marketplace

Retail chain Michaels today launched a online marketplace that enables crafters and creators to sell handmade goods and teach online classes. Forbes


Amazon Is Closing Its High-tech Fashion Specialty Stores

The closures involve just two locations, but represent a further retreat from non-grocery brick-and-mortar retail. Retail Dive


TJMaxx, Marshalls quietly closing stores as it reassesses real estate strategy

TJX, the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods brands, is closing stores in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Chicago. Business Insider


EBay opens streetwear pop-up in New York City

“Canal Street Wear” will sell authenticated items from the marketplace’s sellers and allow shoppers to verify the authenticity of their own goods. Retail Dive


2023 Holiday to Reach Record Spending Levels

The National Retail Federation forecast that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels during November and December and will grow between 3% and 4% over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. NRF




LinkedIn, now at 1B users, turns on OpenAI-powered reading and writing tools

The platform's new AI tools will provide personalised digests for people reading content on the site, and  will help them write their own content on the platform. TechCrunch


Revolve Is Selling Clothes Designed by AI

The online retailer dropped its first collection of physical garments based on designs from the winners of AI Fashion Week. BoF


Elon Musk debuts ‘Grok’ AI bot to rival ChatGPT, others

Elon Musk announced his new company xAI which he says has the goal to understand the true nature of the universe. CNBC


TikTok’s $1 billion creator fund is shutting down

The original $1 billion fund will be discontinued for creators in the US, UK, Germany, and France starting December 16th. The Verge


WeWork, once valued at $47 billion, files for bankruptcy

Office-sharing company WeWork filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court Monday. CNBC




’Tis the season for holiday drinks at Starbucks, Dunkin’

With Halloween over, the coffee giants are capitalizing on holiday cheer to drive sales similar to the buzz created with the August launches of pumpkin spice drinks and pastries. Axios


McDonald's isn't as cheap as it once was, and it's losing low-income customers

McDonald's said it's gaining middle- and higher-income customers, who are trading down to its menu. But the chain said it's also losing visits from lower-income diners pressured by high inflation. Business Insider


Starbucks unveils plan to add 17,000 locations by 2030, cut $3 billion in costs

Starbucks announced its “Triple Shot Reinvention Strategy,” which involves increasing its store footprint to 35,000 locations outside of North America by 2030 and a $3 billion cost-savings plan and wage increases for baristas. CNBC


Hungry (but Not for Human Contact), Americans Head for the Drive-Through

A national fixture is enjoying a fresh surge as post-pandemic customers crave speed and solitude. And restaurants are responding with a raft of innovations. NYT




  • Kevin Bailey Is Stepping Down as Vans President, Will Focus on VF Corp.’s New Strategy Footwear News
  • Serta Simmons CEO Charlie Eitel resigns after 3 months Retail Dive
  • P&G’s Freddy Bharucha Promoted to President, North America Personal Care and Beauty Operations WWD
  • Kraft Heinz names Pedro Navio president of North American operations Food Dive
  • Christy Sports names new CEO, marketing and merchandising heads Chain Store Age
  • Bumble founder and CEO to step down early next year, Slack CEO to succeed her CNBC
  • Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steps Down as Overstock Rebrands Into Beyond Barron's
  • Disney Names PepsiCo Executive Hugh Johnston as Its New Financial Chief WSJ
  • Will Lewis Named C.E.O. of The Washington Post NYT



  • What Is Erewhon? The Strange History of the L.A. Cult Grocer The Cut
  • The Economy Is Great. Why Are Americans in Such a Rotten Mood? WSJ