TRAUB Weekly News Update // Week of March 18, 2019

Here's our roundup of this week's top retail news. Two female led companies achieve unicorn status, the CFDA appoints its new Chairman, Ken Downing departs Neiman Marcus and more! 


  • Glossier raises $100M and now has a billion dollar valuation Forbes
  • Rent the Runway now valued at $1B with new funding NY Times
  • Levi Strauss soars in IPO WWD
  • French investment group Eurazeo sells stake in Moncler BoF
  • Starbucks will anchor the new $400M food-focused Valor Siren Ventures fund TechCrunch


Early Days: Hudson Yards Is N.Y.’s New Main Attractionhudson yards
Tens of thousands of tourists, out-of-towners and locals descended on Hudson Yards this weekend, eager to be among the first to experience the nation’s biggest private development, scale its centerpiece sculpture called The Vessel — and take in some new shopping and dining opportunities. Traffic stayed strong since the “VIP” party Thursday night, which drew an estimated 17,000 to 20,000 guests, with Neiman Marcus alone pulling in 3,000 guests — including a performance by Liza Minnelli — for its launch event, described by executives as the store’s biggest party ever. Estimates for traffic on Saturday, the busiest day for The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards, ranged from 60,000 to more than 80,000 visitors. WWD


 Amazon Tests Pop-Up Feature Touting Its Lower-Priced Products
Amazon tested a pop-up feature on its app that in some instances pitched its private-label goods on rivals’ product pages, an experiment that shows the e-commerce giant’s aggressiveness in hawking lower-priced products including its own house brands. The recent experiment, conducted in Amazon’s mobile app, went a step further than the display ads that commonly appear within search results and product pages. This test pushed pop-up windows that took over much of a product page, forcing customers to either click through to the lower-cost Amazon products or dismiss them before continuing to shop. WSJ 


What Tom Ford’s CFDA Post Means for American Fashiontf

Tom Ford has been voted chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), succeeding Diane von Furstenberg, who held the position for 13 years. Ford will assume the role in June. As chairman, he wants to bring a more international perspective to the trade association, the designer told BoF. "Coming back from Europe, what's stunning to me was the isolation I feel here. I feel that America is one of the most isolated countries in the world. We're very inward looking," Ford said. "What American fashion needs to become in order to be more relevant in the world is to think of itself as not just American but as international." BoF


As Bloomingdale’s Finesses Flagship, Rtw Gets Transformed

Now the beat is picking up on 59th Street, where Bloomingdale’s has just completed a transformation of its rtw business, which is housed on levels two, three and four. Eighty-five labels new to the presentation and a concentrated “avenue” of advanced contemporary collections have been introduced. In April, Studio 59 opens. The format is described by Bloomingdale’s executives as an interactive content creation hub where visitors get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into photo shoots, influencer interviews and other special events. WWD


Brandless expands into wellness with supplements, cleanses, and other Goop-style itemsbrandless

Like many companies these days, Brandless is capitalizing on the $4.2 trillion wellness industry. On Wednesday, the e-commerce startup announced a new collection of affordable, Goop-like items. The 15 products cover a broad range of trendy categories. This includes “superfood” powders in flavors like organic matcha green tea powder ($9) and a seven-day “herbal cleanse kit” ($15) that claims to reset your gut. There are also four different essential oils ($5), organic gummy vitamins ($9), and supplements targeting a host of issues, such as better skin, hair, and nails. Fast Company 


Sephora debuts low-price skincare brand Inkey List

Inkey List, a low-priced skincare brand started by brand builder Be for Beauty, is moving to the U.S. in a partnership with beauty giant Sephora. The line includes products like Turmeric Moisturizer to Vitamin C Serum, each priced under $15. They will debut on Sephora online on April 19 and in 285 stores on April 26. Retail Dive


Instagram tests in-app shopping with Kylie Cosmetics, Nike and Huda Beauty

On March 19, the social platform announced in a blog post it was launching a beta shopping program with over 20 beauty and fashion brands, including direct-to-consumer players, in which it would test the ability to shop, check out and manage orders within the app. Prior to this, users could only swipe up on a product or image through Instagram Stories and be brought to a brand’s website in order to fulfill a purchase. Glossy


Walmart sparks social media upset after cutting price-matching

Walmart on May 14 will stop offering its Savings Catcher price-matching service in stores, angering customers who expressed their frustration on social media. The service, which required customers to have a account and be enrolled in Walmart Pay on the chain's mobile app, offered gift card refunds to customers who submitted their electronic receipts for comparison with rival stores' advertised prices. Walmart announced the end of the savings program in an email to customers, saying that it already offered the lowest prices on most items. "Walmart's prices win most often when you submit your receipts, which tells us that the program's intent has been met," the company wrote. Retail Dive


Whole Foods' first 'Beauty Swap' promotes clean body care products

Whole Foods is hosting its first ever Whole Foods Market Better Beauty Swap on March 30, in an effort to help shoppers clean up their beauty routines. The first 200 consumers in select New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles stores to bring in an empty beauty or body care product can exchange it for a free Whole Foods Market Beauty Bag full of clean beauty products valued at more than $100. The limited-edition gift bags will be sold for $20 in store for those who miss the Swap. Retail Dive


Jelly Belly creator launches CBD-infused jelly beans

David Klein, who created Jelly Belly jelly beans in 1976, has started a company called Spectrum Confections to sell CBD-infused jelly beans.
The jelly beans are available in three varieties: 38 regular flavors, 38 sour options and seven sugar-free flavors. Each jelly bean contains 10 milligrams of CBD, Klein told Food Dive. Spectrum Confections sold out of its initial production. Food Dive



  • Ken Downing, SVP and Fashion Director of Neiman Marcus is leaving after 28 years WWD 
  • Brandless Co-founder Tina Sharkey steps down as CEO Retail Dive
  • Walmart CTO Jeremy King leaves to join Pinterest  Supermarket News
  • GameStop taps George Sherman as new CEO Retail Dive


  • Is L.A. the Future of the American Runway? With Tom Ford's new chairmanship at the CFDA, and recent LA runway events, some insiders are looking to LA for the future. WWD
  • Check out the Guardian's take on men and wellness and what we can expect to see in the future...Evolution of man: the rise and rise of the male wellness sector The Guardian