It’s been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week, and what we’re still thinking about.
From REI expanding its e-bike assortment to a Croc’s engagement ring charm, here’s our closeout for the week.
What you may have missed
Dollar General expands its board of directors
Dollar General on Thursday announced the appointment of David Rowland, former executive chairman of Accenture, to its board of directors, effective Aug. 5. With Rowland’s appointment, the board now consists of 10 members.
Rowland spent nearly four decades with Accenture in a variety of leadership roles including interim chief executive officer, chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance.
Estée Lauder creates responsible store design framework
In pursuit of sustainability targets, the Estée Lauder Companies has launched a responsible store design program, aimed at assessing how its new and existing stores meet certain environmental goals. The program evaluates waste reduction, water and energy conservation, store operations and responsible material sourcing, among other things.
New stores in Estée Lauder’s portfolio are scored on their sustainability efforts, including both the design of the store and its operations, and receive a number of points to reflect their efforts. Existing stores are evaluated based on a checklist to ensure locations meet core sustainability requirements.
Estée Lauder developed the program with the help of a sustainability consulting firm, and based it in part on the company’s Green Building Standards, which were developed in 2020 to help the beauty conglomerate incorporate sustainability into store design and visual merchandising. Six stores have so far met the requirements as part of the pilot program, and Vice President of Sustainability Al Iannuzzi said the company plans to scale the project beyond those stores to “impact retail operations globally in the future.”
REI powers up e-bike sales, advocacy
REI Co-op on Wednesday announced plans to expand its e-bike assortment. The retailer’s e-bike sales rose 14% between 2021 and 2022, aligning with industry trends.
REI offers four e-bike models through its in-house Co-op Cycles brand. Gen e, its newest e-bike line, debuted last summer. Looking forward, REI said it plans to introduce new road and mountain-oriented e-bikes from its in-house brand, along with offerings from other brand partners.
When consumers buy an e-bike at REI, the retailer offers free flat fixes, 20% off shop services, and two years of free adjustments for co-op members. Non-members get one year of free adjustments.
REI said it’s also urging members to lobby their Congressional representatives to pass the e-bike act. The legislation would offer a 30% tax credit up to $1,500 on new e-bike purchases. The retailer said it’s is also partnering with industry groups and nonprofit advocacy organizations to support cycling infrastructure improvements.
It’s almost time for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
Nordstrom on Wednesday announced that its anniversary sale starts on July 17 and runs through August 6. Nordy Club program cardmembers can shop early access on July 13 or earlier based on loyalty status. The department store is showcasing over 60 new brands this year including Le Creuset, Birkenstock, Allbirds, Parachute and Lunya, among others.
Customers can get a first look at sale merchandise starting Monday. Favorite items can be saved to a Wish List, which makes checkout streamlined when it is time to shop, and recommends products if saved items are out of stock.
Here comes the bride…wearing Crocs
Crocs lovers rejoice! For daring couples, customers can now propose using an engagement ring Crocs charm from Jessica Flinn Jewellery, according to an Instagram post this week.
The engagement ring-shaped Crocs charm is priced at $1,926 in a custom made-to-order design featuring a 1.10 carat green sapphire.
“Do you and your partner love the comfort and practicality that Crocs provide? Do you dream of a proposal story that will surprise and enthral your friends and family?” the product description page says. “Why not profess your love with a dazzling decoration for the love of your life’s favourite footwear.”
Lush makes a splash with new additions to SpongeBob SquarePants collection
Lush on Wednesday announced six new products to its SpongeBob SquarePants collection benefiting Paramount’s Operation Sea Change campaign. The handmade cosmetics retailer is known for its plastic-free packaging and focus on sustainability when creating products.
The company’s monthly subscription service, Lush Kitchen Beauty Subscription Box, launched the initial items from the collection as the box theme for July.
Featuring the characters from Bikini Bottom, the products range from soap bars to bath bombs and more and have tropical smells like coconut and pineapple.
The SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change campaign launched in September last year with initiatives to reduce plastic waste in ocean waters.
What we’re still thinking about
That’s how many stores jewelry brand Alex and Ani recently closed as it continues to “explore all options” to support the brand. Seven of the company’s locations will remain open, CEO Scott Burger said in a statement, adding that Alex and Ani could open more stores in the future. Burger added that the retailer has had to make “difficult decisions” as it reworks the business post-bankruptcy.
That’s how many seasonal associates Spirit Halloween wants to hire this year at over 1,500 store locations across the U.S. and Canada. If the spirit(s) moves you, apply to be an associate or manager to receive a 30% employee discount during the company’s 40th season. Returning store managers are also eligible for retention bonuses. But hurry, there’s only 123 days until Halloween!
What we’re watching
Sephora at Kohl’s will be in an additional 45 small-format stores by the end of the year
Kohl’s this week touted results from the first five test locations of its Sephora at Kohl’s partnership at smaller stores, which opened in January. Occupying 750 square feet, with Sephora featured at the front of the store, they are in West Jordan, Utah; North Phoenix, Arizona; Lake Wales, Florida; and Sussex and Delavan, Wisconsin. “These stores drove solid beauty sales and exceeded expectations, giving us confidence in the wider rollout to 45 additional stores by the end of 2023,” Kohl’s said in an email.
Executives at the struggling department store had said in May that Sephora would be an important part of its smaller format experiment, noting that the beauty retailer was bringing in new customers and helping boost sales in the category. Thanks to the tie-up, Kohl’s Q1 total beauty sales rose 150%, and it’s gaining market share in the category, CEO Tom Kingsbury told analysts during a conference call.
Sephora at Kohl’s will also open at more than 850 full-sized, 2,500-square foot stores by the end of this year, the company said by email.