June 19, 2017

robert-scobleA few months ago we looked at how increased competition has hurt sales at Whole Foods and slowed its growth in recent years. Faced with the possibility of shutting down stores, CEO John Mackey cleared five people from the board of directors, appointed a new chairwoman, and hired a new CFO. Executives even developed plans to cut costs while also improving operations.

Then suddenly everything changed: last week Amazon announced that it would buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. This Continue reading

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June 15, 2017

tupalo-zara2017 has not been a good year so far for many retailers. Chains like J.C. Penney and Sears plan to close hundreds of locations while J. Crew has posted 11 consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales. But as these formerly powerful brands struggle, the Spanish fashion giant Zara is thriving like never before. This week its parent company Inditex announced that first quarter sales jumped 18 percent to $733.3 million. Plus, total sales for Zara topped out at $6.3 billion, Continue reading

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raniel-diazSince 1967 customers have flocked to Trader Joe’s to stock up on such unusually named items as Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers and Chocolate Dilemma Cheesecake. And while the grocery chain has attracted thousands of loyal patrons over the years, perhaps no other customer has been as dedicated as Mike Hallatt. For years this Vancouver native would drive 3 hours south of his Canadian hometown to Seattle where he would pack his car with as many Trader Joe’s products as he Continue reading

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April 20, 2017

macysAfter losing a lot of ground during the Great Recession, today’s economic environment seems perfect for retailers looking to return to their glory days. Gas prices are low, wages are rising, and GDP has grown for the past eight years in a row. Still, even these seemingly ideal conditions can’t help this ailing industry. Nine retail chains have filed for bankruptcy in 2017, including HH Gregg and Payless. Meanwhile Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney and RadioShack each announced that they would Continue reading

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February 24, 2017

OakLabsAs e-commerce companies like Amazon become more and more popular, traditional retailers have scrambled to find ways to bring people back into stores. Along with placing scannable QR codes by items, brick and mortar outlets have also tried large internet kiosks that allow customers to browse their online stores. Despite retailers’ best efforts, though, these attempts at modernizing haven’t caught on with consumers. After all, who would walk into a place just to check its online store?

The startup Oak Continue reading

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February 16, 2017

KurtisGarbuttWhen Whole Foods launched in 1978, organic grocery stores were a unique concept for most of the country. As Americans became more health conscious, though, the Austin-based chain eventually expanded into an empire of 469 stores across three countries. In fact, the future for Whole Foods looked so bright that last year the company announced it would add 1,200 stores in the U.S.

But as 2017 arrived, the company’s long term outlook became far less optimistic. Now Whole Foods says Continue reading

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January 31, 2017

WilliamMurphyFor years American Apparel seemed poised to become the next big fashion brand. Their simple but bold cotton clothing and suggestive advertisements catapulted the company to a $1 billion valuation in 2007. A decade later, however, American Apparel filed for bankruptcy and sold its assets to a Canadian firm for just $88 million. Along with shuttering its 110 stores, the company also lost its famed garment factory in Los Angeles.

This production facility was one of American Apparel’s best assets Continue reading

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November 29, 2016

Thomas8047This past weekend the holiday shopping season kicked off with a bang as millions of Americans sought out Black Friday deals both in stores and online. While brick and mortar sales rose about 8 percent from last year, online outlets saw sales increase by 11 percent. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this spike in e-commerce can be credited to the more than 108 million consumers who shopped online over the weekend. Meanwhile, approximately 99 million people visited physical Continue reading

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November 17, 2016

DavidSteadmanWhile the holiday shopping season in the U.S. doesn’t officially kick off until next week, Chinese retailers are already counting their profits from the phenomenon known as Singles Day. Founded in the 1990s by a group of college students celebrating their bachelorhood, the November 11 holiday has since morphed into a nationwide shopping spree. This year the online retailer Alibaba brought in nearly $18 billion in sales, far more than what the entire American retail industry earns during Black Friday Continue reading

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October 28, 2016

JeffKramerFor most people, the Halloween season is about creepy costumes and candy rather than shopping. But even though the retail sales of All Hallow’s Eve can’t compare to the December holidays, Americans still manage to spend a scary sum of money at the end of October. The National Retail Federation estimates that this year consumers will spend as much as $8.4 billion preparing for Halloween, amounting to an average of $82.93 per shopper.

Costumes account for $3.1 billion of this Continue reading

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