Hello and happy Black Friday! As the holiday shopping season officially begins, BI Retail – and this newsletter – are aiming to be your go-to place to find everything you need to know about retail as companies battle to win over customers.
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Everything you need to know about Black Friday.
Black Friday is here, y’all. And, the biggest stories are looking pretty similar to the last few years.
Online sales, especially via mobile, are growing.
- Black Friday online sales are on track to reach $US7.4 billion, according to Adobe Analytics – an increase of 19.2% over last year. Shoppers have already spent more than $US600 million online as of 9 a.m. ET Friday morning.
- Thanksgiving online sales were up 20.2%, according to Adobe, with half of the sales coming from smartphones.
- As a result, many online deals sold out before Black Friday even started. Shoppers said that Walmart’s Apple Watch sold out in mere minutes.
- Not every retailer was ready for the massive amount of people trying to shop online. Mary reports that Costco lost out on an estimated $US11 million in sales when its website crashed on Thanksgiving Day. Dick’s and Nordstrom Rack also had website problems.
Black Friday itself is less of a big deal than it used to be. Plus, there is a lot of backlash to the shopping extravaganza.
- Walmart shoppers threatened to boycott after it was reported that the company would not pay employees extra to work on Thanksgiving.
- Macy’s, Target, and Best Buy also faced backlash for their Thanksgiving Day openings.
- Meanwhile, REI is closing its stores on Black Friday for the fifth year in a row.
- REI shoppers aren’t the only ones taking the day off.Áine covered the “Buy Nothing Day” movement, which encourages people not to shop on the day after Thanksgiving.
But, there is still some level of excitement in stores, including among workers.
- Joey visited a Best Buy location where 100 people were working on Thanksgiving Day and found a surprisingly touching scene.
- Target workers’ holiday motto: What Would A Badass Do?
Toys R Us returns from the dead.
Toys R Us has been resurrected! Shoshy had a chance to visit the store in Paramus, New Jersey, before it opened to the public on Wednesday.
Shoshy said a lot of the store was nostalgic and familiar. But, there was at least one thing that you wouldn’t have found in the ’90s: sensors located discreetly in the store that monitor customer engagement in various areas. The sensors can be used to figure out which parts of the store kids are enjoying the most.
LuLaRoe files a $US1 billion countersuit.
LuLaRoe filed a countersuit against former chief supplier Providence Industries, seeking $US1 billion in damages. LuLaRoe claims in the suit that Providence “engaged in a systematic, years-long scheme to defraud [LuLaRoe] LLR by intentionally under-delivering and overcharging LLR for products causing LLR to suffer hundreds of million of dollars in damages.”
The countersuit follows Providence’s $US49 million lawsuit against LuLaRoe 12 months ago, which claimed that the clothing company failed to pay its bills for seven months.
Having charted LuLaRoe’s ups and downs for years at this point, Hayley and Áine will be keeping a close eye on what happens next.
Breaking down bizarre emails about Synchrony Bank and Amazon.
Hayley has been closely watching the story of suspicious emails that dozens of people received on Monday concerning Synchrony Bank and Amazon.
Apparently, the suspicious email blast from Synchrony that cited Amazon did not involve a data breach or fraudulent activity. So, if you got some weird emails from Synchrony on Monday, there is no need to take action.
Instead, a Synchrony spokesperson said the issue was an “internal error and did not involve a data breach or fraudulent activity.”
This is what Sears’ downward spiral looks like.
Sears has closed more than 3,000 locations over the last 10 years. Sales tumbled from $US43 billion in 2010 to less than $US17 billion in 2017, the last year that the company publicly reported its annual sales.
It is hard to wrap your head around what such a massive fall looks like, so Hayley worked with our graphics team to create a visual of just how far the once-mighty have fallen.
Taste test of the week: Popeyes’ Cajun turkey at a Friendsgiving dinner.
Irene whipped up a turkey from Popeyes for a Friendsgiving feast! I sadly missed the event, but we can all feast our eyes on photos here.
Irene’s take on the Cajun turkey: “Even though the turkey made for a pretty solid meal, I’m not sure I’d sacrifice the freshness and texture of a homemade turkey for Popeyes’ exceptional flavour. I’m also not sure how much trouble the precooked turkey saved me, as preparing it still took some effort.”
Everything else you need to know:
- Mars CEO – and proud pet owner – Grant Reid breaks down how millennials’ obsession with their pets helped the company best known for its iconic candies evolve its core business.
- Most Americans want stores to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day. But, 40% of Gen Z wants stores to stay open – more than the 30% who oppose it.
- Amazon is ending its “creepy” sampling program.
- Papa John’s founder said in a local news interview that he ate 40 pizzas in 30 days. He also said a bunch of other things, including that “the day of reckoning will come” for Papa John’s new leadership.
- Versace is suing Fashion Nova, alleging that the fast-fashion brand copied J. Lo’s iconic 2000 green dress that literally helped inspire Google Images.
- SoulCycle’s CEO resigned.
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