H&M's fashions fit pandemic-era shoppers' casual tastes | Chinese pharmaceutical company to acquire GNC | REI employees can count Nov. 3 as paid service day
September 15, 2020
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H&M's fashions fit pandemic-era shoppers' casual tastes
(David Rogers/Getty Images)
Fashion retailer H&M reported third-quarter profits of around $230 million, beating analysts' forecasts, as consumers spent on casual fashions for working from home. New collections were well-received by shoppers, leading to more full-price sales and less discounting than the retailer had expected.
Full Story: Reuters (9/15),  Bloomberg (tiered subscription model) (9/15) 
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Industry Watch
Chinese pharmaceutical company to acquire GNC
(Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
GNC Holdings has canceled a bankruptcy auction after no new suitors emerged and will instead proceed with a sale to China-based Harbin Pharmaceutical Group, which already owns a stake of around 40% in the vitamin retailer. Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., has raised concerns about the deal, saying it could give the Chinese government access to health data on US consumers.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/14) 
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REI employees can count Nov. 3 as paid service day
(M.O. Stevens/Wikimedia Commons)
REI is permitting employees to use one of the days off they're allowed for community service, civil participation and other volunteer efforts on Election Day, to give staffers paid time off to vote. A growing number of fashion brands are also getting involved to get people out to vote, including American Eagle Outfitters, which is selling T-shirts to benefit the nonprofit HeadCount.
Full Story: Footwear News (9/14),  Footwear News (9/11) 
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The Chicago-area towns of Carol Stream, Park Forest and Des Plaines will soon be getting new grocers as Jet Foods begins making an aggressive push into the area with a plan to offer discount prices and prepared meals for customer convenience. The company said hiring in Park Forest and Carol Stream should start within the next several weeks, and also unveiled plans for additional stores in Rockford and Harvey.
Full Story: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.) (9/14) 
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Lego will swap the hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bags it packages its toy bricks in for paper packaging that's certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The change is set to take effect next year and comes after the company tested a variety of packaging alternatives to find one that's recyclable and also sturdy enough to do the job.
Full Story: Fast Company online (9/15) 
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Retail Trends
The demand for desks, chairs and other office furniture is outpacing the supply in Canada, meaning consumers could face shortages this fall as the pandemic keeps more people working and studying from home, according to IKEA Canada's Kristin Newbigging. The supply chain has also taken a hit, as international suppliers closed and are facing high demand as they reopen.
Full Story: Financial Post (Canada)/The Canadian Press (9/14) 
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Simon Property Group said due to "challenging times," it will keep its malls closed on Thanksgiving Day, reversing the trend of recent years. The malls will reopen on Black Friday.
Full Story: CNN (9/14) 
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Market Share Gains
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Policy and Government Affairs
NRF and other business groups are supporting the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act, a bill that would create a public-private system to compensate for losses incurred because of pandemics and other public health emergencies. Unlike a similar measure that drew broad bipartisan support after 9/11, the bill proposed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., hasn't won over Republican lawmakers.
Full Story: The Hill (9/13),  American Public Media/Marketplace (9/11) 
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NRF News
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay and Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass will discuss how COVID-19 has further accelerated the pace of change in the retail industry, how Kohl's is leveraging this unique period of time as an opportunity to reset and Gass' personal commitment to advancing racial equity within Kohl's and the community. Register now for this free event to be held Sept. 17 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
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Each year, more than 4 million tons of plastic bags, sacks and wrap are generated in the US and less than 10% of that is recycled. Source: Environmental Protection Agency.
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Mobile retail startup Enjoy reproduces the in-store experience in the comfort of customers' homes. When the pandemic hit, personal shopping experiences were affected as retailers prioritized social distancing and the health and safety of employees and consumers. Enjoy CEO Ron Johnson joins the Retail Gets Real podcast to discuss how the Enjoy experience has changed since the start of the pandemic and how retailers can continue to deliver personal and memorable experiences at a time when it matters most. Listen and subscribe.
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Chain Restaurant News
White Castle feeds small groups with 20-slider package
(White Castle)
White Castle has created the Crave Clutch, a carryout box that holds 20 sliders and four orders of small fries. The new packaging, made to resemble a boombox, was designed to feed small groups of diners.
Full Story: Restaurant Business online (9/14) 
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