April 7, 2021
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Top Story
Target outlines $2B plan to invest in Black-owned ventures
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Target will invest $2 billion over the next five years to hire Black-owned companies, stock new brands and create a program called Forward Founders. The new program will work with Black entrepreneurs in early stage startups to help them develop products and scale production to serve Target and other mass retailers, the company said.
Full Story: CNBC (4/7) 
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Industry Watch
Signet adds jewelry rental with Rocksbox acquisition
(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
Signet Jewelers has bought jewelry rental subscription service Rocksbox, a startup that has raised about $10 million from investors since its 2012 launch. Signet, the parent of banners including Zales and Jared, is in the midst of a growth strategy that's focused on transforming the business with new services and customer experiences, Signet CEO Virginia Drosos said.
Full Story: Adweek (4/6),  Forbes (tiered subscription model) (4/6) 
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In a virtual summit on Tuesday, a Walmart executive outlined the retailer's goals for hitting zero emissions by 2040 using scientific methods for cutting carbon emissions. Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart's chief sustainability officer, also shared the retailer's focus on investing in employees with wage increases in some job categories and creating new avenues for career advancement.
Full Story: Women's Wear Daily (subscription required) (4/6) 
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Furniture retailer At Home, which operates 225 US stores, has filed plans to renovate a 99,673-square-foot former J.C. Penney store in Dallas and turn it into a large-format home furnishings discount outlet. Plans call for construction to be completed by the end of the year and the store would likely open in early 2022.
Full Story: The Dallas Morning News (tiered subscription model) (4/6) 
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Retail Trends
Teens are starting to shop again after their spending has hit record lows during the pandemic, and teen girls are leading the resurgence with a focus on fashion, according to Piper Sandler's "Taking Stock with Teens" report. The age group is on track to spend an average of $2,165 this year, and online fashion retailers and marketplaces including Shein, Princess Polly, Depop and Poshmark are finding fans.
Full Story: CNBC (4/7) 
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Programs to collect consumers' used garments and give them new life at brands like Patagonia and Eileen Fisher are growing more popular with sustainably minded fashion fans, but they can be complicated and labor-intensive to carry out and the programs come with a learning curve. "Only in the last year did we decide that we can resell more heavily used product at a lower price point, which changes our whole sorting process," said Cynthia Power, head of renewal at Eileen Fisher, adding, "So it's definitely still changing all the time."
Full Story: Glossy (tiered subscription model) (4/7) 
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Retail Technology
The first 19 trainees have completed the Target Cohort Partnership program, a 10-week course created jointly by Target and the nonprofit Dream Corps to train people for tech jobs at the retailer. Target hired 18 of them for a variety of tech roles from paid interns to software engineers, and it's now recruiting for the second cohort.
Full Story: Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (4/7) 
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NRF News
COVID-19 created a massive shift for the grocery industry over the past year and forever changed how people view the necessity of on-demand services. As consumers expect more variety -- wellness products, pet supplies, home decor, etc. -- to be delivered quickly and safely to their homes, retailers like Shipt and Instacart are offering new delivery options to meet demand. Read more.
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E-commerce, which was about 11% of total US retail sales in 2019, rocketed to 21.9% in 2020. Source: National Retail Federation.
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Join NRF on Monday, April 12, at 3 p.m. Eastern to discuss the complexities of returning to work. NRF members are invited to participate in this open discussion on how to properly navigate potential new policies and procedures in anticipation of an eventual return to the office. Register now.
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Chain Restaurant News
Taco Bell to recruit 5K new staffers, upgrade GM benefits
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Taco Bell will hold outdoor hiring events at about 2,000 locations on April 21 with the goal of hiring at least 5,000 new staffers as part of its expansion plans. The company also said this week that it will expand benefits for general managers at its 475 company-owned stores to include four weeks of paid vacation time and up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
Full Story: Reuters (4/6),  Restaurant Business online (4/6) 
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Let things taste of what they are.
Alice Waters,
chef, restaurateur, activist, writer
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