February 22, 2021
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Top Story
Crafts retailer Joann said it has gained 8 million new customers during the pandemic and grew revenue 24.3% in the first three quarters of 2020, according to regulatory filings. The retailer's efforts to modernize and build a digital presence to court younger consumers began even before the outbreak, and they paid off last year as loyal customers shifted their shopping online and new patrons seeking fabric to make masks found other reasons to return.
Full Story: Modern Retail (tiered subscription model) (2/22) 
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AI-optimized scheduling has the power to bring people and businesses closer together more than ever before. Learn how Traci Rubin, Director of HR at SMCP, used Legion to increase employee engagement and reduce time spent on scheduling by 50% while increasing manager sales. Watch the webcast.
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Industry Watch
Sources: Kohl's investor group pushes for changes
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
A group of investors that collectively control a 9.5% stake in Kohl's have proposed nine new members for the retailer's 12-member board of directors, sources said. The group is pushing to add more directors with retail experience to drive sales and shore up profit margins, and the investors also are reportedly urging Kohl's to trim inventories and make it easier for shoppers to access promotions and discounts.
Full Story: Business Insider (tiered subscription model)/Reuters (2/22),  The Wall Street Journal (2/21) 
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Walmart has named industry veteran Denise Incandela as its new executive vice president for apparel and private brands. Incandela moves up from senior vice president of Walmart's women's group, elevated and online brands, and her retail career over more than 20 years also includes stints at Saks Fifth Avenue, Ralph Lauren and footwear brand Aerosoles, where she served as CEO.
Full Story: Women's Wear Daily (subscription required) (2/19) 
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Report: ALDI launches global effort to boost e-commerce
(Ralph Orlowski/Getty)
ALDI's two separate divisions -- ALDI Sud and ALDI Nord -- are reportedly joining to launch a new company in Germany that would develop a stronger e-commerce presence for both entities. The approach would allow ALDI, which continues to expand its brick-and-mortar sites in the US, to build on the "Aldi Liefert" (Aldi Delivers) partnership already in place between the two divisions.
Full Story: Winsight Grocery Business (2/19) 
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The pandemic shut down the in-store restaurants at Neiman Marcus for eight months, and the eateries and their staff members got creative with online cooking demos and take-out and delivery options to bring in revenue. The retailer fed consumers' demand for holiday meals and signature items like popovers and chocolate chip cookies.
Full Story: The Dallas Morning News (tiered subscription model) (2/19) 
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Retail Trends
Mask non-compliance still a challenge for retailers
(Justin Hamel/Getty Images)
Some grocery retailers say they are still challenged when it comes to dealing with shoppers who refuse to put on masks or wear them properly. Supermarket chains including Albertsons and Kroger have in-store mask mandates in place for staffers and shoppers, but customers who refuse to comply put employees in the awkward position of having to enforce the rules and ask customers to either put on a mask or leave.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (2/20) 
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Mahisha Dellinger left her corporate marketing job to launch hair care line Curls in 2002 and, despite the lack of financing available to Black entrepreneurs, she grew a brand that's now on shelves at national retailers. Dellinger and Melissa Butler, founder and CEO of The Lip Bar, each used about $30,000 in personal savings to start their brands and both credit Target with seeing their potential and giving them their first shot at a national retail presence.
Full Story: CNBC (2/20) 
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Seven private-label products from ALDI were recognized among the 41 winners in the 2021 Product of the Year Awards, compiled by the consumer research firm Kantar from a survey of 40,000 US shoppers. The winning items from ALDI included Aunt Maple's Protein Pancake Mix, Friendly Farms Almondmilk Coffee Creamer and Specially Selected Indulgent Greek Yogurt.
Full Story: Progressive Grocer (2/18) 
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NRF News
The NRF Foundation and Qurate Retail Group will grow the Small Business Spotlight initiative this year with a plan to showcase 100 diverse small merchants on Qurate's multiple platforms. The program, launched last year, also offers participants access to mentorship and the expertise of Qurate's team members. Learn more and apply by this Friday, Feb. 26.
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NRF's calculation of retail sales showed January was up 5.9% seasonally adjusted from December and up 10.7% unadjusted year over year. Source: NRF.
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Katonya Breaux is not only the founder of Unsun Cosmetics, which makes clean mineral sunscreen formulated for all skin tones, she is also one of the entrepreneurs selected for the NRF Foundation and Qurate Retail Group's Small Business Spotlight, which features entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds across the HSN, QVC and Zulily platforms. She joins the latest episode of the Retail Gets Real podcast to share how Unsun Cosmetics was founded and how her business has thrived through the pandemic. Listen and subscribe.
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Chain Restaurant News
Taco Bell puts taco-inspired twist on crispy chicken
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Taco Bell will launch a "crispy chicken sandwich taco" in two markets next month, in both regular and crispy versions. The new menu item, which includes jalapeno buttermilk-brined chicken coated in crispy tortilla chips and served on a taco-shaped flatbread, is expected to roll out nationally later this year.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (2/22),  CNBC (2/22) 
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