March 19, 2019 by Sujay Seetharaman

1. Shopko is going out of business

The discount retailer, which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January has announced that Gordon Brothers will oversee the liquidation of its remaining stores, which is expected to complete in 10 to 12 weeks. In its Chapter 11 filing, Shopko cited excess debt and ongoing competitive pressures, and reported assets of less than $1 billion and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion. The retailer, which operated over 360 stores at the time of the filing, said in early February that it planned to shutter 251 locations and will continue to operate through the course of the restructuring process. Shopko reportedly had four loans, with a combined outstanding balance of $439.8 million.

2. Green Growth Brands begins national rollout

The Cannabis and CBD brand has opened two Seventh Sense stores, one each in Indiana and Kentucky, bringing its total count of Seventh Sense stores to seven. (CBD is short for cannabidiol, the legal compound in cannabis that advocates say delivers the calming benefits of marijuana without the high that comes from THC.) The Indiana location is the first space leased by the brand from Simon malls, with whom the brand has struck a deal to open 108 prime shop locations in Simon-owned malls across the nation.

3. Retailers accelerate private-label push

Spurred by the success of companies like Target, which has seen its store sales rise as it increases its assortment of private-label products, more retailers like Dick’s sporting goods, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond are accelerating their private-label push, launching brands in multiple, wide-ranging categories. Analysts say that for most retailers, there’s still more good than bad that can come out of dedicating more floor space to private-label products. Consumers are reportedly still proving receptive to buying private-label products across a variety of categories, and there’s no sign that certain categories are at risk of reaching a level of oversaturation — at least for a few years.

4. Amazon tests private label pop-up ads

Amazon recently experimented with mobile windows offering its private label products when customers looked at the product pages for certain, similar items, the Wall Street Journal reports. An Amazon spokesperson told Retail Dive that “this was a small test; the similar, lower-priced product options shown to customers were from a range of relevant brands on our website; and the similar product options were not ads.” While Amazon may not call these “ads” outright, this experiment wouldn’t be the first time Amazon demonstrated its power over other brands. Also, Amazon’s private-label brands have already chipped away at market share in some categories, such as batteries.

5. Zara trials denim personalization in-store and online

Zara is reportedly trialing a personalized denim service in three European stores and in selected online markets this month, embracing the personalization trend pioneered by big brands like Nike and Levi’s in recent years. From March 27, customers of Inditex-owned Zara in Italy, Britain, Holland, and Spain will be able to have their orders embroidered with words in 13 different designs and opt to have them delivered or picked up in-store in an initial roll-out to test demand.






Sujay Seetharaman

Market Analyst @ PipeCandy

Currently donning the Researcher's hat. Talks to himself.