Retail Brew Newsletter 10/26/23

Liam BaileyThu, Oct 26, 9:10 PM
to Tanya Isarankura
October 26, 2023 Retail Brew PRESENTED BY Workday Happy Thursday, everyone. Once we get past Halloween, we'll be in full holiday mode, and UPS knows that. The company yesterday announced that it

October 26, 2023

Retail Brew



Happy Thursday, everyone. Once we get past Halloween, we’ll be in full holiday mode, and UPS knows that. The company yesterday announced that it will acquire return logistics firm Happy Returns from PayPal, a move that—let’s hope—makes it easier to discreetly return those less-than-ideal holiday gifts.

In today’s edition:

—Jeena Sharma, Katishi Maake, Erin Cabrey


Take it or…return it

Green arrow made out of a forest.Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

What’s the best way to deal with an unwanted piece of clothing or accessory? Consumers have options—from regifting to probably just regretting the purchase—but more often than not, it’s returning the item. And retailers? Well, there aren’t many options as far as returns are concerned beyond just, well, dealing with it.

But that comes with a cost, not just for the retailer but also the environment. Per research cited by The New Yorker, the annual retail value of returned goods in the US is steadily nearing $1 trillion.

“All of that returned inventory has to go somewhere, and often, it simply cannot be restocked,” Tasha Reasor, SVP of marketing at Loop Returns, a returns management software that helps e-commerce brands, told Retail Brew in an email. She added that compared to other categories, returns have a larger impact on fashion brands as they “struggle with staying sustainable, in part thanks to consumer practices like bracketing (ordering more than one product with the intention of returning all but their favorite of the bunch).”

Keep reading here.—JS



Time to tackle turnover


Retailers are grappling with steep turnover rates—as high as 60%–70% annually and 75.8% for in-store retail employees.

Wondering how turnover became such a problem and what retailers can do to turn things around? So did Workday. They dug into the stats behind high turnover and mapped out how retailers can use digital tech to break the cycle of constantly recruiting, training, and hiring new workers.

They laid it all out in their latest report, Overturning turnover: Digital technology to help you reverse the great retail resignation. Check it out to learn about:

  • the recent shift in workplace priorities
  • how retailers can better meet the needs of their frontline teams
  • choosing digital tools to build, engage, and retain a loyal, skilled workforce for years to come.

Get the full report.


Wide open spaces

Tanger Outlets Nashville locationTanger Outlets

Tanger Outlets now has its first post-pandemic outlet mall in Nashville. The shopping center will feature more than 60 brands, including digitally native companies such as Summersalt, and local concepts like TailGate Brewery and Prince’s Hot Chicken.

  • The 290,000-square-foot space is currently 96% leased, and CEO Stephen Yalof attributed that figure to Tangers approach to this new outlet mall, which prioritizes a blend of shopping, experiential, and food and beverage concepts.
  • Many open-air centers typically have a “racetrack design” that allows customers to shop the center around a loop, but Tanger Outlets Nashville is built around a central park where special events will be hosted and retailers can put on product displays.

“Our vision was going to be to create the shopping center of the future. And how are we going to do that?” Yalof said. “We are going to use customer information to inform the shopping center of the future. That means we listen, we say to our shoppers, ‘What are you looking for?’”

Keep reading here.—KM



Drink up

Plastic bottles of Coca-Cola and Diet CokeJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Coca-Cola’s third quarter earnings were a bit sunnier than rival PepsiCo’s, and Coke’s volumes rose despite higher prices.

Coke’s net revenue rose 8% to $12 billion, while organic revenue was up 11%, leading the beverage giant to raise its full-year guidance for organic revenue growth to 10%–11%.

Global unit case volume increased 2%, but was flat in North America, with growth in soft drinks like Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Fanta, as well as juice and dairy beverages like Fairlife, while other bev categories declined. PepsiCo earlier this month reported a 2.5% dip in global volume, and a 6% volume drop for its North American beverage business.

Keep reading here.—EC




Proceed with caution. Black Friday is exactly one month away, with Cyber Monday hot on its heels. And even in a turbulent year, consumers are cautiously adjusting their shopping habits. Klaviyo’s 2023 Consumer Spending Report digs into customer insights on everything you need to know before the holiday rush. Download the full report.


Today’s top retail reads.

How much a dollar costs: There’s no question that tipping fatigue is very much real among Americans, but when it comes to service workers, that extra cash goes a long way. (MarketWatch)

Checks out: Two years after Nike partnered with Dick’s on a connected loyalty program, the sportswear giant is running it back with a new company, proving its commitment to wholesale partnerships. (Retail Dive)

No vacancy: Say what you want about in-store shopping, but retail vacancies have hit an 18-year low, and that’s prompting new construction projects in some of the country’s largest markets. (Chain Store Age)

Attention retailers: Time to get to know your customers. We partnered with PayPal Braintree to dig into how retailers are getting a 360-degree view of their customers and how they shop. Read on.*

*A message from our sponsor.


Are you an exec looking to make your next career move or join a board of directors? We’ve partnered with ExecThread, where you can find thousands of confidential job opportunities and board roles that aren’t listed anywhere else. Check out positions like:


The numbers you need to know.

It’s technically only October but for all intents and purposes, we’re already in the midst of the holiday shopping season.

Shoppers’ budgets are a little more pinched this year, given nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans said they’re concerned about the effect inflation will have on prices, according to JCPenney’s inaugural “Make It Count” Holiday Report that surveyed consumers on their expectations for holiday shopping.

  • The survey also found that half of Americans are going to have to make trade-offs this year, and 22% said they anticipate having to take out a loan, borrow money, or incur debt to afford holiday shopping.
  • Two-thirds of those shoppers expect to take on more than $1,000 in debt after this year’s holiday shopping season.

And JCPenney is taking its own survey to heart with its approach to the holidays. The company has committed to holding or even lowering prices on some of its most popular products. According to the retailer, a wide range of popular, gifted products across categories will remain flat to match 2019 prices.

  • Additionally, starting November 3, shoppers can shop Black Friday deals, and these savings events will continue throughout the month and continue into mid December.
  • CEO Marc Rosen, who took over in 2021 after the company’s May 2020 bankruptcy, told reporters on a call Monday that JCPenney has been working to diversify its product selection and ensure that it offers a better value proposition than other department stores.

“We understand how important and also at times how stressful the holidays can be for our customers,” Rosen said, “which is why we want to make sure that they don’t have to make trade-offs when they’re shopping for holiday gifts, hosting essentials, or for the perfect festive outfit to help celebrate the season.”


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Written by Jeena SharmaKatishi Maake, and Erin Cabrey

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