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Facebook Launches Cryptocurrency and The Bridal Industry Struggles

Facebook Launches Cryptocurrency and The Bridal Industry Struggles
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The marriage rate is tapering, due to factors undermining sales including Americans waiting until they're older to get hitched, which leaves many millennial and Gen Z shoppers out of the picture.

"Overall, the bridal and wedding market has struggled somewhat over the past five or so years," GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders told Retail Dive in an email. "Generally, broad trends have been against it, including fewer people getting married and a casualization of weddings."

That has resulted in quite a shakeup in the industry. Most recently, the largest mass market player in the space, David's Bridal, was downgraded last month, just four months after emerging from bankruptcy. J. Crew shut down its own bridal store and sales in 2016, after a little over a decade. Two years ago, bridal retailer Alfred Angelo, which ran 61 U.S. stores plus others abroad, and provided wholesale merchandise to more than 1,400 stores, abruptly shuttered.


In the Forbes series, “Applying 2019 Predictions To Retail,” Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.  and principal analyst on Forrester’s consumer insights team, provides their 2019 BI predictions and insights. Find out what Jennifer thinks retailers and brands can expect and should focus on regarding BI for the rest of 2019.

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Facebook officially announced its blockchain-powered digital currency, "Libra," which aims to provide fast and secure online mobile payments that will circumvent the traditional financial system. A new digital wallet, Calibra, will let users send and receive funds from a standalone app or within new WhatsApp and Messenger integrations, per Facebook's announcement.

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Despite predictions about the death of brick-and-mortar shops, recent trends are revealing what the future of retail might look like. Gen Z has shown an affinity for physical retail, and the buzz about "experiential retail" poses as a potential antidote for ailing brick-and-mortar.

The outdoor industry, looking to capitalize on the popularity of outdoor apparel and stave off the decline in outdoor specialty retail, is taking notice. Some companies are already seeing success from their experience-based and community building ventures. For example, Outdoor Voices, an outdoor apparel retailer, hosts group runs and other activities at its retail locations, and has created a self-identified community of people that are #DoingThings. Patagonia has built its community by facilitating opportunities for its customers to engage on issues they care about — from sustainability and the environment to protecting public lands.

Digital native Rothy’s is making its move into brick-and-mortar. The women’s shoe brand announced it will open five stores in the fall, with additional ones opening in 2020. Each store will launch with a special, one-of-a-kind shoe, the company said. Rothy’s shoes are made from recycled materials, including recycled plastic water bottles. The shoes — all flats, and priced at $125 to $165 — are knitted together, making them extremely comfortable, according to fans.

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Five hundred hopeful entrepreneurs were invited to Walmart this week hoping to land the deal of a lifetime. During Walmart’s 6th annual Open Call event, the invited companies met face-to-face with buyers looking for new U.S.-manufactured products for store shelves and the chain’s online site. Products being pitched reflected a broad range of categories, from pet supplies and power tools to sporting goods and sweet snacks. Good luck!

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