WALMART INVESTS IN EDUCATION
In partnership with Guild Education, Walmart is offering financial and academic assistance to earn an associate's or bachelor's degrees in business or supply chain management to full-time, part-time, and salaried U.S. Walmart employees who have worked for at least 90 days.
Associates in the academic program will only pay out-of-pocket, $1 a day, until they receive their degree, while Walmart subsidizes the cost of tuition, books, and fees beyond financial aid. Walmart Spokeswoman Erica Jones anticipates 68,000 Walmart employees to enroll in the new program over the next five years.
Participating non-profit universities include: University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University. In addition, associates can jumpstart their path to completion by earning college credit for paid training at Walmart Academies.
SUSTAINABILITY IS THE FUTURE
New retailers are proving just how clean fashion can be. For Days, a sustainable T-shirt brand, is delivering organic T-shirts and other cotton basics to members who can send them back in whichever condition and whenever they feel like it, to be recycled and replenished.
Americans throw out an average of 80 pounds of clothing per year, 60 percent of which is owned for less than one year. Fashion companies are zeroing in on these discrepancies with circular fashion, the incorporation of recycled resources into supply chains. Brands like Nike, H&M, Burberry, and Gap are joining Stella McCartney to reduce industry waste over the next three years in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative.
“We’re keeping everything in the cycle; we’re not consuming anything,” says Kristy Caylor, founder of For Days.
NORDSTROM GETS INNOVATIVE
Nordstrom’s high-tech response to the dying department store model is a corollary to its greatness. After the successful launch of its merchandise-free concept store in October 2017, Nordstrom is planning to add two more such stores to the LA market.
Digital is taking over, but consumers still value the physical experience of shopping. Nordstrom's current concept shop focuses solely on services like tailoring, stylist consulting, beauty services, and in-store pickup. The merchandise-free concept is an anomaly in such a profit driven industry. While the store won't replace main and off-price locations, its purpose is to build lifestyle branding — one of Nordstrom’s key differentiators amid fierce competition.
"By having a store that's all about services, it's been easier to communicate to customers what we can do, and engagement with all those services has been terrific," says co-president Eric Nordstrom.
SEARS ANNOUNCES MORE CLOSURES
Sears expenses and debts continue to rise, while its sales base continues to shrink. The company is outpacing department store peers in store closures, as the struggle to bring its business to profitability wages on.
Sears' announcement of a 100 additional store closures is another effort to streamline in the face of shrinking core operations. Once shuttered, the unprofitable locations will enable the company to turn attention to its best stores.
Despite losses, the retailer is actively trying to change its trajectory, partnering with Amazon to sell products and services. The transformation strategy is designed to rebrand Sears as an innovative and integrated retailer ready to meet the demands of today's shopper.
THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT
In the classic retail rivalry of Adidas vs. Nike, Nike has remained an industry leader for years. However, Adidas can declare itself a winner for now, as the sportswear retailer has been named the official sponsor for this year's World Cup until 2030.
Soccer is important for the image of the German brand, which has supplied the World Cup match ball since 1970. Since the last tournament in 2014, Adidas has grown sales rapidly in areas other than soccer, capitalizing on booming demand for its retro basketball sneakers and Boost running shoes to outpace Nike, particularly in the US market.
Stay tuned for more Adidas merchandise centering on the World Cup, and our future analysis of the any impact from the sponsorship!