Express Checkout issue #1

A lot happens in a week

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving!! 🦃

It's amazing how much happens in a given week. New stores open, new brands launch, earnings are reported, raises are announced, maybe the Suez Canal gets blocked yet again...

As someone who tries to keep up to date on everything in the consumer world, I know how difficult it can be. So I started curating lists of news and updates in weekly Twitter threads. Quickly I saw that there's too much news and too much I want to say about it to fit in a nice neat thread....so newsletter it is! 🎊

I'm excited to introduce you to Express Checkout (shout out to Scott Howard for coming up with the name), a newsletter where you can find all the big and small interesting and important things happening across commerce. Encompassing everything from new brand launches, supply chain news, retail news, mergers, raises, a new SKU launch, and everything else from the interconnected world of making, selling, and using consumer products.

Now let's get to the news...

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CPG/Consumer News from the week (11/21-11/27)

🛍 Retail

Target is rolling out drive-up Starbucks option at 240 stores around the country. This is in line with Target's emphasis on giving customers more convenient and efficient ways to shop, including their recent expansion of new store formats and emphasis on curbside pickup for orders!

Tanger Outlets is welcoming some new tenants including the once DTC only Allbirds. Other retailers include Mack Weldon and Roller Rabbit. Allbirds has been struggling and is finding ways to expand their footprint and customer base. They recently expanded to REI as well.

Our Place cookware has opened up their first retail store and event space in LA. They are not the only traditionally DTC brand to open up a brick-and-mortar location in the past year. They join the likes of M.M. La Fleur and others building their first and expanding on their already existing retail presence.

Nordstom Posts Q3 declines, but meets expectations. The retailer, despite a decrease in net sales, is continuing to focus on improving the Rack's business by improving profitability and optimizing supply chain.

Live streaming can work on any computer, even one in a store window. Select retail windows in NYC will stream live shopping programs through the holiday season thanks to TalkShopLive and FrontRunner technologies.

🏭 Supply Chain

Macy's is establishing mini distribution centers at 35 stores around the country. Around 1 million square feet have been converted. Apparently Macy's has been great with inventory while others have faltered

An industry working group has declared that the headache-inducing ship backlog at the Port of LA and Long Beach has ended after 25 months.

L.A. Libations has made an investment in Hi-Touch distribution, a big player in the emerging beverage space in SoCal.

🛒 CPG

Torr FoodTech has raised a $12M Series A to further push the tech they developed that combines mechanical pressure and ultrasonic energy to press ingredients together in the production of food. The company came out of the Strauss Group's incubator and raised $$ from Harel Insurance Investment and Financial Services, with with added contributions from existing investors Mondelēz International, The Kitchen Hub, and Strauss Group.

Post Holdings is on the lookout for M&A deals per the CEO. On a recent earnings call, CEO Rob Vitale said their cash-rich balance sheet can be an "advantaged buyer in a challenging financing environment, and we welcome all opportunities." Post was built by acquisitions such as Peter Pan peanut butter

Protest held at Red Bull HQ over the company's refusal to leave Russia.

Packaging matters! GoodPop's recent redesign led to a 40% bump in sales growth.

Patagonia takes Gap to court over copycat design.

Sustainability comes to toys. Mattel is trying to confront the plastic problem (that they're massively a part of) with 33 playthings they claim are sustainable. Some offerings include a Barbie made from ocean plastic and a carbon-neutral Matchbox Tesla built from 99% recycled materials.

Custom jeweler Wove has raised $3.85M led by Springdale Ventures to make shopping for an engagement ring easier.

💻 eCommerce

Mercato has launched a program to boost healthy food access in low-income areas. The program, called Thriving Communities, will work with local groups such as governments and non-profits to help grocers establish their own online reach.

Prado, an e-commerce and logistics platform, has raised $5.75M in seed funding to help local meal delivery companies market, sell, and fulfill their perishable products. The round was lead by Bonfire Ventures, with participation from Slauson & Co., January Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Bridge Investment Group, and Supply Change Fund.

JOKR is shutting down operations in Santiago, Chile and Medellin, Colombia letting go of around 20 employees each.

Popup snagged a lovely $3.5M to build a no-code way to personalize online storefronts. The company was founded by 2 ex-Shopify employees and raised from Accel, Seedcamp, 20VC and a group of angels including ex-Shopify CMO Jeff Weiser and Hopin CEO Johnny Boufarhat.

JM Smuckers coffee business takes a hit from high prices but is confident about outlooks, especially for their Dunkin' business. Plus, they saw great growth led by Uncrustables. Net sales of that business grew 21%.

Shopify merchants break Black Friday records with $3.36Bn in sales through the service.

🧐 Interesting reads and research

When and why consumers react negatively to brand acquisitions (research paper by the American Marketing Association)

Rail labor negotiations tracker via Supply Chain Dive

Thanks for reading! I'll be back next week with more commerce news straight to your inbox. If you have any suggestions, feedback, or stories I missed, let me know!

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Nate :)

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