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  • Express Checkout #45 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm

Express Checkout #45 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm

Commerce and CPG news from the week of 10/9/2023

Hello hello!

I hope everyone is well. I skipped last week's newsletter to take some time to myself.

This week has been exceptionally challenging for me and countless others due to the escalating conflict in Israel and Gaza. It's been hard to go on with the status quo. The images and stories coming out of the region are horrifying and scary, knowing that my friends and family are in harm's way. To my fellow Jews or anyone else, my heart and home are open. Don't hesitate to reach out 💙

If you're looking to support in anyway, this is a great resource I found.

And if you’re looking to get something physical, check out Abbode, a small NYC shop. Their Tikkun Olam line donates 100% of the proceeds to Jewish/Israeli charities.

🚨 Brands! 🚨 

My friend’s agency, Progress Labs, has some availability for client work. Progress Labs is a design, technology, and web development studio focusing on branding, design & development.

They’ve done work for some impressive brands like Deux, Air, Jolie, Casper, and Futurewise.

Email me if you or any brands you know are in need of that kind of work! I will connect you with their team.

📰 Nate in the news 📰

Have we hit peak beverage? Maybe! I along with some amazing CPG folks - Andrea Hernández, Mark Gallo, Victor Guardiola, and Jordan Hicks - gave our thoughts to Taste. Check out the article here!

Now, on to the news of the week!

(If you’re reading this email in gmail it might get clipped! You can always view full issues here.)

🔥 Big News - 10 items or less 🔥

🗞️ News from the week (10/9/2023 - 10/15/2023)

  • Can I wear socks with my Birks now? - Birkenstock debuted on the NYSE at $46/share. The company raised ~$495 million and was initially valued at approximately $8.64 billion. However, the stock declined over 12% on its first day of trading, closing at $40.20 per share.(source)

  • No more Skittles - The California Food Safety Act, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, will ban the manufacture, sale, or distribution of foods containing four different additives in CA – red dye 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, and propylparaben. The law will go into effect in 2027. (source)

  • Monster vs Bang continues - Monster has been awarded $20.9 million in attorneys' fees and over $22 million in additional damages in a dispute with bankrupt rival Bang Energy over false advertising. (source)

  • Eyewear brand raises - Pair Eyewear, a customizable eyewear brand, raised $75 million in Series C funding led by Prysm Capital. Revenue has grown significantly, with TikTok accounting for over 25% of sales. (source)

  • Vuori going public - Vuori plans to go public in mid-2024 after achieving a $4 billion valuation in a previous funding round. Vuori also plans to expand internationally into China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Middle East, and Mexico. (source)

  • Wegmans in Manhattan - Wegmans, the popular suburban grocery store chain, is opening its first location in Manhattan on Astor Place October 18th. (source)

  • Toy brand acquired -Spin Master is set to acquire Melissa & Doug, a trusted toy brand, for $950 million. The purchase price represents a transaction multiple of 10.5x 2022 Adjusted EBITDA. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in early 2024. (source)

  • Aha, more like Ahno - Coca-Cola is ending most sales of its Aha sparkling-water brand, following its failure to make a significant market impact. The company will wind down the brand and focus on growing its premium Topo Chico brand instead. (source)

🛍 Retail

  • Showfields has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to lower-than-expected revenue. They plan to restructure and focus on their existing stores in Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn, New York, while considering expansion into Europe. (source)

  • Australian luggage brand July has opened a new retail store in New York as they aim to establish themselves as a global brand. (source)

  • Outdoor retailer REI is laying off about 250 employees, which represents approximately 2% of its store workforce. (source)

  • Netflix is planning to open 'Netflix House' retail stores by 2025, offering fans the opportunity to fully experience their favorite TV shows through themed clothing, food, and obstacle courses. (source)

  • Sorel has opened its first pop-up shop in Williamsburg, featuring an AR experience, boot customization charm bar, and a life-size polar bear with local art. (source)

  • Google has opened a "Visitor Experience" center at its Mountain View HQ, which includes its first brick-and-mortar store on the West Coast. (source)

  • Mizzen+Main is expanding its retail presence beyond Texas by opening stores in Scottsdale, Houston, and San Antonio. They plan to have a total of 10 stores by the end of 2023 and more in 2024. (source)

  • Talea Beer Co., a women-owned brewery, has opened its latest taproom in West Village in Manhattan. They also have a location near Bryant Park opening in December. (soruce)

    • I attended the opening last Thursday. The venue is gorgeous, as expected. They served a unique beer inspired by Don Angie's lasagna, which was one of the most interesting beers I've tried.

🛒 CPG & Consumer Goods

  • Coffee 'n Clothes, known for experiential brand activations and in-fashion functions, has rebranded and split into two separate entities: CNC Agency and Coffee 'n Clothes. CNC Agency will focus on experience marketing, while Coffee 'n Clothes will become a consumer-facing coffee brand. (source)

  • Our Place is making moves

    • The kitchenware brand has expanded its reach to Amazon. (source)

    • They also released a new multicooker called the Dream Cooker, which offers four modes (pressure cooking, slow cooking, sautéing, and warming) and three temperatures. (source)


  • Uncle Nearest, a Tennessee whiskey producer, is expanding into the Cognac market by launching a brand next year. They have acquired Domaine Saint Martin, a vineyard in the Cognac region of France with a history dating back over 350 years. (source)

  • The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has acquired objects and archival materials from Anchor Brewing, including business records, brewing charts, photographs, blueprints, signs, and tools. These artifacts are now part of the museum's American Brewing History collection and showcase the importance of Anchor Brewing Co. as the first American microbrewery. (source)

  • Period care brands August, Rael, and others have formed the Tampon Tax Back Coalition to fight against the sales tax imposed on menstrual products in the U.S. The coalition, consisting of eight participating brands, will reimburse consumers for the tax paid. (source)

  • Rhone, a menswear company, is expanding into the women's activewear market with a collection of performance and lifestyle pieces. (source)

  • Crocs celebrates "Croctober" with the release of Crocs Classic Cowboy Boots. (source)

  • Viv for your V, an eco-friendly and accessible period care brand, launched a OOH wild-postings campaign in NYC. Congrats Katie and team!

  • Refillable body care brand Uni launches at Credo to reinforce its commitment to blue beauty and unveils new packaging. (source)

  • Ben & Jerry's is relaunching its plant-based line with a new oat-based recipe. After considering various options, researchers determined that oats delivered the desired creaminess without overpowering the core flavors. (source)

  • DTC healthcare shoe brand Clove is expanding into wholesale and adding new styles to its collection. (source)

  • Openhouse Ventures has launched a new website called Product Studio, focusing on custom product development for the Hospitality and Fitness industries. (source)

💻️ eCommerce

  • Takeoff Technologies has partnered with Hy-Vee, a leading grocery retailer, to enhance its online shopping capabilities. Hy-Vee will incorporate Takeoff's micro fulfillment technology to improve e-commerce and order fulfillment. (source)

  • Veem and WooCommerce have partnered to offer a B2B payment solution for e-commerce businesses. (source)

  • BNPL startup Klarna has launched an AI-powered image recognition tool that allows users to find products they want to buy by pointing their phone at an item. (source)

  • Walmart has partnered with Perfect Corp. to launch a virtual makeup try-on experience through the Walmart iOS app. (source)

🏭 Supply Chain

  • Uber is introducing a new feature called "Return a Package" that allows customers to have a courier pick up and drop off their prepaid and sealed packages at a local post office, UPS, or FedEx. (source)

  • Virginia-based startup Helios has launched an AI-powered supply chain analyst called Cersi and raised $1.85 million in a pre-seed round. Cersi combines supplier data with climate, economic, currency, and political risk signals to provide real-time actionable insights. (source)

  • Bardstown Bourbon Company will build a new distillery in Kentucky called Whiskey House for $350 million. It will start operating in July 2024, producing over seven million proof gallons annually. Production will double by 2027. (source)

  • REI opened a new distribution center in Tennessee to serve over 60 stores and 5.6 million members. The facility prioritizes employee connection to nature, uses 100% renewable energy, and aims for zero waste. It currently employs 230 staff and may grow to 350 employees. (source)

  • Walmart plans to open its fifth next-gen fulfillment center in Stockton, California in 2026. Walmart aims to reach 95% of the U.S. population with next- or 2-day shipping. (source)

    • Amazon watch out 👀

💸 Funding news

  • Ergo, a startup developing pricing software primarily as a Shopify app, has raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding led by Anthemis and Wischoff Ventures. (source)

  • Alethia Ventures has launched its debut fund with $50 million in capital to invest in emerging beverage brands. (source)

  • Better Booch, a startup kombucha brand, has closed it’s first M&A deal, acquiring Live Beverages. (source)

  • Post Holdings has acquired Perfection Pet Foods, a private label pet product supplier, in a deal worth $235 million. (source)

  • Bon Vivant, a company utilizing precision fermentation to produce real dairy products without the need for animals, has successfully raised $15.8 million in seed funding. (source)

  • Clearco, a Toronto-based fintech company, has raised $60M in Series D funding led by Inovia Capital and Founders Circle Capital. (source)

  • Cove, a sustainable packaging startup, raised $6.6 million in an extension of its Series A round led by Valor Siren Ventures. (source)

  • Peer-to-peer fashion rental marketplace Pickle has raised $8 million in a seed round led by FirstMark Capital and Craft Ventures, with participation from Burst Capital. (source)

  • SuperOrdinary, a global brand accelerator, has raised $58M in a Series B fundraise, bringing the company's valuation to over $800M. (source)

  • TOAST-IT, a Latin American staples brand secured a deal with Daniel Lubetzky on Shark Tank, the founder of KIND. Final deal terms on the show, $150K for 20% equity. (source)

🧐 Interesting reads

💡 Data, reports, and trends

😋 Brands and things I’ve tried this week

PSL season is here and in full swing. This week I got a fun little package from Tenzo Tea, a pumpkin spice matcha latte! Delicious!

Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions, feedback, or stories I missed, let me know!

Nate :)

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