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  • Express Checkout #66 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm

Express Checkout #66 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm

Commerce and CPG news from the week of 3/18/24

Hello hello!

Okay, I’m finally back in NYC. Shoptalk was great, but boy is Vegas something else…once a year is good for me. But I did meet two interesting famous people…

yeah that’s right, Jimmy from Love is Blind and Barbara Corcoran

Now this week we have no sponsor so wanted to call out a couple of things!

  • 🙋 I wanna help friends looking for jobs and companies looking to hire amazing people, if you want to get on that list on either side let me know!

    I’m planning on sending out an email with select jobs and amazing candidates! Submit here if you’d like to be added to that list - HERE

  • 🤑 if you are raising, I would love to help get your brand in front of great consumer investors! 🤑 

    If you are a CPG/consumer investor also pls hit me up!

👀 Oh I also have a little career update….

👋  I’m joining Levitate Foundry as Head of Partnerships - super pumped to help grow this agency with Steph Liu and team. If you’re looking to partner, co-host events, or need a full service marketing agency designed for CPG and consumer brands pls reach out!! (check out my full post here)

🎉 Events! - All my events can be found HERE

  • I’m already hosting an event with Levitate on April 11th, a delicious breakfast for brands and operators. Sign up here.

  • DTC Run club with the one and only Lisa Popovici of Siena (every Wednesday)

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 🔥

  • If Stormi can have a Birkin so can you - Hermès is facing a class-action lawsuit in California, where two shoppers allege that the luxury brand's Birkin buying practice is "unfair." The plaintiffs claim that Hermès unlawfully requires customers to purchase ancillary products before being offered the opportunity to buy a Birkin bag, in a practice known as "tying." (source)

  • I’d own an ice cream business - Unilever announced plans to spin off its ice cream unit, which includes popular brands like Magnum and Ben & Jerry's, and cut 7,500 jobs. The spinoff is expected to be completed by the end of 2025. The ice cream business accounts for about 16% of Unilever's global sales. The company also launched a program to save costs of around $869 million over the next three years. (source)

  • OV heading for bankruptcy - According to insiders, Outdoor Voices is reportedly heading towards bankruptcy after closing all of its stores the other week. The women's athletic apparel brand is said to be planning to file for an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors in the coming weeks. (source)

🗞️ News from the week (3/18/24 - 3/24/24)

🛍 Retail

  • Kohl's has expanded its home assortment by 40%, positioning itself more as a seasonal décor destination. [source]

  • Five Below is scaling back its self-checkout options in an effort to combat inventory loss (source)

  • The Container Store is opening its 102nd retail location at the Huntington Shopping Center in Huntington, NY. This new store will feature a Custom Spaces Studio and offer a wide range of organizing solutions and in-home design services. (Source)

  • Untuckit plans to open 14 new stores in 2024, with the goal of reaching nearly 100 locations by the end of the year. The first seven stores will open by May, starting in California, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, and New York. (Source)

  • Ulta Beauty has partnered with Pact Collective to launch The Beauty Dropoff, a fleetwide recycling program where customers can drop off clean, empty cosmetic containers for recycling. The program will be available at all of Ulta's 1,350+ stores, making it the largest beauty packaging collection program in the U.S. (Source)

  • ShopRite operator Village Supermarkets has opened a new store in Old Bridge, N.J., that features offerings from Fairway Market and Gourmet Garage. (source)

  • Target is enhancing the checkout experience by introducing Express Self-Checkout with limits of 10 items or fewer at most of their stores nationwide. (Source)

🛒 CPG & Consumer Goods

  • James Harden-backed DTC brand Beard Club has launched at Target. (source)

  • Subway is partnering with T. Marzetti Co. to introduce four sauces at grocery stores. The sauces include Sweet Onion Teriyaki, Roasted Garlic Aioli, Baja Chipotle, and Creamy Italian MVP. (Source)

  • UNREAL has introduced four new chocolate snacks: Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds, Dark Chocolate Coconut Covered Almonds, Grain-Free Milk Chocolate Covered Pretzels, and Grain-Free Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels. These snacks are delicious! I got to try them at ExpoWest. (source)

  • Diageo is launching 30,000 aluminum bottles of Original Irish Cream. The new bottle, which weighs 85 grams, reduces the brand's carbon footprint by a reported 44%. Baileys received B Corp Certification in October 2022 and the bottle passed the Product Carbon Footprint Analysis. It will be available in select airports and retail stores starting from April. (Source)

  • Truly Hard Seltzer is diving into a new spirit, tequila. They just launched Truly Tequila. (Source)

  • Oobli, a sweet protein maker, has received FDA approval to use its sweetener product in food and beverages. This marks the first time a sweet protein has been recognized as Generally Recognized as Safe by the FDA. Oobli's sweet protein is derived from fruits and has the potential to replace 70% or more of sugar in various food and beverage products. (source)

  • Treasure8 and Suja Life have entered into a partnership to upcycle waste streams from Suja Life's products into premium powders using Treasure8's dehydration technology. (source)

  • Chameleon Organic Coffee has expanded its RTD category set with four 8 oz. cold-brew cans. The canned cold-brew line offers four flavors, including Nitro Black, Double Espresso, Sweetened Black, and Flat White. (source)

  • My new favorite brand just launched, Cliik. It’s a startup that sells plastic containers with magnetic lids, designed to bring the joy of magnets to home organization. (source)

💻 eCommerce

  • Cherry is a new AI shopping assistant that simplifies product discovery and comparison by allowing users to find products using screenshots or images. (Source)

  • Google has launched a new offsite retail media solution in closed beta, with Lowe's as the first retailer to test the offering. The solution, part of Google's Search Ads 360. (source)

  • Lyft Media is expanding its advertising solutions with the launch of in-app video ads nationwide, improved targeting collaborations with Oracle, and third-party brand measurement with Nielsen. (source)

🏭 Supply Chain

  • FedEx plans to launch its revamped "fdx" platform this fall, aiming to create an end-to-end commerce platform that helps businesses optimize their supply chains, sell to customers, and manage deliveries. With this move, FedEx aims to compete with Amazon in the logistics space. (Source)

  • Every Body Eat, a manufacturer of allergen-free, gluten- and grain-free snack thins, has moved to a new 20,000 sq ft facility in Evanston, Illinois. (source)

  • Mars has opened a R&D Innovation Studio at its facility in Hackettstown, New Jersey, investing over $70 million in the project. The studio includes a prototyping kitchen, packaging lab, and collaboration space, and will focus on developing and testing sustainable packaging materials. (source)

💸 Funding news

  • Fetch, a rewards app, has secured $50 million in debt financing from Morgan Stanley Private Credit. (Source)

  • Agrovision, a LA-based technology-enabled fruit platform, has raised an undisclosed amount in equity funding led by Aliment Capital. (Source)

  • Ultrahuman, a health monitoring company based in Bangalore, India, has raised $35 million in Series B funding from investors like Blume Ventures, Steadview Capital, Nexus Venture Partners. The company aims to surpass $100 million in annualized revenue run rate by the end of 2024. (source)

  • Ingrid, a Swedish startup, has raised $23 million to improve the last mile of online shopping delivery through its data-driven platform. With a 20% share of the consumer market in Sweden, Ingrid plans to expand its platform to more markets in Europe. (Source)

  • New York-based start-up Scent Lab has raised seed funding from investors including Joyance Partners and XRC Ventures. Scent Lab offers personalized scents in high-quality candles. The brand brought in $1 million in revenue in its first year and has added Ali Kriegsman, former COO and co-founder of Bulletin, as co-founder and CMO. (source)

  • JOANN Inc., a fabrics retailer, has entered into an agreement to reduce debt and receive $132 million in new capital to continue operations. Despite the financial restructuring, JOANN's stores and online platform will remain open and continue operating as usual. (Source)

  • FabFitFun has acquired PupBox, a monthly subscription box for dogs, from Petco. (Source)

  • Döhler Ventures has announced a strategic research and development partnership with Vertosa, a leading infusion technology company for cannabis and hemp products. (Source)

  • heywell, a functional sparkling water brand, has announced Alethia Venture Partners as their lead investor in their first strategic funding round. The funding will support marketing initiatives and sales support. heywell has also partnered with Green Spoon to accelerate their retail presence. (Source)

  • GNGR Labs has closed a new round of investment and has annoucned plans to expand their presence beyond NYC. (source)

  • Goli Nutrition Inc. has announced it has been acquired by a group that includes Group KPS, Bastion Capital, and one of the company's original founders. The transaction is subject to court approval in Quebec and the US. (source)

  • The owner of Chosen Foods is considering a sale of the avocado-based food products company, with a potential valuation of $600 million or more. Chosen Foods is working with Morgan Stanley and Bank of America on the sale process, expected to launch later this year. The company, which generates approximately $50 million in EBITDA, was acquired by Butterfly Equity in 2021. (source)

  • L Catterton has created Elevate Beauty Ventures, a new platform to invest in early-stage beauty and wellness brands. The growth fund is investing between $15 million to $125 million per deal. (source)

  • Sazerac has acquired BuzzBallz, expanding its RTD portfolio. BuzzBallz, known for its spherical-shaped cocktails and mixed drinks, will benefit from Sazerac's resources to reach an even wider customer base. (Source)

  • Lalo, a baby product brand based in NYC, has closed a new equity round with Forecast Labs, a consumer venture group. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. (source)

🧐 Interesting reads

💡 Data, reports, and trends

😋 Brands and things I’ve tried this week

Stay tuned for my ExpoWest round up! I tried too many things to put in here 😅

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

Nate :)

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