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Express Checkout #67 - the latest in CPG, Retail, and eComm

Commerce and CPG news from the week of 3/25/24

Hello hello!

I broke 4,000+ subscribers!! So I thought now would be a great time to reintroduce myself 😁

Obviously I am the founder of Express Checkout, you’re reading it right now!

I also recently joined Levitate Foundry, a full service marketing agency and Shopify Plus partner, as Head of Partnerships!! 🎨 

I am also a partner at FirstLook Ventures with Brian Folmer and Austin Eastmen. We are so pumped to invest more in CPG and eComm tools!!

Some asks 👋 

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

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

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We’ve sourced freelance talent for the likes of Alo Yoga, Chubbies, Dermalogica, Aviator Nation, JUDY, Boll & Branch, DS&DURGA, Lovevery and so many more. 

We’d love to help you find the perfect freelancer. Kick off a project brief here, and we'll intro you to someone great within 24 hours.

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  • 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 🔥

  • All the bubbies in Boca Raton are going to be so confused - Manischewitz is a leading kosher food brand known for products like matzo, noodles, and cake mixes. While popular among loyal kosher consumers, the brand was looking to reach to younger audiences and move beyond just the kosher aisle. They worked with design agency JKR to give the brand a modern refresh with warmer colors and illustrations. Check out my deep dive here!

  • Take this one with a grain of salt - Rumor has it Boisson, the leading non-alcoholic retail chain in the US, is closing down all its locations. The closure was initially hinted at by a since-deleted social media post from a Boisson employee and was later supported by a mass email notifying customers of a Spring Cleaning sale. The closure comes as a surprise as Boisson had previously announced plans for expansion and secured significant funding. source

  • Fast-fashion retailer has plans - H&M's new CEO, Daniel Ervér, plans to upscale fashion and the retail experience while lowering prices. They’re also renovating 250 stores globally as well as close around 160 stores throughout the rest of 2024. But at the same time opening 100 new stores in growing markets. source

  • The Depot makes a big purchase - The Home Depot has announced its agreement to acquire SRS Distribution, a leading specialty trade distributor across multiple verticals, for a total enterprise value of approximately $18.25 billion (including net debt). This acquisition expands The Home Depot's offering and capabilities for professional customers and increases its total addressable pro market by approximately $50 billion. source

  • New outdoor apparel brand launches- SENIQ is a new outdoor apparel brand founded by Madison Poitinger and Valentina Lorek. Their mission is to create fashionable and functional clothing for active women. The brand aims to challenge the more male-dominated outdoor industry. SENIQ's launch collection, the "Trail System," offers versatile and stylish hiking apparel. They also prioritize mental wellness and donate a portion of their sales to foundations supporting underserved communities. Source

Images provided by Seniq

🗞️ News from the week (3/25/24 - 3/31/24)

🛍 Retail

  • Longevity clinic Modern Age has announced the closure of its New York City location due to funding issues. Despite raising $33 million in outside capital, the company was unable to secure adequate funding to continue operations. (Source)

  • BJ's Wholesale plans to open 12 new stores and 15 gas stations by Q1 2025. The expansion is part of their overall growth strategy to increase their presence to compete with Costco. (Source)

  • Kim Kardashian's Skims brand has signed a discounted lease for a 20,000 sqft. store on New York City's Fifth Avenue. The space, located in a Beaux Arts building, was previously occupied by Versace. Skims is paying less than $200 per sq. ft., compared to Versace's $770 per sq. ft. Skims has raised ~$670 million in funding and plans to open more physical stores. (Source)

  • Lands’ End has laid off approximately 10% of its corporate workforce as part of a reduction in corporate headcount. The company experienced a decline in net revenue and posted a net loss. (source)

  • Trader Joe's in Union Square has transformed its wine shop into a grab-and-go market called Trader Joe's Pronto. The company has no plans to open additional Pronto locations at this time. (Source)

  • Kroger is closing three eCommerce facilities, including one in South Florida and two in Texas, as part of its hub-and-spoke network with Ocado. Despite efforts and support from new customers, these facilities did not meet the company's benchmarks for success. This setback comes as Kroger aims to establish a leading position in home delivery service. (Source)

🛒 CPG & Consumer Goods

  • Grove Collaborative announces a rebrand and product launches for its flagship brand, Grove Co. The company highlights key sustainability goals achieved, such as plastic recovery and avoidance, and their partnership with The Nature Conservancy for forest conservation. (Source)

  • Canada Goose announced that it will be cutting around 17% of its corporate workforce. The cuts are part of the company's ongoing "Transformation Program" and are expected to bring immediate cost savings. (Source)

  • Kim Kardashian and AD100 firm Clements Design have been sued by the estate of artist Donald Judd over alleged knockoffs of Judd's furniture. The lawsuit claims that Kardashian's company, Skkn by Kim, used a copy of Judd's La Mansana Table and Chair 84 and falsely presented it as authentic. (Source)

  • Tractor Supply Company has partnered with Martha Stewart, Marquee Brands, and French Dressing Jeans Inc. to launch the Martha Stewart Garden Apparel Line. The line includes eight clothing items and will be available exclusively at Tractor Supply stores and online. (source)

  • Beautycounter, a leading clean beauty brand, has launched its first fragrance line. The company plans to lobby Congress to close the “fragrance loophole” and support the Safer Beauty Bill package. (source)

    • The "fragrance loophole" is a legal provision dating back to the 1970s that allows companies to legally hide ingredients used to make a scent under generic listings such as "fragrance" or "parfum" 👀

  • Clinique has launched its storefront in the U.S. Amazon Premium Beauty store. This move marks the first of a select few brands within The Estée Lauder portfolio to establish a presence in the Amazon Premium Beauty store. (Source)

  • White Claw gets into tequila with the launch of While Claw Tequila Smash, combining seltzer, tequila, real fruit juice, and blue agave nectar. (source)

  • PepsiCo has launched Flamin' Hot as a standalone brand within its portfolio, aiming to highlight the popular flavor profile. The Flamin' Hot brand will initially include 25 unique products. (source)

  • Happy Products has launched RTD coffees targeting younger consumers. For those who don't remember, Happy Products is the latest brainchild of Craig Dubitsky (founder of Hello and EOS), alongside Robert Downey Jr. (Source)

  • Vacation has revived the iconic '80s sunbathing and beach essential, Bain de Soleil Orange Gelée. Inspired by '80s Club Med culture, Vacation brings back the nostalgic gel with a warm, tropical fragrance and a healthier formula. They had a 15,000 person waitlist for this launch! Vacation's Orange Gelée SPF 30 is now available for $23. (source)

    • Check out my tiktok I made on this! And please, I know I pronounced everything wrong 🥲

💻 eCommerce

  • Instacart has announced the launch of the Instacart Developer Platform (IDP), a new API program that allows third-party developers to integrate Instacart's functionality into their websites and apps. Source

  • Amazon has launched the Amazon One app. The app allows users to sign up by simply taking a photo of their palm. (Source)

    • Has anyone used the palm feature? How is it?

🏭 Supply Chain

  • UPS plans to close 200 sort centers over the next five years as part of its Network of the Future optimization plan. The plan is expected to save $3 billion per year by 2028 through improved productivity. Source

💸 Funding news

  • Kidsy is a Chicago-based e-commerce startup that offers discounted baby and kids products by partnering with brands, retailers, and liquidation companies. Founded by Shraysi Tandon and Sinan Sari, Kidsy recently raised $1 million in pre-seed funding. Source

  • SEMCAP Food & Nutrition has invested $68 million in ALOHA, a plant-based protein brand, acquiring a significant minority stake in the company. source

  • Allies of Skin, a Singapore-based skin care brand, has raised $20 million from Meaningful Partners. The investment will support the brand's expansion into the US, with a focus on marketing and R&D. Source

  • Professional baseball player Justin Verlander and his wife model Kate Upton have made a multimillion-dollar investment in sustainable period care brand The Flex Co. Source

  • Circular, a material sourcing platform, has secured $10.5 million in funding to expand its database of post-consumer recycled materials and streamline PCR material procurement. Source

  • Blue Yonder has agreed to acquire One Network Enterprises for approximately $839 million. One Network's AI platforms provide end-to-end supply chain solutions, including visibility, planning tools, and payment solutions. source

🧐 Interesting reads

💡 Data, reports, and trends

😋 Brands and things I’ve tried this week

My favorite skincare brand, Experiment, just released their newest product….Softwear! Softwear is an incredible lip balm that I cannot get enough of. I bought one but also got a surprise press kit! And that press kit was fun!

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

Nate :)

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