The Weekly Closeout: Nike names VP of direct acceleration and Petco partners with Backcountry - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Friday, May 6, 2022

The Weekly Closeout: Nike names VP of direct acceleration and Petco partners with Backcountry


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It’s been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week, and what we’re still thinking about.

From Stadium Goods now allowing resellers to buy in bulk to Wayfair racking up a loss of $319 million, here’s our closeout for the week.

What you may have missed 

Nike names global vice president of direct acceleration

Maggie Gauger is taking on a new role at Nike as global vice president of direct acceleration, according to a LinkedIn post. Footwear News first reported the change. Gauger was previously global vice president of marketplace for the activewear giant. The new position entails leading Nike’s DTC strategy and portfolio, according to Gauger’s LinkedIn.

Nike’s pivot to a direct-first model has been key to the brand’s strategy in recent years, with the company pulling away from wholesale partners and prioritizing sales through its own stores and digital channels. Mostly, Nike has stuck on with key partners like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Foot Locker, but in February, Foot Locker said it would be receiving less Nike product going forward due to Nike’s DTC strategy and a desire on Foot Locker’s part to diversify its assortment.

In a bid to win over outdoorsy pet owners, Petco partners with Backcountry

As the weather warms up and outdoor activities feel more inviting, Petco announced a partnership with Backcountry to attract outdoorsy consumers and their pets. 

Petco and the specialty outdoors retailer teamed up to create an exclusive collection of pet gear, which includes dog supplies, apparel, accessories and toys designed for summer. The retailers plan on dropping another line in the fall. The products feature easy to clean and water- and stain-resistant fabrics, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.

“With more pets in homes than ever before and continued interest in shared outdoor experiences, there’s a whole new generation of pet parents eager to explore the outdoors — and bring their pets along for the ride,” Aaron Weiss, senior vice president of owned brands at Petco, said in a statement. “Our customers are looking for functional solutions, tailored to the changing seasons, that really hold up and offer protection against the elements for outdoor activities like camping and hiking.”

Petco has recently introduced a number of initiatives and store formats to attract a broad set of consumers, including opening a flagship in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood dedicated to its Reddy brand, partnering with Lowe’s for shop-in-shops and plotting a store concept targeting rural consumers.

Stadium Goods now lets consignors buy in bulk

Stadium Goods this week launched Source by Stadium goods, a platform that allows resellers to buy and sell sneakers in bulk, according to a company announcement sent to Retail Dive. The platform allows buyers, many of whom are used to sourcing one pair of shoes at a time, the ability to buy bundles at bulk pricing to build out their inventory. 

Additionally, Stadium Goods takes care of authentication, shipping and warehousing services, so Source buyers never have to touch their inventory. Source buyers can expect a return of about 20% on their inventory investment, according to the company. 

David’s Bridal acquires Forever Bride 

David’s Bridal on Tuesday announced the asset acquisition of Forever Bride, an online wedding resource that connects brides with curated wedding businesses. Forever Bride’s Co-Founder and CEO, Ashley Hawks, will join the company to lead strategic partnerships. 

Since its launch in 2010, Forever Bride has been providing planning tools, podcasts, blogs, educational events and local wedding expos to brides and vendors. 

"Forever Bride is unlike any other platform we have seen in our industry, and we believe this mobile-friendly, content-driven, and community-focused model is exactly where wedding planning is going," Jim Marcum, David Bridal's CEO, said in a statement. "Forever Bride means our brides will have unmatched access to the most premier local vendors while being able to put some fun back into the planning process.”

Retail therapy 

Forget tasting the rainbow, with Mountain Dew you can taste the road

Ever stared down a long stretch of asphalt and thought, “Man, that looks good?” You’re not alone. Mountain Dew this week released a “Purple Thunder” flavor that allows drinkers to “Taste the Open Road.”

Courtesy of PepsiCo


A combination of blackberry and plum, the drink is a neon purple that looks like something a mad scientist would hand to an unsuspecting teenager before they became a crime-fighting turtle or the Hulk. The label features “its own biker gang of DEW characters – including a plum and blackberry enjoying the sweetest ride of their life,” per the release. There’s also a maniacal cactus in the background.

So if the sweet flavor of gravel calls to you, now is the time to pick up a Mountain Dew. It’s exclusive to Circle K, so we can only imagine it tastes like gasoline and inflation. 

Gucci to accept crypto as payment at select stores

“Cruel world, why can’t I buy a Gucci GG Marmont bag using Dogecoin?” is a question you won’t need to ask yourself anymore. Gucci is reportedly starting a pilot program at select stores to accept crypto as payment for purchases later this month. 

North American Gucci stores Wooster Street in New York, Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, Miami Design District, Phipps Plaza in Atlanta and The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas are part of the initiative, according to Vogue Business. The payments occur through a link sent to customers containing a QR code that can be used through crypto wallets. The luxury retailer will accept over 10 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, according to the report. 

Unlike some other retailers accepting crypto, such as Off-White, Gucci plans to offer returns for crypto purchases in cryptocurrency as opposed to in-store credit, despite the constant change of crypto value.

What we are still thinking about

$319 million

For a moment there, Wayfair was a profitable retail company. It posted its first, relatively modest positive net profit for 2020, as buying of home goods surged during the pandemic, before swinging back to a loss in 2021. By the end of last year, the online furniture retailers had an accumulated deficit of nearly $2 billion, after years of losses

And now it’s starting off 2022 by losing yet more money. For the first quarter, Wayfair racked up a loss of $319 million as revenue fell 14%, a sign that consumers had shifted spending away from both online channels and home goods as a category. 

But the situation might be even more challenging for Wayfair. GlobalData’s Neil Saunders pointed out that the company’s decline in U.S. sales, at 9.9%, came against 5.8% growth in category sales overall. “Quite simply, Wayfair is losing market share hand-over-fist,” Saunders said in comments. 

$60 million

That is how much the gargantuan, experience-based American Dream mall in New Jersey lost last year, according to a draft filing with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. 

The mall’s opening was delayed for years before it finally debuted in the fall of 2019 — mere months before a pandemic forced malls to shutter and depressed foot traffic for many months afterward. 

More tourist and entertainment attraction than retail channel, American Dream has been particularly vulnerable during the pandemic era, with many consumers avoiding experience-based spending out of caution. Last year, the mall’s owner, Triple Five Group, was reported to have defaulted with lenders on financing tied to American Dream after the mall ran into cash flow problems.

As of April, American Dream was 80% leased, and with leases currently under negotiation could soon be 85% leased. Last year it collected $50 million in rent and nearly $100 million from its attractions.

What we are watching

Amazon, Levi’s move to protect abortion access for employees

Most retailers and brands have been quiet following a bombshell report in Politico this week that included a draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn the longstanding Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion access for half a century. 

A few companies have stepped forward with statements decrying the draft decision – Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday confirmed its authenticity but said it wasn’t final – and/or policies protecting their employees’ access to the medical procedure in areas that take any steps to outlaw it. 

Amazon, for one, will reimburse employees up to $4,000 in travel expenses for non-emergency medical procedures including abortion, Reuters reported this week. (Amazon didn’t immediately return a request for comment.) Levi’s on Wednesday published a more political public statement, framing the issue as “a business imperative” and noting it already has a policy to reimburse employees for health-related travel expenses, “including those related to reproductive health care and abortion.”

“[W]omen make up 58 percent of our global workforce, and in recent years, numerous employees have expressed to leadership their growing alarm over the rollback of all forms of reproductive care,” the denim maker said.

If the court finalizes the decision, it will be going against public opinion in the U.S. that according to Morning Consult has shifted further in favor of legal abortion since December. Three quarters of Americans say an abortion decision should left to women and their doctors, and 60% say the right to it should be upheld, according to a Washington Post-ABC poll published in November.

Several states are primed to outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe, and the private sector is ill prepared to step in. The procedure will remain out of reach for many people even if they work for companies with protective policies, for example. At Levi’s there is a way for employees not in its benefits plan, including part-time hourly workers, to seek reimbursement for these costs. But delivery drivers and other contractors working for Amazon reportedly don’t qualify for the reimbursement. 

“Given what is at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard and act to protect the health and well-being of our employees,” Levi’s said. “That means protecting reproductive rights.”


Retail Dive Staff, Khareem Sudlow