The Weekly Closeout: Target works to rightsize inventory and two CEOs prepare to exit - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Friday, June 10, 2022

The Weekly Closeout: Target works to rightsize inventory and two CEOs prepare to exit


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 the first Walmart+ Weekend to Velveeta nail polish, here’s our closeout for the week.

What you may have missed

2022 IPO activity at lowest annual run rate in 2 decades

2021 was a boom year for deals in retail. Retail Dive tracked around 80 major deals across the industry, with over 15 being initial public offerings, including Allbirds, Mattress Firm and Rent the Runway. But after that surge, IPO activity is slowing.

According to an MKM Partners report released this week, IPO activity in 2022 is at its lowest annual run rate in 20 years. 

Activity began to slow in February this year, driven by factors like the war in Ukraine, rising commodity and energy prices, price correction in overvalued stocks, inflation and interest rate hikes, potential legislative changes and the lingering economic impacts of the pandemic, per the report.

However, the analysts, led by Rohit Kulkarni, believe that “as macro uncertainties linger and volatile market conditions persist, the backlog of IPO candidates and pipeline should continue to build.”

And for SPAC deals, which rose in popularity over the past few years, activity is expected to pick up throughout the year as 600 SPACs are still looking for a target company to merge with, the analysts said.

Bloomingdale’s marks 150th anniversary with collaborations, special events

To celebrate 150 years, Bloomingdale’s will kick off a campaign in September. The retailer will host special shopping experiences, exclusive luxury product collaborations, pop-ups and events for its customers.

“This significant milestone represents a unique moment in Bloomingdale’s rich history to not only celebrate our heritage, but to also look ahead to our next chapter,” Tony Spring, chief executive officer at Bloomingdale’s, said in a statement. “Some of fashion’s best brands started here, trends have been ignited here, and discoveries are made here every day. Bloomingdale’s has always been a brand that inspires, bringing people, style, culture, and technology together.”

A special collection in honor of its 150th anniversary will include over 300 exclusive products developed with “top brands and designers,” the company said in a press release emailed to Retail Dive.

The campaign, which kicks off during New York Fashion Week, will run through this year’s holiday season.

Fisher-Price joins Mattel’s PlayBack program 

Mattel on Tuesday announced an expansion of its PlayBack program, according to a company press release. The program, which is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys in future products, will now include Fisher-Price toys. The program aims to keep products out of landfills and supports the company’s larger goal to use 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic in products and packaging by 2030. 

The PlayBack program will include Fisher-Price non-electronic toys, including Laugh & Learn, Little People and Imaginext brands, among others. 

Customers can ship back used toys for free to Mattel.

Image courtesy Mattel


“The Mattel PlayBack program, aimed at repurposing these materials into new products and helping the environment, now provides parents and caregivers the opportunity to give these beloved Fisher-Price toys a new lease on life,” Chuck Scothon, senior vice president and general manager of Fisher-Price Infant and Preschool, said in a statement. 

Customers can participate in the program by going to the Mattel website to print a free label so they can pack and mail their toys to the company. Products collected will be sorted and separated by material type to be processed and recycled.

Walmart+ Weekend sale impacted by lack of awareness, inflation: report

Walmart held its first members-only Walmart+ Weekend sale from June 2 to June 5. Results were mixed compared to data from 2021’s Amazon Prime Day.

Only 33% of Walmart+ Weekend shoppers were aware of the sale before it started, according to early results reported by market research company Numerator. This compares to 94% of Amazon Prime Day 2021 shoppers who knew about the Amazon sale beforehand.

Items purchased reflect shoppers being more interested in consumer packaged goods than general merchandise. Inflation impacted 66% of Walmart+ Weekend shoppers' buying decisions during the sale, with over half of all orders (59%) spent on groceries, per the report. Inflation is taking a toll across the retail industry, including at apparel brands, as consumers avoid discretionary purchases and pandemic-related stimulus support is at an end.

Walmart+ Weekend did have higher satisfaction rates compared to Amazon Prime Day shoppers 70% of Walmart+ Weekend buyers expressed they were extremely or very satisfied with the deals versus 60% of Amazon Prime Day 2021 shoppers, per the report.

Retail Therapy 

The non-edible Velveeta cheese nail polish of your dreams

Yes, you read that title correctly. Nail polish company Nails.Inc and the Velveeta cheese brand have come together to bring you, unfortunate consumer, cheese-scented red and yellow nail polishes, per a press release

“Velveeta is known for its rich, creamy texture and cheesy, melty goodness, so what better way to bring this to life for our fans than with something equally as rich and creamy — nail polish,” said Kelsey Rice, senior brand communications manager at The Kraft Heinz Company, the parent company of Velveeta.

Velveeta’s nail polish collaboration with Nails.Inc comes in red and yellow colors.

Image courtesy Velveeta


It should be noted that it is not safe to consume nail polish, despite how rich and creamy it looks.

The nail polish duos are named “Finger Food” and “La Dolce Velveeta”, retailing for $15 as a set. “That’s La Dolce Velveeta” nail decal stickers are also available. The entire campaign is dubbed the “Velveeta Pinkies Out Polish” to encourage customers to live a life of “bold, unrestrained pleasure,” per the release.

With hands smelling like Velveeta cheese all day, surely your friends and family will agreeyou are unrestrained. 

Ace Hardware gets up in dad’s grill

It’s almost Father’s Day, which means it’s almost time to celebrate all of the things we really love about the dads in our lives. Not the parental guidance or constant support, but the standing at a window while it rains, saying “It’s really coming down out there.” Or overcooking the burgers every time there’s a cookout.

But maybe it’s not dad’s fault for burning the burgers. Maybe it’s the shoes. Ace Hardware is here to help with that. The hardware retailer created a pair of tricked-out grilling shoes in collaboration with The Shoe Surgeon to gift to three sweepstakes winners for Father’s Day, alongside a grill from Weber, Traeger or Big Green Egg, and a “swag bag” from Ace.

The Ace Hardware shoes are black and red with slip-on backs.

Image courtesy The Shoe Surgeon


These kicks may be more likely to hinder some dads than help, though. While they do feature slip-on backs and comfort-focused insoles (my back is fine, what are you talking about?), they also include confusion-inducing features like leather that changes color while grilling and Bluetooth technology (what’s that?).

Whether the shoes actually improve the quality of the grilling is up for debate. But either way, dad isn’t the only one that will be doing the roasting this year. Sweepstakes participantsdaughters, sons, or other relatives interested in calling out a father in their lives have been asked to submit photos of their candidate’s poor-condition grilling attire to be eligible. That’s right, it’s exactly like a cookout-focused “What Not to Wear.”

What we’re still thinking about 


Online prices slowed again in May, with year-over-year inflation in e-commerce, at 2%, down by nearly a percentage point compared to April, according to May data from Adobe’s Digital Price Index shared with Retail Dive. Online prices fell 0.7% month over month.

The tracker found decreases across a majority of categories. Prices for electronics and toys hit low points for the past 24 months, with prices in both categories down year over year as well as month to month. Apparel prices were up 9% compared to 2021, but that represents a decrease from last month, and online prices for apparel fell 1.5% month to month. 

“Despite the modest increase in consumer spending online, an uncertain economic climate and rising costs in core areas like groceries are putting a hamper on overall demand,” Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing and insights at Adobe, said in a press release. 

Earnest Research found that total consumer spending grew just 1% year over year in May, with online spending falling 4%, offset by 4% growth in in-store spending. 

Earnest Research also noted that spending on home categories “decelerated notably” in May, with spending on home improvement, home furnishings, household goods, gaming, home fitness and electronics all falling by double digits.


That is Target’s re-revised forecast for its second-quarter operating profit margin. The retailer is moving to clear inventory as consumers pare back spending. That includes taking markdowns, getting rid of excess inventory and canceling orders, in part to clear room for higher volume (and lower margin) merchandise in food, as well as beauty and personal care.

Analysts expressed shock over the announcement coming so soon after Target’s Q1 earnings release, which also came with a sharp and unexpected drop in profits and warnings about pressures to come. Already, Target is tempering expectations further. Some analysts took the retailer to task for getting its demand forecasts so wrong. Yet the company’s top-line forecasts remained unchanged, and Target signaled it aimed to preserve growth and capture market share. 

What we’re watching 

The quick CEO swap at Sephora 

Martin Brok has been at Sephora for less than two years, but according to an internal release seen by Women’s Wear Daily, the executive is already leaving at the end of the month. Chris de Lapuente, who served as Sephora’s CEO for 10 years, will take over the role, the publication reported.

It’s a quick pivot for the retailer, and comes at a busy time for Sephora, which is working to scale up its shop-in-shops at Kohl’s and is pivoting its store footprint to more off-mall locations. It’s one of a series of recent CEO departures, including Under Armour’s Patrik Frisk, who is similarly leaving after just two years.

The RealReal’s surprise CEO exit

The RealReal’s founder and CEO, Julie Wainwright, surprised everyone this week by stepping down from the chief executive role. Documents regarding her June 7 departure were filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 6, with the paperwork stating that her “decision to resign was not due to any disagreements with the Company.” 

Wainwright will continue to serve as an employee of the company in her role as founder until Dec. 31 at the latest. 

Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer Rati Sahi Levesque and Chief Financial Officer Robert Julian will act as co-interim chief executive officers.


Retail Dive Staff, Khareem Sudlow