The Weekly Closeout: Kanye West files trademark for retail stores and Laffy Taffy turns to NFTs - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Friday, July 15, 2022

The Weekly Closeout: Kanye West files trademark for retail stores and Laffy Taffy turns to NFTs


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 Bed Bath & Beyond launching its in-store pilot with Kroger to Spirit Halloween eagerly counting down the days for spooky season to begin, here’s our closeout for the week.

What you may have missed

Kanye West files trademark for retail stores, ignites battle against vowels

Late last month, Yeezy founder and rapper Ye’s (commonly known as Kanye West) intellectual property holding company Mascotte Holdings filed two new trademark requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

One of the filed trademarks is for the name YZYSPLY — likely a vowel-free take on Yeezy Supply — that is intended to be used for retail stores “featuring clothing and accessories” including footwear and headwear.

The second trademark filed for YZYSPLY covers usage for a long list of apparel items, including shirts, denim jeans, scrubs for non-medical purposes, and more.

The Yeezy brand is known for its neutral-toned clothing and footwear, and has collaborated with Gap and Balenciaga for special collections. Whatever Ye has up his sleeves this time, just know that it won’t be easy to read or pronounce. 

Nike expands partnership with Fanatics to cover college sports

Nike and Fanatics this week expanded their relationship to cover college sports, Nike confirmed to Retail Dive. Fanatics will manufacture the athletics giant’s NCAA sports fan and “sideline” products, per Nike. Fanatics called the deal a “long-term, exclusive partnership” that will cover apparel and headwear for a “select group of leading colleges and universities” starting in 2024.

The companies have similar deals for the NFL and MLB. With this new relationship, investing and growing the women’s business will be a particular focus point.

“Nike is committed to delivering the best product innovation for our athletes and consumers, and to creating marketplace opportunities for our partners,” Nike said in a statement. “Nike, Inc. is making a strategic shift in how we serve our NCAA university partners, ensuring access to the best product innovation.”

Bed Bath & Beyond officially launches in-store Kroger pilot

After first announcing its partnership with Kroger last November, Bed Bath & Beyond this week officially launched its in-store pilot with the grocer. John Hartmann, Bed Bath & Beyond’s chief operating officer, announced on LinkedIn the home goods retailer opened its first shop-in-shop with the grocer in the Phoenix area.

The opening of the store concept comes after Bed Bath & Beyond and Kroger in April launched an e-commerce experience, allowing customers to shop the home retailer’s products on the grocer’s website.

Bed Bath & Beyond is in the midst of a leadership shakeup. Mark Tritton late last month stepped down as the retailer’s CEO amid falling sales and growing losses. 

Retail Therapy:

Let the Spirit move you

Spirit Halloween is declaring the start of spooky season on July 30, when the retailer will have a grand opening event at its flagship location in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Because of course, the center of everything creepy is in Jersey. 

There, the company will premier the trailer of "Spirit Halloween: The Movie." That's right, the store has a movie based on it coming out in October which stars Donovan Colan, Dylan Martin Frankel and Jaiden Smith — all of whom will be at this event. (Also, Christopher Lloyd of "Back to the Future" fame is in this movie. How he was talked into this one we do not know but we aren't complaining.)

Activities that day feature tarot card readers, games, family-friendly activities, food and beverage vendors, and the trailer will be shown every 15 minutes. Which doesn't sound annoying at all. Spirit Halloween will also have a ribbon cutting to kick off the Halloween season, and guests will get a first look at this year's costumes, home decor and animatronics.

The natural progression of Laffy Taffy’s wrapper jokes is apparently NFTs

Iconic candy brand Laffy Taffy announced on Wednesday that it would retire 15 original jokes that typically get put onto candy wrappers, and turn them into non-fungible tokens.

Courtesy of Laffy Taffy


The NFT collection launches July 20 through a partnership with blockchain wallet company Bitski. The entire collection of 120 NFTs, featuring one of the 15 retired jokes, are free on a first come, first served basis.

“Our Laffy Taffy Original Jokes collection gives fans a unique opportunity to preserve one of our signature attributes – the jokes on our wrappers," Dave Foldes, marketing director of Laffy Taffy at Ferrara Candy Company, said in a statement. "By retiring some of our most iconic, beloved jokes dating back to 1986, we can pay homage to them while opening the door for a new era of laffs and continued LOL fun for our wrappers."

What we're still thinking about


That’s the year-over-year rise in the consumer price index – Wells Fargo economists called it “scorching” – for all goods during the 12 months ending in June, the largest in more than 40 years, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report Wednesday. Taking out food and fuel, the increase was 5.9%, the government said. While some retailers, including Target, are reporting bloated apparel inventories, prices in that category shot up 0.8% in June. 

Consumers have begun taking more aggressive steps, with GlobalData finding that more are buying fewer non-food items, hunting for bargains and trading down to cheaper brands. The implications for retail could get more serious if inflation hangs on much longer, according to GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders. While the situation is turning out to be more entrenched than many realized, there should be some easing soon, as early as next month, Wells Fargo said. 


Amazon has remained mum so far on what it took in during Prime Day this year, but $11.9 billion is what U.S. consumers spent online, there and at other retailers, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. That’s a healthy number – 8.5% higher than last year – but inflation affected how the event played out. Many shoppers were very practical this year, buying more household items and fewer discretionary goods, and opting for smaller purchases.

Still, the gains notched on both days of Prime Day signal good news for upcoming red-letter sales periods like back to school, according to Adobe Vice President Pat Brown. 

What we're watching

Now hiring: a new CEO

The last few weeks have brought turnover at the very top of some retail companies. Perhaps most surprising was Gap Inc., where CEO Sonia Syngal is on the way out after nearly two decades with the apparel company and following months of sagging sales and profits turning negative.

Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos is also leaving his post. In that case, Vasos is leaving behind a stable, growing business for retirement. Taking his place in November will be Chief Operations Officer Jeffery Owen, who, according to Telsey Advisory Group analysts, has probably been groomed for the role. 

With consumer demand slowing, will more CEOs leave for (or be shown) the exit door?


Retail Dive Staff, Khareem Sudlow