This is Shoshy Ciment, welcoming you back to another edition of Insider Retail, formerly known as The Drive Thru! If you’re confused, here’s the TLDR: New name, same gist. That is, Kate Taylor and I are still here to bring you a weekly round-up of all things restaurants and retail every Friday. To get us in your inbox, all you have to do is subscribe, which you can do here.
Now that we’ve settled administrative matters, onto the news of the week.
Walmart and Target reported Q2 earnings this week. Spoiler alert: they blew it out of the park.
Target posted its highest comparable sales growth in history, with a 195% annual increase in digital sales. Walmart hit a 97% annual growth in e-commerce sales and reported a dramatic change in shopping habits, with consumers making fewer trips but spending 27% more on average when shopping.
Is this too good to be true? Company leadership was hesitant to claim an absolute victory. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and Target CEO Brian Cornell both warned of “uncertainty,” even in the wake of such a successful quarter.
The other side of the coin: 11 major retailers like Tailored Brands and JCPenney have filed for bankruptcy this year and chain restaurants including Pizza Hut and Starbucks are permanently closing over 1800 total locations.
Bethany and Hillary dig into the work environment at Urbn, a company whose brands include Urban Outfitters, Free People, and Anthropologie
The company has had issues in the past, from allegations of racial profiling to selling offensive merchandise. Bethany and Hillary spoke with more than a dozen former Urbn employees about their experience at the company, many of whom mentioned feeling like they had been treated unfairly.
“We strongly believe that every customer, partner, vendor, employee, and associate should feel welcomed and respected when they walk through our doors, though it is clear that there is still work for us to do to make that a reality,” an Urbn spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
Read the entire bombshell investigation here.
Catherine and I asked seven top venture-capital investors which retail startups they think will take off in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. We asked each VC to pick two companies, including one they weren’t invested in.
Overall, the startups that made the list occupy a niche in the pandemic-influenced market and exhibit strong online presences, superior delivery capabilities, and a compelling product offering in a high-demand market, such as online grocery or skincare.
Read the full list of top retail startups set to soar in 2020 here.
New menu and snacking items to watch out for:
Everything else to know: