The Weekly Closeout: Target Launches Employee Diploma Program, REI Doubles Travel

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It’s been another week with a lot more retail information than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you might have missed over the week and what we’re still thinking about.

From Ikea’s Meatball Scented Candle to Foot Locker’s Double Acquisitions, here’s our close of the week.

What you might have missed

Target launches an education assistance service for its employees

Target announced wednesday that part-time and full-time employees based in the United States will have access to free diplomas starting this fall.

The retailer is partnering with Guild Education to provide access to more than 250 programs in more than 40 schools, colleges and universities, both online and in person. Target will fund degrees within the organized network by paying up to $ 10,000 per year for master’s programs and up to $ 5,250 for non-master’s degrees each year. The retailer will make direct payments to team members’ academic institutions and pay for textbooks and course fees.

The retailer is working to eliminate student debt from its employees by investing $ 200 million in the program, as part of its Target Forward strategy, over the next four years.

Another Amazon union vote?

A National Labor Relations Board official this week opened the door to an overhaul of the organizing effort at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, which failed in April. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union, which organized the warehouse workers, filed a complaint alleging that Amazon’s tactics in the run-up to the election, including the installation of a post office box in an area monitored by the company, constituted misconduct. “Following a hearing into the matter, the NLRB official, rejecting some of the union’s evidence but accepting much of it, recommended that elections to unionize be held again, according to a copy of the hearing report.The full NLRB board has yet to decide to order it.

In a statement sent by email, President of RWDSU Stuart Appelbaum welcomed the recommendation.

“As President Biden reminded us earlier this year, the question of whether or not to have a union is supposed to be the decision of the workers and not the employer’s decision, ”he said.AmazonThe behavior throughout the electoral process was despicable. Amazon cheated, they got caught and they are held responsible. “

In an emailed statement, Amazon said it would appeal. “Our employees had the chance to be heard in a noisy time when all kinds of voices weighed in the national debate, and in the end, they voted overwhelmingly in favor of a direct link with their managers and the company. the company also said.

REI expands its travel offer with Hipcamp

In an effort to expand REI’s travel offering, retailer Tuesday announces a multi-year partnership with Hipcamp, a short-term rental platform focused on the outside. Thanks to the agreement, REI members benefit from special rates on Hipcamp rentals and easier access to the reservation of “tent campsites, chalets, tree houses, motorhome stays, glamping sites and more ”. Companies are also looking for other ways to deepen their relationships in the coming years.

REI already operates in the travel industry through its REI Adventures Side, where REI Guides guide guests on camping and other trips, from weeklong adventures to day hikes. The company also offers equipment rental for customers who wish to test an activity or collect equipment for a specific trip. This partnership appears to be another step in REI’s journey to provide its members with a complete outdoor experience.

Amazon Expands ‘Faster Same Day Delivery’ to 6 More Cities

In order to reduce the time it takes to get goods into the hands of consumers, Amazon has expanded its “faster same day delivery” initiative. Senior members in Baltimore; Chicago; Detroit; Tampa, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Houston are eligible for items to be delivered in “as fast as five hours,” the company said on Wednesday, bringing the total number of regions in which the service is offered to 12. The service, launched last year, allows consumers to order from to 3 million items in categories such as baby, electronics and pets.

“The evolution of the same day delivery program is driven by our partnership with local communities and made possible by the people who live there,” the company said in a blog post. “In areas where we offer faster same-day delivery service, we’ve built all-new mini-distribution centers optimized for faster one-click delivery speeds. “

Retail therapy

Forever 21 partners with Juicy Couture

For those who want to relive an early 2000s sartorial fever dream, a new Forever 21 x Juicy Couture collaboration launched this week via the Forever 21 app. And honestly, there’s no judgment here because it was a amazing time in style where people wore dresses over jeans, sheer scarves in all weather, and Uggs with short skirts (because sometimes your feet freeze up while your legs just need to breathe). The collection hits stores nationwide on August 12, with coins available in XS through 2X and starting at $ 17.99. It promises to take you “back in time to the freshness of the year 2000, that is to say the days of velor tracksuits, scrunchies, glossy lips and flip phones,” according to one. company press release.

Forever 21 x Juicy Couture collection. Honestly, it’s pretty cool.

Courtesy of Forever 21

Ikea’s famous meatballs take on a new shape

When consumers think of Ikea, two things usually come to mind: kit furniture and, of course, its famous meatballs. While serving food in a furniture showroom might seem unusual, the way Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad put many years ago, “It’s hard to do business with someone on an empty stomach.”

We cannot argue with this.

But thanks to a new product created by the Swedish furniture retailer, consumers have the opportunity to experience its meatballs in a whole new way. To coincide with the 10th anniversary of its Ikea Family loyalty program, the retailer has created a contest that members can enter for a chance to win “Limited Edition Ikea Store in a Box or Huvudroll Meatball Scented Candle” . The draw opens on Friday and will run until August 22, according to the Ikea website.

What we still think about

$ 118 million

This is the amount of money that DTC retailer Brandless has raised in its last round of table. The company, which focuses on packaged consumer products, says the money will be used to acquire additional native digital brands to expand its portfolio. Launched in 2017, Brandless was struggling to retain customers when it closed in 2020. Less than six months after it closed, the company is back with new leadership, an improved capital structure and a different pricing model.

$ 1.1 billion

That’s all Foot Locker paid to acquire two sports retailers: WSS’s parent company, Eurostar, for $ 750 million and Japanese retailer Atmos’ parent company, Text Trading Company, for $ 360 million. The deals, which are expected to close in the third quarter, allow the retailer to gain a solid foothold in key markets in the United States and Japan.

What we watch

The first fund of True Beauty Ventures

At the end of last week, True Beauty Ventures raised an initial fund of over $ 42 million to create its “Category Leaders Curation” in the beauty and wellness space. Its six investments so far include DTC CBD Feals brand, privacy brand Maude, hair care brands K18 Hair and Crown Affair, clean skin care brand Kinship, and hair accessories brand. Aquis. An investment in a clean makeup brand is coming.

Fund executives Rich Gersten and Cristina Nuñez both have backgrounds at L Catterton and Tengram Capital and boast “30 combined years of investing and exploiting institutional beauty”. They have a strong focus on the beauty and personal care industry and also attempt to provide more equitable access to capital through the fund.

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