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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On February 22, 2018, Walmart unveiled plans for a revamped home page that will begin in coming weeks, with a new effort in furniture and home design arriving first, according to a company blog post from Anthony Soohoo, Walmart U.S. e-commerce SVP and Group General Manager of Home. The online furniture pages include a "home destination" with curated collections guided by design trends and in-house stylists; nine shop-by-style options, including modern, mid-century, traditional, glam, industrial, bohemian, farmhouse, transitional and Scandinavian; and an editorial-style imagery and design tips enabling discovery of various styles and complete looks, Soohoo wrote. Over the past year, Walmart has nearly doubled its home assortment, with a variety of new furniture and home decor items, like a Scandinavian line of kids furniture and a line of modern furniture, he also noted
    • On February 22, 2018, it was reported, last year Toys R Us faced arguably the most important holiday season of its life. The holidays are perennially a crucial time for the retailer, accounting for nearly half its revenue, but with its ill-timed bankruptcy just ahead of the season the company needed the cash more than ever. And it needed the affirmation that it had a viable future as the last remaining national toy seller. It needed a win, in other words. But, by several accounts, its sales fell dramatically during the quarter. Now, after already announcing 180 stores were slated to shutter, the company could close another 200, according to a Wednesday Wall Street Journal report. Taken with the announced store liquidations, the closures could represent nearly 45% of Toys R Us' domestic footprint. The Journal also reported that Toys R Us could lay off a "significant portion" of its corporate staff.
    • On February 20, 2018, Albertsons announced it will acquire more than 2,500 Rite Aid stores for an undisclosed amount, creating a company with estimated revenues of $83 billion, according to a news release. The remainder of Rite Aid's stores, around 2,000 locations, will be sold to Walgreens Boots Alliance under an agreement reached with federal regulators, which blocked a full merger of the two companies back in 2015. The combined Albertsons and Rite Aid company (which will be renamed, according to the Wall Street Journal) will operate around 4,900 stores and 4,300 pharmacies, along with 320 clinics. Albertsons' pharmacies will be rebranded under the Rite Aid name. John Standley, Rite Aid's CEO, will serve as chief executive of the new company while Bob Miller, Albertsons' current CEO, will be chairman. Under the cash-and-stock deal, Albertsons investors will own around 71% of the company's stock, while Rite Aid shareholders will own the rest.
    • On February 20, 2018, it was reported, Jeff Kirwan, president and CEO of Gap brand, will leave the company. Kirwan had led Gap's Chinese expansion and replaced Stephen Sunnucks in 2014 to head the Gap brand, around when Art Peck took over as CEO from Glenn Murphy. (Murphy is now at Lululemon and recently took on an expanded role there as executive chairman after the ouster in recent weeks of CEO Laurent Potdevin.) While a search is underway for Kirwan's replacement, Gap Inc. Executive Vice President of Global Talent and Sustainability Brent Hyder will oversee the brand, the company said in a press release. Hyder was previously the brand's chief operating officer and also served as vice president and general manager of Gap Japan K.K., leading all aspects of Gap Inc.'s business in Japan, according to the release