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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On February 13, 2019, REI announced that President and CEO Jerry Stritzke has resigned and will leave the company on March 15. The move follows an investigation "into the facts and circumstances surrounding a personal and consensual relationship between the REI CEO and the leader of another organization in the outdoor industry," according to a company press release. According to the company's statement, the relationship was not properly disclosed, which is the reason for Stritzke's resignation. The company was also quick to note, however, that the external law firm hired for the investigation found no financial misconduct between the two companies. REI's board also said it was "otherwise satisfied" that its expectations of how the organizations work together have been met. Stritzke, who has served as REI's president and CEO since 2013, will be succeeded by current COO Eric Artz in the interim as the company searches for a permanent replacement.
    • On February 13, 2019, Levi Strauss & Co. announced it has filed for a proposed initial public offering. The company intends to list its Class A common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "LEVI," according to a company press release. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Securities are serving as lead joint book-running managers for the offering, and BofA Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Evercore Group will serve as book-running managers, the company said. The news does not come as a surprise. Sources familiar with the matter told CNBC in November 2018 that the company was looking to raise between $600 million and $800 million in an IPO and was eyeing the first quarter of 2019 to go public.
    • On February 12, 2019, it was reported, Payless is close to another Chapter 11 filing and has plans to shutter most or even all stores in North America, Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources. Payless declined to comment to Bloomberg and didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment.
    • On February 11, 2019, Walmart unveiled MoDRN, an online-exclusive furniture brand, which includes three collections: Retro Glam, Refined Industrial and Scandinavian Minimal. The brand includes nearly 650 items priced from $20 to $899, and is available on Walmart.com, Jet.com and Hayneedle.com. The company said new furniture and decor items will be released seasonally, according to a company blog post. The brand includes items such as sofas, beds, barware, and indoor and outdoor dining sets. The launch comes nearly a year after Walmart.com's revamp of its home section, which Anthony Soohoo, senior vice president and group general manager of Home and Walmart U.S. eCommerce, says resulted in a 35% boost in visits to that section of its website.