The Weekly Consensus

CGBS Presenter Profiles: EVEREVE and Fair Harbor

Paul Alexander

We are excitedly counting down the weeks until the return of the Consensus Great Brands Show (CGBS), which will take place September 13th, at the New York Times Center in Manhattan (CGBS Website). CGBS is returning for the 10th time, after a pause for COVID, and we are bringing the show back bigger and better than ever. With the date of the CGBS approaching, we are using this space each week to profile different companies and speakers that will be taking the stage in September. We hope our weekly previews underscore our growing anticipation for this year’s show and give you a head start on learning about these dynamic brands and entrepreneurs.


EVEREVE is a fast-growing women’s fashion and clothing destination. Founded in 2004 by husband-and-wife team Mike and Megan Tamte, EVEREVE has grown from its first store in Edina, MN, to over 100 stores and an ecommerce website. The company curates top women’s contemporary brands, such as AG and Paige denim and tops from Rails and Faherty, and sells its own EVEREVE line, which accounts for over 20% of the merchandise in the store.

EVEREVE was conceived of after a bad shopping and fitting experience in a department store prompted Megan to begin planning her own boutique, which she wanted to be welcoming, warm, and inspiring. As the company says, the heart of EVEREVE is its values and commitment to creating authentic relationships with its customers.

In addition to ensuring that the in-store experience helps women to look and feel their best, EVEREVE also connects with and helps customers through its subscription stylist service Trendsend, and EVEREVE TV, weekly online video content covering the latest trends and styling tips.

Help us welcome EVEREVE to CGBS, and check out the company’s website before the show:

Fair Harbor

Growing up spending summers in the Fair Harbor beach community of Long Island, New York, siblings Caroline and Jake Danehy were seemingly always at the beach and in the water, swimming, surfing, and fishing. They loved the beach and the ocean, but over time, were alarmed to see increasing amounts of plastic trash washing up on the beach. In 2014, the pair decided to do something to mitigate oceanic plastic waste, and conceptualized a pair of board shorts made from fabric using post-consumer plastic bottles. They took their idea and swimwear to a pitch competition at Colgate University and won $20,000, and from there, the Fair Harbor brand was born.

The board shorts, which use a boxer brief-like liner instead of mesh to prevent chafing, became the foundation of the Fair Harbor brand. Today, however, the product assortment has expanded to include denim, tees, polos, accessories and other categories across men’s, women’s, and kids’, all offered with a casual, comfortable, coastal aesthetic and appeal.

However, Fair Harbor has never lost sight of its sustainability mission – the company reports that its operations have resulted in the recycling of 32.7 million plastic bottles. And, Fair Harbor’s conscientious sourcing extends beyond environmental sustainability to consider the human impact of apparel production as well. The company only produces clothing at factories with ethical fair labor practices, and it visits its production partners frequently.

Fair Harbor has grown to offer its line through its own website, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, specialty stores and websites, and flagship stores in Soho and Palm Beach Gardens. Please check them out ahead of the CGBS at

Headlines of the Week

Home Depot sales fall as consumers put off big-ticket purchases

The Home Depot topped second-quarter Street estimates even as its earnings and revenue fell amid a pullback in big-ticket spending. The home improvement giant reported net income of $ $4.659 billion, or $4.65 per share, in the quarter ended July 30, down from $5.173 billion, or $5.05 per share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had been expecting earnings per share of $4.45. Sales fell 2% to $42.916 billion from $43.792 billion a year ago, topping estimates of $42.193 billion. Same-store sales fell for the third consecutive month, decreasing 2% from the year-ago quarter. The average ticket was nearly flat, at $90.07. Sales per retail square foot were $684.65 versus $700.62 in the same quarter last year. “We were pleased with our performance in the second quarter,” said Ted Decker, chair, president and CEO. “While there was strength in categories associated with smaller projects, we did see continued pressure in certain big-ticket, discretionary categories. We remain very positive on the medium-to-long term outlook for home improvement and our ability to grow share in a large and fragmented market.”

Walmart raises guidance after solid Q2

E-commerce at Walmart was up 24% in the second quarter. The retailer also reported global revenue was $161.6 billion, a 5.7% rise year over year, the company announced in an earnings announcement. Comparable sales for Walmart in the U.S. were up 6.4% for the quarter, while net sales were up 5.4% to $110.9 billion and operating income rose 6.7% to $7.3 billion. Walmart said it sees strength across segments in its omnichannel model and that consumers continue to respond to economic pressures by spending on essentials versus discretionary items. “We see people across income cohorts come to us more frequently, looking to save money on everyday needs,” CEO Doug McMillon said.



Apparel & Footwear

Revolve Execs Outline Plans to Slash 60% Return Rate

The return rate for Revolve is now 60 percent, chief financial officer Jesse Timmermans told investors in a recent earnings call. But the e-commerce fashion retailer believes it can tackle the problem and cut fulfillment costs. The J.Lo partner is consolidating return shipments coming back from Canada to the U.S. And separately, in the U.K., Revolve recently started holding some product returns for local re-fulfillment without shipping the products all the way back to the U.S., which once was the standard approach. This initiative both reduces shipping costs and provides even faster service for customers in the region, according to Mike Karanikolas, co-founder and co-CEO of Revolve. Karanikolas said the company is actively evaluating potential tech solutions to improve the return rate. The co-CEO also alluded to a possible returns policy change “for a small subset of our customers” but didn’t give any details.

Destination XL Extends Contract With CEO Harvey Kanter

Harvey Kanter will remain at the helm of Destination XL Group for another two years. The president and chief executive officer of the Canton, Massachusetts-based men’s big and tall retailer on Tuesday entered into an amended employment agreement that will extend his tenure until mid-August of 2026. Kanter has held the position since April 1, 2019, and also serves on the company’s board of directors. In the first quarter, the company reported its ninth consecutive quarter of comparable-store sales growth. In the period, comps inched up 0.6 percent over the first fiscal quarter of 2022. Net income, however, fell to $7 million from $13.4 million per diluted share and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization dropped to $12.6 million from $17.3 million in the prior year. Total sales were $125.4 million, as compared to $127.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2022. At the time of the reporting in May, Kanter attributed the challenging quarter to “broader macro headwinds that have impacted consumer spending.”



Athletic & Sporting Goods

Sacks Parente Golf Undergoes IPO

Sacks Parente Golf, Inc., a maker of putting instruments, golf shafts, golf grips, and other golf-related products, raised $12.8 million by selling 3.2 million shares in an initial public offering.  The shares were priced on August 15 at $4.00 per share, reaching the low end of a proposed range between $4 to $5.  Based in Camarillo, CA, Sacks Parente Golf was founded by Richard Parente, Steve Sacks, Tim Triplett, and Akinobu Yorihiro.  Parente, in 1980, co-founded Hickory Stick, which was renamed Callaway Golf in 1982, and was the first president of Callaway. In 1993, Parente began a venture as co-owner and president of Goldwin Golf. He also founded Golf Laboratories, an independent testing company that uses robotics for research and development.

Traffic Report Sees Dick’s and Hibbett Well Positioned for BTS

With Dick’s Sporting Goods releasing second quarter earnings next week and Hibbett Sports usually close behind in timing of their release, and back-to-school shopping in full swing in the market, a new report from looks to be rather timely.  The report said that compared to 2022, foot traffic to Dick’s continues to be impeded by the effects of inflation. But growing consumer confidence and signs that inflation may be slowing appear to be having an impact on visitors to the retailer. At the end of H1 in June 2023, year-over-year (YoY) visit gaps to Dick’s tightened to just 6.1 percent down – a significant improvement from the end of calendar Q1 in March (-10.9 percent). Placer said Dick’s has also continued to emphasize experiential and outdoor-focused outlets that meet the demand for outdoor travel and retail entertainment, which could help the company narrow its visit gap even further as the economic outlook brightens.

Cosmetics & Pharmacy

American Exchange Group Boosts Beauty and Personal Care Business with HatchCollective Acquisition

American Exchange Group, a specialist in accessories design, licensing and manufacturing, has acquired HatchCollective, home to brands such as NatureWell, Found Active, Orlando Pita Play, TXTUR and Paint & Petals. The move represents a significant boost to the beauty and personal care business of American Exchange Group. HatchCollective has subsequently been named AX Beauty Brands; its brands will continue as before, distributing at retailers such as Dillard’s, Macy’s, Amazon, Target, CVS and Walmart. AX Beauty Brands will also continue to sell private label brands sold at retailers like Trader Joe’s and Sam’s Club.

Brazil’s Natura Sees Cash Boost Later in Year Following Q2 Loss

Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura & Co expects its accounts to improve in the second half of the year after a soft start to 2023, executives said, with a cash boost scheduled from the sale of its Aesop brand and strategic changes. Natura posted a net loss of 732 million reais, narrowing its year-ago loss but the company said its still faces “high financial expenses.” It added this would be addressed upon closing its sale of Australian luxury brand Aesop scheduled for the third quarter, having agreed to a $2.53 billion deal in April with French cosmetics group L’Oréal.

L’Occitane confirms owner contemplating possible deal to take it private

Hong Kong-listed L’Occitane International SA (0973.HK) confirmed that its controlling shareholder is contemplating a potential deal to take the skincare company private, but said no definitive agreement has gone through in this regard. The Luxembourg- and Geneva-headquartered firm, however, said the speculated price contained in the media reports of about HK$35 for each L’Occitane share is “false and without basis”. The company said if a deal were to go through, the potential offer price would be no less than HK$26.00 per share.

Grove Collaborative co-founder out as CEO

Grove Collaborative announced co-founder Stuart Landesberg will step down from the CEO position. Succeeding Landesberg as CEO is Jeff Yurcisin, the former chief executive officer at Zulily and Shopbop. Yurcisin also joined Grove’s board of directors. Landesberg will transition to the executive chairman role on the company’s board. He will continue to oversee strategy, capital markets and corporate development.


Discounters & Department Stores

Target slashes full-year earnings forecast as retailer struggles to win over thrifty shoppers

Target missed quarterly sales expectations and slashed its full-year forecast, as it again had trouble convincing shoppers to buy more than necessities. The big-box retailer cut both its full-year sales and profit expectations. Target offered a gloomier outlook even as some top economists have scrapped calls for a recession and government data shows signs inflation is cooling. The company said it now expects comparable sales to decline by about mid single digits for the full fiscal year and earnings per share to range from $7 to $8. It previously anticipated comparable sales would range from a low single-digit decline to a low single-digit increase, and earnings per share would come in between $7.75 and $8.75.

Shoppers are spending big at T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods as Target sales slide

Cash-strapped consumers may be pulling back on discretionary purchases at Target, but they’re spending big on name brands and home goods at off-price TJX Cos. The discounter raised its full-year outlook after posting a 7.7% year-over-year sales jump and a 23% rise in profits. It cited high customer traffic and a windfall of premium merchandise that it secured from higher-end retailers eager to offload their bloated inventories. The company’s reported net income for the three-month period that ended July 29 was $989 million, or 85 cents per share, compared with $810 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales climbed to $12.76 billion, up 7.7% from $11.84 billion a year earlier.

Macy’s names chief customer and digital officer

Macy’s announced that Massimo Magni has been named the company’s chief customer and digital officer. Magni will report to CEO-elect Tony Spring. Magni will guide the vision and growth of Macy’s digital business and customer-centric strategy while leveraging data and analytics. This includes overseeing the company’s e-commerce sites, mobile apps, marketplace, loyalty and gift registry programs. Magni worked with McKinsey & Company for two decades, most recently as a senior partner co-leading McKinsey’s Next Commerce and the global leader of its Consumer Growth Practices.

Neiman Marcus cuts corporate staff to boost cross-functional collaboration

Neiman Marcus Group has eliminated an unspecified number of corporate roles, which affects less than 1% of its workforce, the department store company said by email. A spokesperson declined to say how many people are affected. The layoffs are part of a strategic realignment announced in February, the company also said. At that time about 500 people, or about 5% of its workforce, lost their jobs. The latest move boosts “cross functional collaboration,” which created the redundancies, according to the company’s statement.



Emerging Consumer Companies

Native Ped Continues to Reinforce Commitment to Pet Health; Announces $11 million Series B

Since launching in 2017, Native Pet, a leading clean label ingredient pet supplement company, has been committed to helping four-legged friends live happier, healthier lives. That mission has been bolstered considerably with the closing of $11 million in Series B funding led by CAVU Consumer Partners. It’s the latest milestone in Native Pet’s rapid growth as the leader in the fast-evolving pet supplement category. “As of 2023, 50% of U.S. households have a dog* and that number continues to rapidly grow.” said Dan Schaefer, CEO and Co-Founder of Native Pet. “Consumer feeding habits are evolving. More than ever, the consumer is adding supplements to their dog’s bowl to customize their diet and use it as an opportunity to drive health outcomes.” With this funding, Native Pet will accelerate its continued growth through category innovations and retail expansion. Native Pet’s strategy remains simple: invent functional products that add targeted nutrition to our pets’ daily routine with effective results, clean ingredients and truly great taste.


The ‘internet’s favorite underwear’ goes mainstream: Gen Z brand Parade agrees to be bought

Privately owned Ariela & Associates International has agreed to buy Parade, the VC-backed intimates startup that created “the internet’s favorite underwear,” CNBC has learned. The deal brings Parade’s relevance, digital savviness and loyal customer base to Ariela, a Fruit of the Loom licensee that’s been a longtime player and manufacturer in the intimates space. In turn, it offers the startup its infrastructure, know-how and the ability to scale as some digitally-native companies look for an exit amid a tough funding environment. ″[It] does fit with the whole ‘DTC winter’ thing. As interest rates rose, VC money for a lot of startups dried up,” Nikki Baird, a longtime retail analyst and current vice president of strategy at retail technology company Aptos, said about the deal. “Consolidation is the big opportunity, especially for big, traditional brands to acquire more digitally savvy upstarts. This fits right into that pattern.”  Parade was last valued at $200 million in August 2022. The price of the deal and Parade’s current valuation wasn’t disclosed.


Robomart raises $2 million for self-driving store-hailing service
Robomart, a self-driving store startup, is introducing the concept of “store-hailing” to bring convenience to customers. The company aims to address the drawbacks of online shopping, such as navigation difficulties and inaccurate stock information. Robomart’s solution involves a small, self-driving vehicle that brings a selection of products directly to consumers. The Los Angeles-based firm has secured $2 million in seed funding, bringing its total funding to $3.4 million. Investors include Wasabi Ventures, SOSV/HAX, Hustle Fund, and W Ventures. Alongside the funding announcement, Robomart has unveiled its new product, the Haven, which complements its existing Oasis model. The Haven offers retailers customized branding options and can accommodate around 300 SKUs. CEO Ali Ahmed explains that the Haven allows supermarkets to expand their retail footprint at a lower cost, providing consumers with an in-person shopping experience for their daily essentials. The Oasis model, primarily targeted at restaurants, has already gained traction with around 100 contracted vehicles. The Haven is set to start deliveries in 2025 and will focus on supermarkets and convenience stores.



Food & Beverage

Kraft Heinz appoints head of North American operations as CEO

Kraft Heinz Company’s Carlos Abrams-Rivera will take over as chief executive officer starting January 1, 2024 after a vote from its board, the company announced. Miguel Patricio, who has served in the position since 2019, will transition to the role of non-executive chair of the company’s board.  Abrams-Rivera, who previously worked at Campbell Soup as the head of its snacks division, has served as the president of Kraft Heinz’s North American operations since 2020.  Under the leadership of Patricio, Kraft Heinz expanded its portfolio through M&A and new product launches, as it navigated supply and demand volatility amid high inflation.

Laird: “Unsteady” Progress in Turnaround, Q2 Net Loss at $3.5M

Laird Superfood reported a net loss of $3.5 million during its second quarter as it continues its long-term turnaround effort, a process CEO Jason Vieth described to investors as “by nature an unsteady progression.”  The Yakima, Washington-based plant-based food and powdered drink company reported net sales of $7.7 million for the quarter ending June 30, down from $8.7 million the year prior. The decline was heavily impacted by a 20.1% year-over-year drop in ecommerce sales, which accounted for 54% of total net sales in the quarter.  Meanwhile, wholesale revenue (down 2.6% year-over-year) made up 46% of net sales, driven by distribution gains in the retail channel, pricing increases, as well as velocity improvements behind new packaging and a re-branding campaign, launched earlier this year.

Vivici closes seed funding round

Vivici BV has closed a seed funding round to supply animal-free dairy proteins formulated with precision fermentation to the market. Details of the funding round were not available.  The funding round had support from DSM-Firmenich Venturing and Fonterra.   Vivici is a business-to-business ingredients company that supplies food and beverage brands with animal-free dairy proteins, formulated with precision fermentation.



Grocery & Restaurants

Aldi acquires Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarket stores

Aldi expansion has reached historical heights, as the company announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement the acquire Southeastern Grocers’ Winn-Dixie and Harvey’s Supermarket stores — a total of 400 locations across five states. “The time was right to build on our growth momentum and help residents in the Southeast save on their grocery bills. The transaction supports our long-term growth strategy across the United States,” said Aldi CEO Jason Hart. “Like ALDI, Winn-Dixie and Harvey’s Supermarket have long histories and many loyal customers in the Southeast and we look forward to serving them in the years to come.” Aldi now plans on having 2,400 stores by the end of the year, and the newly acquired Winn-Dixie and Harvey’s Supermarkets locations expands Aldi’s footprint in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Fogo de Chão acquired by Bain Capital Private Equity

Rhône Capital announced Tuesday that the private equity group sold Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chão to Bain Capital Private Equity for an undisclosed amount after five years of ownership. The churrasco chain is now in its third year of 15% annual growth, and CEO Barry McGowan will stay on to helm the brand as Fogo de Chão looks to continue growing and expanding globally under new ownership. “Over the past several years, we made significant progress enhancing our unique offering and ability to bring the very best in experiential dining to more guests than ever before,” McGowan said in a statement. “We thank the Rhône team for their partnership during a critical and successful period in our history. Bain Capital shares our vision, and we are excited to leverage their extensive experience investing in and supporting the global growth of restaurant businesses. We are excited by this next chapter and believe there is tremendous upside in our future as we continue to execute against our growth plans with Bain Capital.”

Home & Road

Sleep Country Canada net income slides while sales drop in Q2

Sleep Country Canada Holdings posted net income of C$12.7 million in the second quarter ended June 30, a 44% from C$22.7 million in the same quarter last year. Sales for the 265-store retailer were down 4.6% from C$227.6 million in the prior-year quarter to C$217.2 million. Diluted shares per earning were 36 cents, down from 61 cents in the second quarter last year. Same-store sales dropped 10.9% compared with the same quarter last year. Stewart Schaefer attributed the downturn to an ongoing slowdown of consumer spending on large discretionary products that started in the second half of last year. “While Canadians adapt to an environment of higher interest rates and inflation, we feel consumer spending is still healthy,” he said. “While our customers have deferred their large ticketed purchases towards travel and leisure, we are cautiously optimistic that this shift is temporary.”

How did furniture and home furnishings sales fare in DOC’s July estimates?

Furniture and home furnishings sales in July were nearly off by two points compared with the pace set last year, according to the latest advance monthly estimates from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The estimates say the category picked up an adjusted $11.039 billion in sales in July, down 1.8% from July 2022’s $11.781 billion. Compared with June, the decline is sharper, as furniture and home furnishings sales fell 6.3% from $11.238 billion last month. Through the first seven months of 2023, furniture and home furnishings sales account for $77.532 billion, down 3.8% vs. the same seven months of 2022. The overall retail snapshot for July came in at an adjusted $696.354 billion, up 3.2% vs. July 2022’s $674.932 billion and 0.7% compared with June’s $691.312 billion. Year-over-year, only gas stations (down 20.8%) showed more of a decline than furniture and home furnishings.

Jewelry & Luxury

Pandora to debut 3 lab-grown diamond jewelry collections

Pandora is launching three new jewelry collections of lab-grown diamonds: Pandora Nova, Pandora Era and Pandora Talisman, the jewelry brand announced. The brand is introducing the new collections across more than 700 stores and online in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia on Aug. 31. Select collections will be available in stores in Mexico and Brazil starting in Oct. and in other markets in early 2024, per the press release. In its second quarterly earnings also released, the company reported that its revenue grew to 5.89 billion Danish kroner (about $864 million). Their organic revenue growth saw a 5% bump.

Pandora’s US Sales Improve in Q2

Mother’s Day and the end-of-season sale helped boost Pandora’s second-quarter performance in the United States, though sales are still ringing in below 2022 levels. The Copenhagen, Denmark-based jewelry company reported its results for the second quarter. In the U.S., Pandora’s largest market, sales were down 5 percent on a like-for-like basis to 3.49 billion Danish kroner ($500.3 million)—an improvement over Q1’s 7 percent decline—while organic revenue growth was flat. The company said foot traffic picked up in the second quarter and in-store conversion rates were strong.


Office & Leisure

Trendy luggage brand Away quietly laid off chief commercial officer, 21 others

Away, a direct-to-consumer luggage brand that has raised more than $200 million in venture capital, quietly laid off 22 employees in May, including its chief commercial officer, according to two people familiar with the layoffs. The staff cuts, which amounted to a roughly 8% reduction in Away’s corporate workforce, haven’t been previously reported. Even before the current downturn in the venture-backed ecosystem, the so-called DTC segment was struggling. The boom-era mindset is over. “Profitability is the new growth in this market,” said Jason Fiedler, a DTC investor and managing partner at Left Lane Capital. Away’s last known funding came in 2020 when it secured between $30 million and $40 million, Axios reported. That round was structured as a convertible note that contained a valuation cap at a discount to its Series D in 2019, which brought in $100 million at a $1.4 billion valuation. In that blockbuster Series D, led by Wellington Management, the company charted a brick-and-mortar expansion, with plans to reach 50 store locations over the next three years. But that pace has slowed: In April, Away opened its 14th store—its first new location since 2021—in San Jose.

Michaels refreshes brand identity

Craft retailer Michaels announced the launch of a refreshed brand identity. It’s centered around the new tagline “Everything to Create Anything” and positions Michaels as a creative partner that helps people turn ideas into tangible projects. The revamped branding is also supported by three new ad spots highlighting Michaels’ value proposition of inspiration, products and guidance for customers who like to create. “Our customers’ creativity is the driving force of the Michaels brand, and it’s an honor to play a special role in helping them bring their ideas and projects to life,” Mandy Rassi, Michaels’ chief marketing officer, said in a statement. This year is Michaels’ 50th anniversary. Michaels said the brand revamp will encompass every customer touchpoint — video, digital marketing, store signage and the online experience. The refreshed brand roll-out has already begun in stores and online at its U.S. and Canadian websites. The initiative is slated to continue over the coming weeks at the Texas-based company’s nearly 1,300 stores in 49 states and Canada.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment cuts costs a year after buying Redbox

A year after Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSSE) purchased Redbox for $375 million, the company continues to be hit by losses and looks to reduce costs across all aspects of its business. CSSE reported its second-quarter 2023 earnings this week, which showed a net loss of $43.7 million — more than double the $20.8 million it lost in the year-ago period. However, the company also reported $79.9 million in revenue, up from $37.6 million in the second quarter of 2022. Still, total revenue failed to live up to Wall Street expectations. The poor results were in large part thanks to the 2022 acquisition of Redbox for $50 million in stock and the assumption of $325 million in debt. To pay down its debt, CSSE says it wants to cut down on operating expenses, hold off on content acquisition deals, and focus on other revenue streams like marketing Redbox kiosk screen time to third-party advertisers. CSSE announced during the earnings call that it is shutting down the Seattle-based office, and those employees will work remotely. In January, the company reduced its workforce by 4%. Additionally, CSSE plans to assemble a strategic review committee in the coming weeks to discuss an array of other options. Most notably, CEO Bill Rouhana told Media Play News that the company is considering a potential sale or partnership but declined to elaborate.

Technology & Internet

Amazon adds a new fee for sellers who ship their own packages

Amazon is adding a new charge for third-party sellers who ship their own products instead of paying for the company’s fulfillment services. Beginning Oct. 1, members of Amazon’s Seller Fulfilled Prime program will pay the company a 2% fee on each product sold, according to a notice sent to merchants last week, which was viewed by CNBC. Previously, there was no such fee for sellers. “We’re updating our requirements for Seller Fulfilled Prime to ensure that it provides customers a great and consistent Prime experience,” the notice states. The SFP program, launched in 2015, allows third-party merchants to sell their products with the Prime badge without paying for Amazon’s fulfillment services, known as Fulfillment By Amazon. The SFP program hasn’t attracted as many users as FBA has, given that sellers are expected to meet the company’s Prime delivery standards, such as speedy shipping and weekend service. In June, Amazon reopened sign-ups for the invite-only program, after it suspended enrollment in SFP in 2019.


RadioShack under new ownership again

A group that first ran a RadioShack franchise in El Salvador in 1998 now owns a majority stake in the brand. Unicomer Group has acquired its intellectual property and domains in about 70 countries, including the U.S. and Canada, Europe and China, for an undisclosed amount. Previously, in 2015, Unicomer had acquired RadioShack’s brands, intellectual property and existing franchise agreements for Central America, South America and the Caribbean, according to a company press release. It’s unclear whether Retail Ecommerce Ventures, which acquired RadioShack’s IP in late 2020, retains a stake. Last year REV licensed the brand for a cryptocurrency venture dubbed RadioShack Swap, a separate company from RadioShack.


Finance & Economy

Retail sales increased 0.7% in July, better than expected as consumer spending is holding up

Consumer spending held up well in July as inflation slowed, with retail sales turning in a stronger-than-expected showing for the month, the Commerce Department reported.  The advanced retail sales report showed a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.7% for the month, better than the 0.4% Dow Jones estimate. Excluding autos, sales rose a robust 1%, also against a 0.4% forecast. Both readings were the best monthly gains since January.  July’s numbers were boosted by a 1.9% jump in spending at online retailers, while sporting goods and related stores increased 1.5% and food service and drinking places rose 1.4%.

Weekly mortgage demand drops again, as interest rates match a 22-year high

Mortgage rates rose for the third straight week last week, matching a 22-year high. As a result, mortgage demand dropped as well.  Total mortgage application volume was 29% lower than the same week one year ago, according to the Mortgage Banker’s Association’s seasonally adjusted index.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) increased to 7.16% from 7.09%, with points decreasing to 0.68 from 0.70 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. That was the third straight weekly increase and the highest level since October 2022, which also matches a high level seen in 2001.