The Weekly Consensus

Peloton and lululemon Partner, Swim Their Own Lanes

Mike O'Hara

Collaborations are nothing new in the world of consumer products. In 2021, innovative ice cream brand (and 2019 presenter at the Consensus Great Brands Show) Van Leeuwen teamed up with Kraft to develop and market the shockingly successful Kraft Macaroni & Cheese French ice cream.  In 2017, luxury stalwart Louis Vuitton’s profit skyrocketed on the backs of an unexpected collaboration with down-and-dirty streetwear brand Supreme. In 2019, Forever XXI somehow figured out how to turn Cheetos into a hot fashion brand. On the back of a Summer 2023 hit movie, Mattel is teaming Barbie up with everyone from Alex + Ani to Crocs to MeUndies to Canada Pooch.  And, of course, who could forget 2022’s TOUR360 22 – adidas’s waffle-textured athletic shoe in an “off-white batter-like colorway” made in collaboration with Waffle House. Most of these collaborations are short-lived efforts intended to cross-pollinate customer files and give fans something fun and collectible (or an investment to hock on eBay). But not so for the recent announcement of the partnership between lululemon and Peloton, two publicly traded giants of the fitness world.

On September 23, 2023, the brands jointly announced a five-year partnership “through which Peloton will become the exclusive digital fitness content provider for lululemon, and lululemon will become the primary athletic apparel partner to Peloton.”  This deal is not only a collaboration, but also an about-face for both brands. Peloton aggressively ramped up its apparel offering under the leadership of Jill Foley, the wife of founder and former CEO, John Foley, until both Foleys left the Company in 2022.  CNBC reported that Peloton apparel accounted for $100 million in sales 2021 and $150 million in 2022. During this run, Peloton brought apparel in-house, jettisoning vendor relationships with the likes of Nike and lululemon.  But, in November 2021, Peloton was sued for patent infringement by a past and future friend: lululemon. In this litigation, lululemon claimed Peloton’s apparel program lacked any innovation and merely stole lululemon’s designs making only non-substantive changes. In September 2022 – one year before the announcement of the five-year collaboration — the parties settled their legal dispute on undisclosed terms.

Meanwhile, in June 2020, lululemon acquired Peloton competitor Mirror from founder Brynn Putnam and her investors, including L Catterton, for $500 million.  At the time of acquisition, CEO Calvin McDonald said, “This isn’t just about getting guests to buy apparel. This is about strengthening our community and our loyalty and our relationship with our guests and memberships, and it’s going to be its own revenue stream model, which we’re excited about.”  But, by March of 2023, Yahoo! Finance reported that “lululemon [had] burned roughly $500 million in shareholder capital via the ill-timed purchase of the connected-fitness platform Mirror.” Indeed, in its March 2023 earnings release, lululemon announced a $442.7 million post-tax impairment charge taken in respect of Mirror.

By September 2023, it had apparently become clear to their respective leaderships that Peloton is not a great apparel company and lululemon is not a great connected home fitness business. The good news for both is that they know people who are, and, as they say, it is sometimes good to have a short memory in business. Going forward, Peloton classes will show up on Mirror hardware and through lululemon’s apps, but lululemon will cease creating original content. lululemon will also stop selling new Mirror hardware at year’s end, but it will continue to service currently owned units. lululemon will go back to making apparel for Peloton, and Peloton will exit the high margin, but operationally complex business of athletic and athleisure apparel. Both brands are back to doing what they do best, and partnering with best-in-class players in categories where they are not expert.

Headline of the Week

Microsoft completes Activision Blizzard acquisition, Call of Duty now part of Xbox

Microsoft has finalized its $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, the publisher of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo. The acquisition required 20 months of battles with regulators in the UK and US, but Microsoft has closed its Activision Blizzard deal after defeating the Federal Trade Commission in a US federal court and restructuring the deal to appease the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK. The deal is Microsoft’s largest acquisition ever, far in excess of the $26 billion Microsoft paid to acquire LinkedIn in 2016 and the $7.5 billion it paid to acquire Bethesda in 2021. This is Microsoft’s biggest-ever push into gaming, too, and the company said at the original announcement of this megadeal that it will now be the “third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.” It hasn’t been an easy deal to finalize for Microsoft, though. The CMA initially blocked the deal in the UK over cloud concerns, months after the FTC initially sued to block the Activision Blizzard acquisition in the US. After the FTC then failed to secure a preliminary injunction to block Microsoft from finalizing its Activision Blizzard acquisition, the CMA and Microsoft instantly agreed to pause their legal battles for a remedy in the UK and eventually negotiated an agreement over cloud gaming rights.



Apparel & Footwear

Levi’s brings inventory under control, expands supplier base

Levi’s inventory has come into line with its revenue, helping the apparel company beat its own estimates on gross margin, CEO and President Chip Bergh told analysts on the company’s third quarter conference call. For Q3, inventories were up 6% year over year by dollar value. More than two-thirds of the increase resulted from a change in terms with suppliers that has Levi’s taking ownership of inventory bound for the Americas closer to the point shipment, according to Chief Financial and Growth Officer Harmit Singh. As Levi’s looks at products beyond denim, it has also expanded its vendor base “to bring in vendors who have key capabilities and expertise in areas like tops or dresses et cetera,” President Michelle Gass said. Levi’s joins a growing cohort of apparel companies that have — after more than a year of rightsizing — cleaned up their inventories, to the benefit of their bottom line. Management now expects inventory levels in Q4 to come in below last year by the period’s end, Singh said. More broadly, Levi’s is changing its operations and supply chain as it builds out its direct-to-consumer capabilities.

Next lines up £100m FatFace in latest high street takeover deal

Next is close to underlining its status as Britain’s most prolific buyer of rival high street fashion chains by snapping up FatFace in a deal worth more than £100m. Sky News has learnt the FTSE-100 clothing giant is putting the finishing touches to an acquisition of FatFace, just three years after it was taken over by its lenders. City sources said the deal could be announced later this week. The purchase of FatFace, a family-focused clothing retailer which trades from around 180 UK stores, will be the latest name to have made it onto Next’s lengthening post-pandemic shopping list. It recently confirmed that it was increasing its stake in Reiss to cement its position as the brand’s majority shareholder. Since the COVID crisis, it has snapped up the online furniture retailer,, which had crashed into administration; Cath Kidston, which had also encountered financial difficulties; and JoJo Maman Bebe, the maternity wear retailer. Lord Wolfson, Next’s long-serving chief executive, has also struck partnerships with Victoria’s Secret and Gap. Its prolific buying spree means Next has effectively displaced the billionaire tycoon Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group as the UK’s most frequent acquirer of smaller retail brands.

Stitch Fix to lay off 558 in Dallas as it carries out distribution center closures

More than 500 Stitch Fix employees will lose their jobs with the upcoming closure of a Dallas distribution center. Stitch Fix announced it would close the center, as well as another one in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in June. According to a notice filed with the Texas Workforce Commission, layoffs are scheduled to begin Dec. 1 and continue through April 5, 2024, the center’s final day of operation. In total, 558 people will be let go. Most of those facing layoffs – 484 according to the notice – are warehouse associates. Supervisors and managers at the Dallas location will also lose their jobs. Stitch Fix, which will also cut nearly 400 jobs at its Pennsylvania distribution center before its closure in February, said it plans to hire about 400 employees as the company ramps up capacity across its three other locations in Atlanta, Indianapolis and Phoenix. The company said it would hire employees from Dallas who move to one of those locations if they are in good standing and a role is available. Closing the Texas and Pennsylvania facilities drops Stitch Fix’s distribution network from five to three facilities and will save about $10 million to $15 million annually.



Athletic & Sporting Goods

FORME Acquires CLMBR, Targets B2B Sales

Interactive Strength, Inc., maker of fitness screen FORME, is acquiring vertical climber brand CLMBR.  Through a sales and distribution deal with treadmill maker Woodway, the brands will prioritize commercial sales, including gyms, hospitality, and medical clinics.  Laying the groundwork, in August, CLMBR enacted layoffs and teased a “strategic transaction.” Then, the following week, FORME submitted an LOI to buy an unnamed connected fitness business.  Of note, CLMBR had previously raised more than $26M from the likes of Jay-Z, Pitbull, and Novak Djokovic.

Nike continues to be top brand for teens

Continuing its reign among younger consumers, Nike remains the top footwear and clothing brand among teenagers, according to a new survey of over 9,000 teens. More than half (55%) of survey respondents named Amazon as their top e-commerce shopping site, followed by Shein (12%) and Nike (7%).  Nike has held strong as the most desired brand for teens in recent years.  The survey in 2021 also found that Nike surpassed other apparel and shoe brands that year, ahead of competitors like Converse, Crocs, and Lululemon. Nike also took the top spot in both categories for teens last year.

Shaquille O’Neal announced as president of Reebok Basketball division, Allen Iverson named vice president

Retired NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has been named Reebok’s first president of basketball, the company announced.  The company also announced that former NBA great Allen Iverson would be joining O’Neal’s efforts as the brand’s vice president of basketball.  The newly created position is part of Reebok’s attempt to reenter professional performance basketball, the company said.  O’Neal has been a Reebok partner for decades — he signed with the shoe brand ahead of his rookie season back in 1992, which, at the time, was the company’s biggest endorsement deal ever, the statement read.

Cosmetics & Pharmacy

Olaplex Names Supergoop Head to Replace JuE Wong as CEO

Olaplex Holdings Inc. announced new leadership as the hair-care company struggles to regain its footing amid a lawsuit and sinking share price.  Amanda Baldwin, chief executive officer of skin-care brand Supergoop, will succeed JuE Wong in early 2024. Olaplex Executive Chairman John Bilbrey will serve as interim CEO during the transition. Supergoop specializes in sunscreen and other products with sun protection.  Santa Barbara, California-based Olaplex faced a consumer lawsuit, dismissed in July, that alleged the company’s products caused hair loss and scalp injuries. The company has also been beset by slowing demand, increased competition and guidance cuts. Olaplex on Thursday reiterated its August forecast for revenue and profit.

Ellis Brooklyn Raises $9 Million Series A

Fragrance brand Ellis Brooklyn has closed a $9 million Series A investment round led by venture firm REDO Ventures.  Ellis Brooklyn was created in 2014 by Bee Shapiro, a former attorney and longtime New York Times beauty columnist and launched on two years later with four fine fragrances that focused on sustainability.  Ellis Brooklyn declined to disclose revenue, but noted that it is growing double digits and is slated to double next year.  REDO Ventures’ other investments include Dieuxskin, Vacation, Odacite and The Nue Co.

Walgreens Eyes $1 Billion in Cost Cuts as New CEO Arrives

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. announced a $1 billion cost-cutting program as it prepares to reset its growth strategy under a new chief executive officer.  The drugstore chain also aims to lower capital expenditures by about $600 million, and expects to see the impact of the cost reductions begin by early next year, according to a statement Thursday.  The plans set the stage for the arrival of new CEO Tim Wentworth, who’s scheduled to take over on Oct. 23. After his predecessor Rosalind Brewer accelerated a push into primary care and other dimensions of the industry, the cost cuts may signal a pause amid investor dissatisfaction and the departure of some top executives, including former chief financial officer James Kehoe.  The cost-cutting plans include altering store hours based on local market trends and closing unprofitable locations, Graham said. The company is evaluating its footprint and plans to exit about five markets and 60 clinics in the coming fiscal year, said John Driscoll, president of US health care for the company.

Discounters & Department Stores

Ross caps off yearly opening plans with 51 new stores this fall

Ross Stores opened 51 new stores from September through this week, the retailer said Wednesday. The retailer opened 43 Ross Dress for Less stores and eight DD’s Discounts stores in 22 states. The company expanded into existing and new markets. New York and Minnesota gained their first Ross stores, while DD’s expanded in California, Maryland, Tennessee and Texas. Ross said the recently opened locations complete the company’s store growth plans for fiscal 2023. The retailer opened 97 new locations this fiscal year, close to its previously stated goal of 100 openings this year.


Walmart tests more AI, AR shopping tools

Adding to its suite of AR and AI-driven digital features, Walmart is deploying generative artificial intelligence to improve its search capabilities, assist shoppers with complex purchases, help customers prioritize product features and show review summaries, the retailer announced. Walmart is also testing a voice-assisted, hands-free shopping tool on its website. The retailer is testing voice commands, voice assistant conversations, booking pickup and delivery time slots and other functions, according to the announcement. The company is also experimenting with a spatial design tool that uses generative AI and augmented reality tech to help customers design rooms based on budget, theme and other criteria.

Target loses ground on plastics reduction goal

Target released its annual sustainability report with packaging as a key focal point. While it introduced a consumer-facing program to help reduce waste, it also lost ground on a plastics reduction goal. The report covers the period from January 2022 to January 2023. In March 2022, the company launched Target Zero, an initiative to advance zero waste solutions by signaling for consumers the products and packaging that are designed to be refillable, reusable or compostable; concentrated; made from recycled content; or made from materials that reduce the use of virgin plastic. More than 1,000 products, such as those from Burt’s Bees and Target’s household essentials brand Everspring, now bear the seal.



Emerging Consumer Companies

Pair Eyewear raises $75 million for international expansion and automation
Direct-to-consumer customizable eyewear brand, Pair Eyewear, has raised $75 million in Series C funding to enhance its automated U.S. manufacturing technology and expand its customer base globally. The New York-based company offers over 1,000 “top frame” options, allowing glasses-wearing adults and children to easily change their look. Glasses start at $60 per pair, including prescription lenses, and come with a digital experience, while top frames start at $25. Pair Eyewear has experienced significant growth, with revenue increasing 24 times between 2020 and 2023. TikTok accounts for over 25% of the brand’s total sales. The company has also launched a wider base frame collection and become a vertically integrated manufacturing facility, creating all of its lenses and top frames in-house. The funding round was led by Prysm Capital, with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Javelin Venture Partners, and NFL player Christian McCaffrey. Pair Eyewear’s total venture-backed capital now stands at $145 million. The company plans to use the funds to invest in additional automation technology, expand its lens lab and product line, and explore omnichannel distribution.

Flaus raises $2 million for electric dental floss innovation
Flaus, an oral beauty brand, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Yeti Capital. The brand is disrupting the oral care market by offering an electric dental flosser, which they claim provides the best flossing experience. The device is described as “like an electric toothbrush, but for flossing” and aims to save time and money while promoting healthy dental habits. It features 18,000 sonic vibrations, three speed options, an ergonomic handle, and recyclable floss heads. The flosser is also waterproof and portable. Flaus has gained the approval of over 200 dental professionals who are part of the company’s ambassador program.



Food & Beverage

SunOpta exits frozen fruit business

Nature’s Touch, a processor and marketer of frozen fruit products, has acquired certain frozen fruit assets from SunOpta, Inc., Minneapolis, for $141 million.  The transaction includes facilities located in Edwardsville, Kan., and Jocona, Mexico.  “This acquisition puts us in the unique position of providing North American consumers with the most expansive network of freezing and distribution on the continent,” said John Tentomas, chief executive officer of Nature’s Touch. “Together, our combined strengths will propel us to new heights, quicker and with renewed vigor.”  Nature’s Touch sells a variety of frozen fruits in the United States and Canada. The company sells branded and private label products.

Cibo Vita Acquired By PE Firm Citation Capital

Cibo Vita, the parent company of Nature’s Garden, has sold a majority stake of its better-for-you snack business to Citation Capital, a private equity firm focused on founder and family-led companies. The deal is expected to close later this year.  The food company was founded in 2009 by Emre Imamoglu and Ahmet Celik who now serve as CEO and president, respectively, and have both retained significant ownership interest. Cibo Vita began as a private label healthy snack producer and launched its flagship Nature’s Garden brand in 2011. Today, the New Jersey-based company owns three manufacturing facilities, employs over 900 individuals and makes functional snack products for grocery, big box and warehouse/club retailers across the country.  Dallas-based Citation Capital is a relatively new investment vehicle that was founded earlier this year by Tiffany Hagge, who brings two decades of investment banking experience, and Lydie Hudson, a former Credit Suisse executive. The firm is said to be focused on the consumer products, industrial and business and financial services sectors.



Grocery & Restaurants

Despite Q3 sales slip, Domino’s execs are bullish

Domino’s Pizza’s domestic same-store sales were down 0.6% in the third quarter as the category continues its post-pandemic slowdown after meteoric 2020 and 2021 numbers. Broken out by channel, the carryout business continued its positive momentum with a same-store sales increase of 1.9%, while delivery was down 2.3%, rolling over a negative 7.5% last year. Despite the drop in same-store sales, executives on the company’s earnings call Thursday morning were bullish about finishing the year strong and growing in 2024. Driving that optimism is the chain’s recently announced partnership with Uber Eats and Postmates, marking the company’s initial presence on a delivery aggregator marketplace. Las Vegas has served as a pilot market, with a national rollout expected by the end of the year. Additionally, Domino’s just revamped its rewards program to include tiered redemption options and a lower entry point – 10 points for every order of $5 or more, versus the previous $10 or more. Weiner said the update is meant to create more redemption opportunities for lower frequency customers and early indications show they’re “clearly engaging more with these changes.”

The owner of Wagamama is being sold to a private equity firm

The private equity firm Apollo Global Management is acquiring The Restaurant Group, the London-based company that owns the Wagamama chain, for £506 million ($623 million U.S.), the companies said on Thursday. The Restaurant Group (TRG) is known mostly as the owner of 400 pubs and restaurants across the U.K. But the company also owns a 20% stake in a joint venture partnership in the U.S., where the chain operates seven locations. The company also has 60 franchised locations in a number of companies. TRG has struggled coming out of the pandemic in the U.K., where inflation has hurt the economy, leading to weakening margins amid soaring costs. Activist investors in recent months have also pressured the company for changes.

Home & Road

Tempur Sealy refinances $1.65B credit line through 13 lenders

Tempur Sealy International has refinanced its credit lines with 13 different lenders that includes a $1.15 billion revolving credit facility, a $500 million term loan facility and an incremental facility that allows up to $850 million and additional amounts. Scheduled to mature in five years on Oct. 10, 2028, the new credit agreement refinances the company’s existing credit lines dated Oct. 16, 2019, administered through JPMorgan Chase Bank. “We are very pleased with the refinancing of our credit facilities,” said Scott Thompson, chairman and CEO. In addition to Bank of America, the other lenders are JPMorgan Chase Bank; Wells Fargo Bank; Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.; Truist Bank; HSBC Bank in the U.K. and the U.S.; the Bank of Nova Scotia; TD Bank; Mizuho Bank; Fifth Third Bank; Goldman Sachs Bank; Capital One National Assn.; and Pinnacle Bank.

Court orders Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams to liquidate; converts case to Ch. 7

The Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams bankruptcy case has been converted to Chapter 7, a liquidation under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, a month after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the court. Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware ruled Friday that the case be converted from Chapter 11 reorganization to liquidation. The company has two weeks to share records of its assets and liabilities with the interim bankruptcy trustee and a month to file a complete report. In her order, Silverstein said the conversion of the case to Chapter 7 was in the best interest of the debtors, their estates, creditors and all other interested parties. In August, the company quickly shuttered its doors, alerting employees with notes on the gates to its facilities leaving more than 500 workers in North Carolina out of jobs. Two weeks later, on Sept. 6, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams filed for bankruptcy protection. Ahead of the closure, the private equity group The Stephens Group said it had invested an additional $20 million into the company to help it continue operations. That cash infusion didn’t help.

Holiday Hope for Housewares To Close Out Demanding 2023

As holiday retail sales forecasts begin to flow in, it will be worth keeping an eye on trends that have become more pronounced during the year to get a sense of where the sales season is taking retail and the housewares sector. The year has been ripe with contradictions. Getting out to restaurants and travel was supposed to divert sales from goods from housewares and home furnishings to services. Although that shift is often referenced in discussions about sales, it isn’t that simple. Shopkick produced one of the earliest holiday sales forecasts. When asked in which product categories they intend to purchase, 55% of consumers said apparel, followed by toys and video games at 44. Home came in third at 36%, tied with electronics and ahead of the hot beauty segment at 23%. That was followed by experiences such as concert tickets, travel vouchers, etc., at 16%, and wellness and fitness at 13%.

Jewelry & Luxury

WD Lab Grown Diamonds Files for Chapter 7

On Oct. 11, WD Lab Grown Diamonds, one of the first companies to produce man-made diamonds, filed for Chapter 7 in the Delaware federal court. Filing for Chapter 7 means a company intends to liquidate. In its initial petition, the Beltsville, Md.–based company, which goes by the corporate name M7D, listed current assets as $3.06 million, and liabilities as $44.8 million. It estimated its number of creditors from 100 to 199. WD Diamonds Intermediate Holdings was named as a co-debtor. The company listed gross revenue for the year 2023 (to date) as $8.4 million. Revenues were $33 million in 2022, and $17.9 million in 2021.

A Gilded Age is Fading for Luxury Brands

The end of easy money is catching up with luxury brands. It took a long time, so the skills needed to protect their profit margins may be a bit rusty. Shares in the world’s biggest luxury company, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, fell 6% Wednesday after it reported a slowdown in sales for the third quarter the previous evening. LVMH grew sales by 9% for the three months through September compared with a year ago. That sounds impressive, but the business was growing at almost double this pace in the second quarter. Demand for luxury goods has slowed for most products and in all major regions. One surprise was a 14% drop in sales at LVMH’s wines and spirits divisions. Shipments of cognac brands such as Hennessy have been weak in the U.S. all year as cash from pandemic stimulus checks runs out, but the trend is getting worse.

UK’s Sign of the Times to Expand Luxury Resale Platform

London-based luxury resale platform Sign of the Times, has recently received new investment from industry leaders, including BrandAlley and Sweaty Betty founder Tamara Hill-Norton. This investment round will enable Sign of the Times to expand its operations in the second-hand market. The partnership with BrandAlley will involve a white label “take back service,” aligning with BrandAlley’s commitment to sustainability and circularity. According to a release emailed to PYMNTS, the second-hand market is experiencing remarkable growth, with projections indicating that second-hand and off-price sectors will make up 37% of wardrobes by 2031, compared to 26% in 2021, according to Thred Up’s resale report. This trend showcases the increasing popularity and acceptance of pre-owned fashion. The funds raised from this investment round will be utilized for marketing initiatives, strategic hires and the acquisition of assets from Cudoni, a company that recently went into administration.


Office & Leisure

Canada’s Spin Master toys buying U.S. rival Melissa & Doug for $950M

Spin Master Corp. announced a deal on Wednesday to buy U.S.-based toy company Melissa & Doug for $950 million US. Spin Master chief executive Max Rangel said Melissa & Doug is a trusted brand of early childhood toys with an evergreen portfolio that will expand the company’s reach and help grow revenue. Spin Master is best known for its Paw Patrol, Bakugan, Hatchimals, Rubik’s Cube and Gund brands. It said the deal to buy Melissa & Doug will add a trusted brand of high-quality open-ended, creative and developmental toys that is relevant for parents seeking sustainable wooden toys and screen-free play. Spin Master said it plans to finance the purchase price with about $450 million cash on hand and $500 million in new debt. The agreement also includes up to an additional $150 million US that is subject to achieving certain financial targets for 2024 and 2025.

Post Holdings notches up another pet food buy with Perfection Pet Foods

Post Holdings has made another acquisition in pet food, inking a deal to buy US-based Perfection Pet Foods. Having snapped up a clutch of pet-food brands in February from J.M. Smucker for around $1.2bn – marking Post Holdings’ entrance to the US pet-food market – the company is set to bag Perfection Pet Foods for $235m.  Post Holdings said today (10 October) it expects to close the transaction in the final quarter of 2023, which is the first quarter of the company’s new financial year. California-based Perfection Pet Foods produces private-label pet food and snacks and also provides a co-manufacturing service. Its website says the business is geared up for both cat and dog foods. Post Holdings will gain ownership of the company’s two factories in Visalia. The Weetabix and Peter Pan peanut butter human food brand owner said the deal for Perfection Pet Foods will provide “additional manufacturing capacity to insource a portion of its current pet-food business and an entry point into the private label and co-manufacturing pet-food category”.

Technology & Internet

Amazon Big Deal Days results: most successful fall sale to date

Amazon says its two-day Big Deal Days sale was its largest October holiday kickoff sale ever, beating out the Early Access sale in 2022. “Big Deal Days was Amazon’s most successful fall sale to date,” analyst at market research firm Numerator Amanda Schoenbauer says. Amazon says Prime Members bought hundreds of millions of items in its sale on Oct. 10 and 11. More than 150 million of those purchases were from third-party sellers, which make up the majority of GMV on Amazon’s marketplace. The second annual fall sales event was “a strong start to the holiday shopping season,” CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores Doug Herrington said in a written statement. Prime Members ordered more than 25 million items for same-day and next-day delivery, he said in the statement. Amazon says apparel, beauty, home and toys were the best-selling categories during the sales event. As usual, Amazon-brand products were highly popular during the sale.


Finance & Economy

Consumer prices rose 0.4% in September, more than expected

Prices that consumers pay for a wide variety of goods and services increased at a slightly faster-than-expected pace in September, keeping inflation in the spotlight for policymakers.  The consumer price index, a closely followed inflation gauge, increased 0.4% on the month and 3.7% from a year ago, according to a Labor Department report. That compared with respective Dow Jones estimates of 0.3% and 3.6%. Headline inflation increased 0.6% in August.  In keeping with recent trends, shelter costs were the main factor in the inflation increase.

Consumer sentiment drops this fall as Americans feel worse about the economy

Over the summer, we were alert to signs that ordinary Americans’ perception of the economy was, at long last, starting to improve. Early signs are that sentiment has turned back downward with the onset of fall.  The preliminary October University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey showed a steep falloff in views about the economy. The index fell to 63, from 68.1 in September. It had reached a recent high of 71.6 in July.  The falloff was driven by drops in both survey respondents’ assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the future.  Consumer sentiment was even lower for much of 2022, when inflation was at modern highs, but remains far below the levels that were the norm in the 2010s.