With talk of Thanksgiving increasing in our home, my young son recently asked me, “how did the Turkey become the mascot of Thanksgiving?” Turkey’s role as the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal in the United States may date back to the earliest celebrations of the holiday. Thanksgiving traces its origins to the Pilgrims who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. They struggled through a harsh winter, but with the help of the Wampanoag Native Americans, learned to cultivate the land and survive. In 1621, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag shared a feast, which is often considered the “First Thanksgiving.” An account of the feast holds that the Wampanoag brought deer to the meal, while the Pilgrims brought wild “fowl.” It is not known whether that fowl was turkey and/or ducks or geese, but turkey became increasingly important to Thanksgiving over time, becoming a staple of the meal by the turn of the 19th century.

Here are some other notable facts about turkey on Thanksgiving:

  1. Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation: President Abraham Lincoln is often credited with making Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. In 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving. The pardoning of a turkey also started with President Lincoln. This event began during the Civil War when Tad Lincoln asked his father to spare a turkey named Jack from a holiday meal. President Abraham Lincoln obliged his son and pardoned the fortunate turkey. Years later in 1947, President Harry Truman pardoned the first National Thanksgiving Turkey.
  2. The Evolution of Thanksgiving: Over time, as Thanksgiving became an established holiday, roast turkey became the preferred centerpiece for the feast. This shift was partly due to the turkey’s large size, which made it suitable for feeding a gathering of family and friends. The bird’s abundant meat also symbolized the abundance of the harvest season.
  3. Modern Tradition: Today, turkey is an integral part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and it’s almost synonymous with the holiday. Families across the United States roast, grill, deep-fry, or cook their turkeys in various ways, often incorporating their own special seasonings and methods.
  4. Cultural Influence: The popularity of turkey as the main dish on Thanksgiving was further cemented through cultural influences like literature, art, and later, popular culture. The image of a large, beautifully roasted turkey on a Thanksgiving table became an enduring symbol of the holiday. The history of turkey is intertwined with the history of Thanksgiving in the United States, where turkey has become a traditional dish for this holiday. The famous Norman Rockwell work Freedom from Want (at the top of this Big Story) was created in November 1942. The painting depicts a group of people gathered around a dinner table for a holiday meal. Having been partially created on Thanksgiving Day to depict the celebration, it has become an iconic representation for Americans of the Thanksgiving holiday and family holiday gatherings in general.

There are approximately 216 million Turkeys raised in the U.S. each year, with 46 million being eaten on Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your Turkey or your favorite dish!

Apparel & Footwear

Shein Is Eyeing a $90 Billion Valuation: Report

Shein is seeking a valuation of up to $90 billion as it continues to eye an initial public offering in U.S. markets, Bloomberg reported. The Chinese ultra-fast-fashion giant has long been reported to be staking out a U.S. IPO, with speculation swirling around when, not if, Shein will go public in the U.S. Earlier this year, the e-commerce retailer denied media reports that it registered with regulators for an IPO in New York.  While Shein’s valuation in private trades is currently sitting between $50 billion to $60 billion following recent trades, sources familiar with the company’s plans told Bloomberg that it is looking at a valuation of $80 billion to $90 billion in a public listing. No final decision has been made as to the timing or value of the IPO, the sources said. In a funding round last year, Shein fetched a valuation of $100 billion, making it the third-most-valuable startup in 2022 and surpassing the combined valuations of some of its largest competitors, H&M and Zara owner Inditex. If Shein were to list itself, it would be the most valuable Chinese company to go public since ride hailing company Didi Global’s $68 billion valuation in 2021, according to Reuters.


Crocs tightens inventory control, including in ‘gray market’ channels

Crocs has been working to control the flow of unauthorized inventory to what executives label “gray market” channels, which include Amazon’s website. Based on the footwear company’s visibility into those channels, gray market inventory has improved since June and the company expects to be “in a substantially better position in the first-half of 2024,” CEO Andrew Rees told analysts on the company’s Q3 earnings call last week. To control prices, margins and its brand, Crocs is controlling the flow of its inventory to every channel it can. The company has made significant progress. Companywide inventories fell 24% year over year in the quarter, and are down 17% from the end of 2022. “Year-to-date, we have made considerable progress in cleaning up our inventory and are pleased that our Heydude inventory ended down 41% from Q3 last year,” Reese said. CFO Anne Mehlman also noted that inventory turns continued to improve and that “we are very pleased with the health of our inventory.” Still, the company has troubles in pockets. Rees said the company saw more carryover inventory in its legacy customers than expected, diluting Crocs’ product offerings.


Timberland President Susie Mulder Is Exiting the Brand

Timberland global brand president Susie Mulder is exiting the company, FN has learned. Mulder, who assumed the role in April 2021, revealed her departure internally last week. Nina Flood, the VP and GM of Timberland EMEA, will step in to take the helm of the brand on an interim basis, the company confirmed. “After two and a half years, Susie has announced she will be leaving VF to pursue a new opportunity. Susie made many contributions during her time with the brand, and leaves a strong foundation, strategy and leadership team to move the brand and business forward,” Colin Wheeler, VP of Corporate Affairs and Communications at VF Corp., said in an emailed statement. Wheeler added that Flood is the right person to take the interim role. “Nina has been a successful leader at VF for 20 years, within various leadership roles including president of Global Packs (Eastpak, JanSport and Kipling) before taking the helm at Timberland EMEA earlier this year.” Prior to Mulder joining Timberland in April 2021, the company’s global brand president role had been vacant since January 2020, when Jim Pisani stepped down. Mulder was the CEO at Nic + Zoe for almost a decade prior to Timberland, and before that, she was a partner at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.


Wolverine to Pursue Sale of More ‘Non-Core’ Assets Following Continued Revenue Decline in Q3

Shares for Wolverine Worldwide dipped nearly 5 percent in premarket trading following the news of further cost cutting after another tough quarter. The Rockford, Mich.-based company reported revenues in the third quarter fell 23.7 percent to $527.7 million versus $691.4 million the same time last year. Net earnings in Q3 were $9.0 million down from $38.8 million in the third quarter of 2022. By brand, Sperry — which could soon be sold — faced the most hardship in the third quarter, with revenue falling 41.4 percent to $46.2 million. Merrell was down 24.3 percent to $157.0 million, while Saucony’s revenue dropped 14 percent to $116.4 million. The company’s namesake Wolverine brand dipped 4.7 percent in the period to $56.3 million. Sweaty Betty was the bright spot, seeing revenues increase 19 percent to $45.0 million. According to Wolverine Worldwide’s EVP and CFO Mike Stornant, the company’s Saucony and Sweaty Betty businesses have “stabilized” and are showing signs of improvement. However, Merrell continues to “operate in a challenged outdoor category,” and its Work Group brands continue to experience headwinds in wholesale demand.

Ralph Lauren tops Q2 targets as cashmere sweaters, jackets pull shoppers

Ralph Lauren on Wednesday beat Wall Street estimates for second-quarter results as U.S. shoppers snapped up its pricey sweaters and jackets and China demand recovered steadily, defying a wider luxury industry slowdown. The company has been strengthening its direct-to-consumer (DTC) business, acquiring new, younger and less price-sensitive shoppers through its website and stores, amid weaker U.S. wholesale demand that has hit several global brands. Customers are going after cotton and cashmere cable-knit sweaters, Oxford shirts, jackets and other popular collections, Ralph Lauren CEO Patrice Louvet said on an earnings call. The company’s China business recovered steadily, with a more than 20% jump in sales, even as other luxury players such as LVMH and parka maker Canada Goose saw feeble demand. Net revenue in the second quarter rose more than 3% to $1.63 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.61 billion, while adjusted per-share profit of $2.10 also surpassed expectations of $1.93.


Athletic & Sporting Goods

Nike sues New Balance and Skechers over patent infringement

Sports apparel giant Nike is suing two of its competitors, arguing that New Balance and Skechers are wrongfully using technology that Nike developed for making shoes light-weight and strong.  Nike filed two patent infringement lawsuits on Monday, one in federal court in Massachusetts against New Balance and another federal suit in California against Skechers. The cases come after Nike sued Puma in 2018, Adidas in 2021 and Lululemon this year over the same issue.  Nike’s lawsuit focuses on Flyknit, a special type of fiber the company developed and which it uses for the so-called upper of shoes, or the parts of a shoe above the sole and which cover the foot. Flyknit is a high-strength fiber that supports the user’s feet but is also lightweight and breathable, according to Nike.


Topgolf Acquires BigShots Golf In Expanding Off-Course Dominion

Topgolf Callaway Brands has acquired the BigShots Golf business, further strengthening its leadership position in the growing golf entertainment category.  Topgolf paid approximately $29 million to acquire four existing BigShots venues in the U.S. as well as potential development rights for other locations.  BigShots had been controlled by Invited Inc., the largest owner and operator of private golf clubs in the U.S., and the deal also includes a preferred vendor agreement in which Callaway products and merchandise will be featured at Invited’s more than 140 golf and country clubs.

Zelus Analytics Acquires TourIQ Golf to Expand World-Class Sports Analytics Offerings into Professional Golf

Zelus Analytics, the Austin-based sports analytics company that is transforming player evaluation and in-game decision-making announced today that it has successfully acquired TourIQ Golf, the leading analytics service built specifically for professional golfers on the PGA Tour.  TourIQ was founded by Cory Jez in 2021 to help give PGA Tour golfers the same analytical resources as their counterparts in team sports.  Zelus Analytics is an Austin-based sports analytics company that evaluates, predicts, and improves player and team performance in sports. Through a differentiated multi-sport business model and a unique data and analytics platform, Zelus Analytics provides tools to help its partner teams compete and win through league-leading sports intelligence. The company is active with clients across eight different sports, including baseball, basketball, hockey, football, cricket, soccer, eSports and golf.

Cosmetics & Pharmacy

Sephora, Reliance Retail Forge India Beauty Alliance

Sephora has partnered with Reliance Beauty & Personal Care Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, to enhance its prestige beauty retail in India, granting RRVL exclusive rights to expand Sephora’s presence in the country. This builds on Sephora’s success since entering the Indian market in 2012, capitalising on its reputation for curated beauty experiences and products. The collaboration will see Reliance Beauty & Personal Care Limited assuming control of Sephora’s 26 Indian stores, spread across 13 cities. This transition is part of a strategic plan to grow Sephora’s footprint in India, with the stores and website continuing to operate as usual during the handover. This initiative comes at a time when India’s beauty and personal care market is poised for significant growth, currently valued at USD 17 billion with a projected annual growth rate of 11%. RRVL’s extensive retail reach and insights into Indian consumer behaviour are expected to drive the development of Sephora in one of the world’s largest untapped consumer markets, leveraging the country’s burgeoning beauty sector.

Milk Makeup Owner Waldencast Could Be Delisted From Nasdaq

Milk Makeup owner Waldencast has received a notice from Nasdaq that it is subject to delisting from the stock exchange.  The notice was due to noncompliance of timely filing of periodic reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Waldencast has requested a hearing before the Nasdaq Hearings Panel to address the notice. In turn, any suspension or delisting will be paused for 22 days.  Waldencast is also working to complete and file the annual report with the SEC as soon as possible.  In 2022, Waldencast became a publicly listed company. In its latest earnings release, for Q3 2022, Waldencast reported $78.9 million in net sales, a 10.3% gain year-over-year.

ELEMENT EIGHT Closes $6M in SAFE Funding, launches a $6.25M Series A Round

ELEMENT EIGHT, a premium brand bringing the cutting-edge advances of biomedicine to skincare through its proprietary OATH™: Oxygen Amplified Therapy, announced that it has closed $6M in funding in a SAFE round. Including the successful SAFE Round that just closed, the Company has raised a total of $7.9M to date. Immediately upon closing this SAFE funding, the Company has announced it will proceed on to a new $6.25M Series A Round to continue to accelerate the growth of potent skincare products. The Company is also excited to announce that Martin Brok, accomplished global executive with over 35 years of experience in senior roles, including as Global CEO of Sephora, Nike, Starbucks, and The Coca-Cola Co, will join the company’s Business Advisory Board and will participate in the Series A financing.

Sahajan Closes First Round of Equity Funding

Sahajan, a Ayurvedic and clean beauty brand, has closed its first round of equity funding that will drive the brand’s North American growth, bringing its clinically-proven products to the forefront.  Investors in this round of funding included Ridgeline Ventures; Wonderment Ventures; actor Yvonne Strahovski; celebrated poet and artist, Rupi Kaur; longtime lululemon executive, Celeste Burgoyne (President, Americas & Global Guest Innovation); dermatologist Dr. Shannon Humphrey; and veteran consumer investor Manica Blain (Top Knot Ventures).  Sahajan is a digital-first beauty brand with growing retail sales, which currently contribute to approximately 25% of its overall business.  Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Discounters & Department Stores

Dillard’s Q3 declines signal trouble for department stores

Noting a “challenging sales environment … with particular weakness beginning in September,” Dillard’s on Thursday reported that Q3 retail sales fell 6% to $1.4 billion. Total net sales (including the company’s construction business) fell 4.4% to $1.5 billion. Store comps also fell 6%. Cosmetics was the strongest category followed by home and furniture, while juniors and children’s apparel was the weakest, according to a company press release. Inventory edged down 1% year over year. Retail gross margin contracted somewhat to 45.3% from 45.7% last year. Net income fell 17.3%, according to a company press release.

Macy’s introduces early holiday deals

To capture early holiday shoppers, Macy’s has unveiled its pre-Black Friday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts for online and in-store shoppers, the retailer announced on Wednesday. The department store is offering early deals between Nov. 10 and Nov. 18, its Black Friday specials from Nov. 19 to Nov. 25 and Cyber Monday specials from Nov. 26 to Nov. 27. The retailer is offering markdowns on products from brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Clinique, Nike, Hot Wheels, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, DKNY and Jimmy Choo, according to the announcement. The retailer is closing its stores on Thanksgiving Day but will extend its store hours when it reopens on Nov. 24, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:59 p.m.

Walmart, Amazon see gains in fulfillment as holidays near

With the winter holidays approaching, Amazon and Walmart are touting the recent improvements in speed and efficiency seen due to shifts in their fulfillment strategies. This holiday season will mark the first one that Walmart customers will begin feeling the benefits of the retailer’s “next generation supply chain,” the company announced last week. Walmart already has three next-generation fulfillment centers open in Joliet, Illinois; McCordsville, Indiana; and Lancaster, Texas. A fourth is expected to open next year in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. Last month, Walmart unveiled plans for its fifth next generation fulfillment center with a 900,000-square-foot facility in Stockton, California, slated to start operations in 2026.



Emerging Consumer Companies

Needed raises $14 million to improve perinatal nutrition for women

Perinatal nutrition company Needed has raised $14 million in a funding round led by responsible consumer investor The Craftory. The funding will be used to accelerate product innovation, content creation, and the launch of Needed Labs, the company’s clinical insights and research arm. Needed offers science-backed nutritional supplements for women in the perinatal stage and has rapidly expanded its product offering since its launch in 2021. The company’s products and educational content are based on the latest research and insights from women’s health experts. Needed aims to set a new standard for perinatal nutrition by providing comprehensive support for egg and sperm quality, lactation, stress, sleep, and hydration. The Craftory noted that Needed is uniquely positioned to challenge the status quo in women’s health and improve health outcomes.

Dreamfarm secures €5 million investment for plant-based cheese alternatives

Italian foodtech startup Dreamfarm has secured a €5 million ($5.9 million) investment to establish an innovation hub for plant-based cheese alternatives. The funds have been used to set up a production facility in Sala Baganza, equipped with specialized machinery for a patented production process. Dreamfarm’s first two products, a plant-based alternative to mozzarella and a spreadable variety, have been well-received in the market. The mozzarella alternative has gained government certification and a Nutriscore A rating. The company aims to create a range of plant-based cheese alternatives that are both delicious and nutritionally superior to existing products. The investment will be used to expand distribution channels in Italy and abroad, as well as for further research and development. Dreamfarm’s founders, Maddalena Zanoni and Mattia Sandei, have been joined by Giovanni Menozzi as CEO.

Zelig raises $15 million in funding for fashion technology platform

Los Angeles-based fashion technology company, Zelig, has raised $15 million in Series A funding, bringing its total funding to $100 million. The funding round was led by Hilco Global, with participation from Bezikian Zareh. Zelig plans to use the funds to enhance its personalization capabilities and develop additional features. Founded in 2020 by Sandy Sholl and Adam Freede, Zelig is a B2B2C fashion technology company that offers a virtual try-on and styling solution. The technology utilizes AI, machine learning, and computer vision to allow shoppers to visualize how clothes, shoes, and accessories would look on their own body type. Users can experiment with different outfit combinations and styling options, create complete looks, and share them. Initially, shoppers can choose from a range of photos of models with diverse body types, skin tones, and hair colors. However, Zelig plans to soon allow users to upload their own photo and virtually try on and style outfits using their own image. The company aims to provide a personalized and interactive shopping experience for its customers.



Food & Beverage

Seneca acquires Green Giant canned vegetable business

Seneca Foods Corp. has acquired B&G Foods, Inc.’s Green Giant canned product line in the United States. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.  B&G Foods will retain ownership of the Green Giant trademarks and will license the Green Giant brand name to Seneca Foods. The transaction does not include the Green Giant frozen, Green Giant Canada or Le Sueur businesses.   Commenting on the sale, Casey Keller, president and CEO of B&G Foods, added, “Our decision to sell the US shelf-stable product line of the Green Giant brand is part of our ongoing effort to divest product lines that are non-core to B&G Foods’ long-term strategy and reduce long-term debt. We believe that Seneca Foods, the longtime, primary co-manufacturer for the Green Giant US shelf-stable product line, is the right owner for the US shelf-stable product line. We continue to believe in the power of the iconic Green Giant brand and the sale will allow our Green Giant team to focus on Green Giant frozen, Green Giant Canada and the Le Sueur brand.”  B&G Foods in 2015 acquired the Green Giant and Le Sueur brands of frozen and canned vegetables from General Mills, Inc. for approximately $765 million in cash.

Nestlé invests, partners with food-delivery startup Wonder Group

Nestlé is investing in and partnering with food-delivery startup Wonder Group, a spokesperson confirmed to Food Dive. The food and beverage giant declined to say how much it invested or reveal additional details.  CNBC said the deal included a $100 million investment from Nestle, along with a strategic partnership. The report said that Nestle will manufacture pizza and pasta for Wonder’s kitchen equipment, in addition to selling the kitchen equipment to customers.  Nestlé said the agreement further complements its recent decision to combine its two foodservice businesses into one operation so that it can capitalize on the strong recovery in the out-of-home channel.

Celsius: Revenue +104% in Q3 As Energy Brand Dominates Online

Celsius continues to put distance between itself and the chasing pack, as the number-three ranked energy drink brand reported a 104% revenue increase to $385 million in its Q3 earnings report this morning, up from just $188 million in the same period last year.  Revenue was driven primarily by North American sales, which grew 107% to $371 million in the quarter, while international revenue was up 56% to $13.6 million. The North American growth has derived from the brand’s expanded distribution via its PepsiCo partnership and an increase in SKU count per location. “We continued to drive growth of the category by bringing in new loyal consumers, as well as increasing consumption occasions,” said Celsius president and CEO John Fieldly.



Grocery & Restaurants

Ahold Delhaize USA makes ‘difficult decision’ to sell FreshDirect

Calling it a “difficult decision,” Ahold Delhaize USA has entered into an agreement to sell its FreshDirect business to Getir, a grocery delivery company that operates in key markets in the U.S. and internationally. In a statement, Ahold Delhaize USA said it decided to part with FreshDirect to focus more on its omnichannel businesses. “This was a difficult decision, especially given FreshDirect’s rich history in the New York City area,” said JJ Fleeman, CEO, Ahold Delhaize USA. “However, our strength as a grocery retailer in the U.S. is the true omnichannel experience – a combination of online and in-store – where we have leading brands and market share, strong store density and online presence, and a deep heritage of customer loyalty and relationships. With this decision, we will increase our focus on omnichannel – our biggest growth opportunity.”

McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme are in talks to expand partnership

Krispy Kreme said Thursday it’s in talks to expand its partnership with McDonald’s. The two restaurant companies began testing Big Mac eaters’ appetites for doughnuts more than a year ago at a handful of McDonald’s Kentucky locations. By March, the pilot had expanded to roughly 160 restaurants across Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky. The bigger test was meant to assess customer demand and to understand how a larger-scale launch would affect restaurant operations. McDonald’s has been leaning into coffee — a common pairing with doughnuts — to encourage diners to visit more frequently. At the same time, the burger chain has been cutting back on its bakery items, like cinnamon rolls and blueberry muffins. And Krispy Kreme has been able to raise prices without hurting its sales because consumers are willing to splurge on affordable treats, such as fresh doughnuts.

Home & Road

Saatva merges with Bedding Industries of America

Online mattress brand Saatva and its long-time supplier Bedding Industries of America have taken their relationship to the next level with a “company merger.” The deal, which closed last week, gives Saatva a vertically integrated supply chain, and officials say Bedding Industries of America can leverage Saatva’s resources to strengthen its Eclipse and Eastman House brands while better serving its brick-and-mortar retail partners. Bedding Industries of America has been the manufacturing partner for the direct-to-consumer mattress brand since Ron Rudzin, president and CEO, launched the company in 2010. Saatva’s differentiator in the online mattress segment is that the beds are always flat-packed, and hand delivered and set up in the consumer’s home.


Q3 slide pushes Sleep Number to cut 10% of workforce, close up to 50 stores

Vertical mattress retailer Sleep Number reported a steep drop in third-quarter profit and sales plans to cut 10% of its workforce and close up to 50 stores by the end of next year. The company reported a net loss of $2.3 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, a 54% drop from the $5.03 million reported in the prior-year quarter. Third quarter sales tumbled nearly 13% to $472.6 million from $540.6 million in the same quarter last year. Shares in the company dropped more than 33% from $16.03 per share at market close Tuesday to Wednesday morning’s pre-market price of $10.71 per share. In its 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said 500 positions across all areas of the organization, including corporate and research and development departments, would be cut. In addition to the workforce reduction, the company will close between 40 and 50 of its more than 650 stores; slow new store openings and remodeling; and reduce its 2024 capital expenditures.

Dorel posts another double-digit loss in Q3, but its trajectory is positive

Canadian home furniture supplier Dorel Inds. reported a loss of $10.4 million in the third quarter. Total revenue was $359.7 million, a 3.9% decline from last year. Nine-month revenue was $1.04 billion, a decrease of 15.6% from last year. Despite the loss however, the company is making positive strides. Last quarter, it reported a $16.7 million loss. The quarter before that, it lost $31.5 million. In Dorel Juvenile, the company’s largest segment, it saw a profit. “We are pleased with the progress of our Dorel Juvenile segment as they delivered double-digit revenue growth and an impressive turnaround in earnings,” said Martin Schwartz, CEO. “We are clearly seeing our products winning and delivering market share gains in an industry that was down vs. the prior year. Dorel Home revenues continued to grow, improving sequentially with positive indicators at brick-and-mortar. Given the challenges for consumer products companies overall, our two segments are navigating positively, though we recognize the need for further improvement.”

Jewelry & Luxury

Pandora’s US Sales Bounce Back in Q3

Pandora recorded solid third-quarter results despite the overall decline in jewelry sales, with the brand reporting an uptick in traffic it attributes to the money it’s sunk into marketing. It also noted an “unexpected” increase in demand from tourists, including domestic tourists, a pattern it said may not repeat in Q3 2024. Globally, Pandora’s sales grew 11 percent year-over-year (9 percent on a like-for-like basis) to 5.57 billion Danish kroner ($799.6 million) in the third quarter, the company reported Wednesday. Gross margin hit an all-time high of 79 percent, due to Pandora’s decision to raise prices beginning in late 2022, as well as cost efficiencies and channel mix.

Watches of Switzerland’s Jewelry Sales Sink in Q2

Watches of Switzerland had a rough first half of the year, with jewelry sales down double digits and watch sales virtually flat. CEO Brian Duffy pointed to a “difficult consumer environment” as the company released its second-quarter results Tuesday, while adding that several of the company’s Mappin & Webb showrooms in the United Kingdom have been closed for upgrades though they are set to reopen before the holiday season. Pre-owned watch sales, however, were a bright spot on Watches of Switzerland’s balance sheet, up 80 percent year-over-year in the second quarter. Duffy noted a positive response to the company’s rollout of the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program, launched in the United States in July and in the U.K. in September.

Luxury brands slow to improve transparency as consumer pressure grows

The environmental charity WWF is set to report that the watch and jewelry industry’s sustainability efforts still leave “much to be desired”, five years after it published a damning report highlighting a lack of transparency. The WWF Watch & Jewelry Rating 2023, due to be published tomorrow, assessed 21 watch and jewelry brands according to their sustainability performance. The companies were judged in nine categories, including sustainability strategy, climate action, human rights and traceability, and transparency. The report comes as a growing number of luxury watch companies introduce sustainability policies in a bid to increase the desirability of their products.


Office & Leisure

Central Garden & Pet Acquires Pet Treat Company TDBBS, Strengthens Digital Capabilities

Central Garden & Pet, a market leader in the Pet and Garden industries, announced that it has acquired TDBBS, LLC from Bregal Partners. Based in Richmond, Virginia, TDBBS is a provider of premium natural dog chews and treats. The addition of TDBBS will expand Central’s portfolio with bully and collagen sticks, bones and jerky, and further strengthen Central’s e-commerce and digital capabilities. Since 2008, TDBBS has developed and sold minimally processed dog treats and chews. Each of their three well-known brands (Best Bully Sticks, Barkworthies and Paw Love) offers a wide variety of natural, grain and gluten-free products that are low in fat and high in protein and made from limited ingredients. A pioneer in eCommerce, TDBBS was founded as a digitally native brand with a first-mover advantage. Today, the company’s brands and websites are synonymous with the bully stick category.

Toy Sales Are Declining, but These 3 Categories Have Seen Growth This Year

Inflation has consumers watching their spending, and the penny-pinching is impacting the toy industry. According to Circana, formerly IRI and the NPD Group, U.S. toy industry sales revenue declined by 8 percent through September compared to the same nine-month period in 2022. “After record-high sales during the pandemic, 2023 is a period of rebalance for the toy industry,” said Juli Lennett, U.S. toys industry advisor at Circana. “This situation is further amplified by the fact that consumers’ budgets are facing more headwinds than tailwinds this year. For manufacturers and retailers, a well-thought-out pricing strategy can mean the difference between success and failure closing out the year.” The report also said unit sales were down 9 percent and average selling prices increased 1 percent during the same period. Three of the 11 supercategories posted growth: building sets, mainly driven by LEGO, is up 5 percent; vehicles, led by Hot Wheels, is up 3 percent; and plush, driven by Pokemon, is up 1 percent. While outdoor sports and toys continue to hold to top spot as the highest sales-generating supercategory, it also saw the steepest decline, as unfavorable weather early in the year limited consumer purchases.

The right stuff: How Build-A-Bear is creating a cuddly (and lucrative) empire

While other specialty retailers are currently pointing to macroeconomics to explain falling sales, Build-A-Bear is reporting record-breaking numbers and a growing audience. After a stint of declining sales during the early part of the pandemic, the company is in the midst of a big turnaround. Last year was the most profitable year in Build-A-Bear’s history. “Our record first half 2023 results follow our record-setting results for both 2021 and 2022, and demonstrate our ability to grow the Build-A-Bear brand at a sustainably higher level of profitability,” CEO Sharon Price John said on a call with analysts in late August.  The specialty toy company that helped define experiential retail in the late ’90s has not only survived, but thrived. From inspiring viral moments, generating products that leverage pop culture IP and building a variety of store formats, everyone’s favorite cuddly retailer may be developing an empire.

Technology & Internet

Meta lets Amazon users buy on Facebook, Instagram without leaving apps

Meta doesn’t want you to leave its popular mobile apps when making that impulse Amazon purchase. The company debuted a new feature allowing users to link their Facebook and Instagram accounts to Amazon so they can buy goods by clicking on promotions in their feeds. “For the first time, customers will be able to shop Amazon’s Facebook and Instagram ads and check out with Amazon without leaving the social media apps,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “Customers in the U.S. will see real-time pricing, Prime eligibility, delivery estimates, and product details on select Amazon product ads in Facebook and Instagram as part of the new experience.” Meta is looking for new ways to bolster ad revenue after Apple’s iOS privacy changes in 2021 made it more difficult for social media companies to target users.


PDD’s Temu grows at record pace in Asia, overtaking Shein in app stores

Chinese low-cost retailer Temu is dominating app stores in Japan and South Korea in its category, dethroning rival Shein after its successful expansion in Western markets. “Temu has rapidly expanded its footprint beyond the U.S. and into a number of international geographies and we believe is now available in 40+ countries … where we continue to see opportunities for growth in the quarters ahead,” said Goldman Sachs in an Oct. 4 report. The investment firm estimated that Temu, which is owned by PDD Holdings, “now generates more than $1 billion of [monthly transaction value]” and expects “continued growth into second half 2023.” Its rival Shein was estimated to be on track to hit $30 billion in transaction value in 2022, according to media reports. Temu has overtaken Shein in Japan and South Korea by staying at the top of shopping app rankings in those locations for a longer period of time, according to data.ai analysis shared with CNBC.


Finance & Economy

Average credit card balances top $6,000, a 10-year high, as delinquencies rise

Credit card debt is mounting.  Americans now owe $1.08 trillion on their credit cards, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported.  Balances jumped 15% from a year ago, according to a separate quarterly credit industry insights report from TransUnion, while the average balance per consumer hit $6,088, the highest in 10 years.  Persistent inflation has put many households under financial pressure — more cardholders are carrying debt from month to month or falling behind on payments.  Credit card delinquency rates rose across the board, the New York Fed and TransUnion found.

Bypassing mortgage rates: Share of US homes bought with cash hits highest level in nearly a decade

Homebuyers who can afford to bypass the highest mortgage rates in two decades are increasingly forgoing financing and paying all cash.  Homes purchased entirely with cash, which means there was no reference to a mortgage on the deed, accounted for 34.1% of all sales in September. That’s up from 29.5% a year earlier and the highest share in nearly a decade, according to a Redfin analysis of home sales in 40 of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas.  Still, sharply higher home loan borrowing costs, a dearth of homes for sale and rising home prices have dampened home sales overall, which has helped give a boost to all-cash transactions’ portion of all home sales.