The Weekly Consensus

CGBS Presenter Profile: JTV

George Papanicolaou

We are excitedly counting down the months and weeks until the return of the Consensus Great Brands Show (CGBS), which will take place September 13th, at the New York Times TimesCenter 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 a different company 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.

In some ways, jewelry is unique among consumer products. First, every piece is three-dimensional art, created by people with an eye for, and deep training in, jewelry design. Moreover, the creation of the product is a multi-step manufacturing process, from cutting and polishing stones, to casting rings, bracelets and necklaces, to setting expensive stones in place. But the real differentiator is the raw material: gemstones and precious metals are rare gifts from the earth. These stones and metals have provenance; they come from somewhere unique, and they were forged under unique geologic circumstances. Because of this, jewelry is romantic and special, and is best sold with artful storytelling. And no one tells the story better than JTV (Jewelry Television).

JTV is one of the largest jewelry businesses in the U.S., and its programming reaches televisions in over 80 million U.S. and Canadian households. While it was originally founded as a home shopping network, the company now has multiple selling channels, with a robust ecommerce website serving customers who increasingly want to shop online. Indeed, most of JTV’s sales emanate from its ecommerce business these days. Beyond its storytelling expertise and sales reach, JTV is one of the world’s most efficient jewelry sourcing and manufacturing organizations. Because of this, JTV can price its products at extremely competitive prices while maintaining high quality and yielding a strong margin.

JTV is already a multi-hundred-million-dollar revenue company, but it is still expanding its reach and meeting customers in different channels. Tim Matthews, JTV’s CEO, said “we are a mature, sophisticated company that approaches life like a startup.” This underscores the adaptive mindset of the company. Matthews added, “Evolving with our customers in our channel reach is in our DNA.”

One example of this evolution is Jedora – the company’s newly launched online marketplace featuring third-party jewelry brands, offering over $1 billion of products at retail. Jedora allows the expansion to new categories and customers, while delivering additional scale. It also allows third-party brands to access its online reach with massive potential.

As JTV continues to display its innovative approach to jewelry retailing, we are excited to welcome them to the Consensus Great Brands Show stage.

Before seeing them at the show, please check out their websites:,, and

Apparel & Footwear

David’s Bridal Avoids Shutdown With Court-approved Sale

The sale of the bankrupt national retailer David’s Bridal to Cion Investment Corp. was approved in a Trenton, New Jersey, court hearing.  The 11th-hour deal spared David’s Bridal from complete demise. Based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and founded more than 70 years ago, the chain had as many as 300-plus stores primarily in the U.S., including select outposts in Canada and the U.K. and franchised locations in Mexico. Once the leading bridal retailer in North America, David’s Bridal was officially shopping for a buyer in February and it filed for bankruptcy in April. The company then announced plans to lay off 9,236 employees — the bulk of its workforce — at that time. David’s Bridal, which specializes in affordable wedding gowns, accessories, bridal party attire and special occasionwear, saw sales slide due to the pandemic slowdown, the rise of online shopping, inflation concerns, increased competition and some Millennials’ and Gen Zers’ preference for upcycled dresses. The alliance with Cion was reportedly a no-cash transaction that will enable David’s Bridal to keep 195 stores up-and-running. The sale has reportedly decreased the national chain’s debt from $256.9 million to approximately $50 million. Under the new arrangement, roughly 7,000 to 10,000 employees are expected to keep their jobs.

Hari Mari Prepares Lawsuit Against J.Crew for Allegedly Copying Two Patents

Hari Mari is preparing to take legal action against J.Crew for allegedly copying two of its footwear patents. In a statement sent to FN, the Dallas-based footwear brand said it intends to defend these patents that are “crucial to preserving its distinction and uniqueness in the premium footwear and sandal market.” Hari Mari co-founder Lila Stewart confirmed to FN that a lawsuit is in the works and will be filed in the brand’s home state of Texas. According to the company, what’s at issue is Hari Mari’s patented memory foam encased toe post that fits between the wearer’s first and second toes, which the brand designed and patented through a seven-year application process with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), securing its first patent on the design in 2018, followed by a second in 2021. Hari Mari is claiming that J.Crew and other larger brands have started to mimic the design in their own footwear, after carrying Hari Mari’s products in their stores. “We use it across all our lines for both men and women, so you’ll find it on every pair we produce,” Stewart said.


Over 400 jobs saved as Hotter Shoes rescued out of administration by WoolOvers Group

Over 400 jobs have been saved after footwear retailer Hotter Shoes was rescued by WoolOvers Group out of administration for £6.7m. The Skelmersdale-headquartered company was the main trading subsidiary of AIM-listed Unbound Group. Will Wright and Rick Harrison from Interpath Advisory were appointed joint administrators of Beaconsfield Footwear Limited, which trades as Hotter Shoes, on July 18. Interpath Advisory said Hotter Shoes has been “adversely affected by difficult trading conditions” in the retail environment, and despite taking steps to address costs across the business, “creditor pressure continued to increase”. The firm added that following an “extensive exploration of options, it became clear that it would not be possible to conclude a transaction on a solvent basis” and as such, the directors took steps to seek the appointment of administrators. Immediately following their appointment, the joint administrators concluded a sale of the business and certain assets to an entity controlled by WoolOvers Group. As part of the sale, all 421 employees and 27 stores and concessions have transferred across to the purchaser.

Cuup acquired by FullBeauty Brands

Marking another acquisition for the company, FullBeauty Brands has acquired size-inclusive intimates brand Cuup, according to a company press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cuup will be added to FullBeauty’s digital mall by the fall, which currently features other brands within its portfolio such as Eloquii, June+Vie and Swimsuits for All. Insights and data from Cuup will enable FullBeauty to better inform how it designs its new digital mall. The transaction allows FullBeauty to continue its growth in the intimates category with a focus on reaching a new customer demographic. The company said in details emailed to Retail Dive that FullBeauty has an annual revenue of $1 billion and serves 5 million active customers. FullBeauty is hoping to capitalize on Cuup’s core customer base to expand its reach to a younger demographic.  Cuup is a digitally native intimates brand with a special focus on the large bra cup market. FullBeauty’s latest acquisition comes just a few months after it bought plus-size fashion brand Eloquii.



Athletic & Sporting Goods

Sports drink entrepreneur Mike Repole takes majority stake in sneaker brand Nobull

The man who turned Vitaminwater and BodyArmor into household beverage names is turning his attention to the sneaker industry.  Mike Repole’s private equity firm will buy a majority stake in the company Nobull, he told CNBC on Thursday. It’s the first significant investment for Impact Capital, the private equity arm of Repole’s family office.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Repole said it’s his biggest investment in a brand to date.  Nobull is a training brand founded in 2015 by former Reebok executives Marcus Wilson and Michael Schaeffer. The Boston-based company employs about 100 people across the U.S., U.K. and China, and sells its sneakers and apparel primarily online.

Rapala VMC Corporation Increases Its Stake in 13 Fishing

Rapala VMC Corporation and James Coble, current majority shareholder of DQC International, which manufactures and markets 13 Fishing rods and reels, have reached an agreement in which Rapala VMC will increase its ownership of DQC International to 60% of the Florida-based company while Coble will retain a 40% share of the company. Rapala VMC introduced 13 Fishing ( freshwater, saltwater and hard water (ice fishing) rods and reels to markets outside the United States following the 49% acquisition in DQC International in 2019. Rapala VMC will continue to invest in the marketing and product development of the 13 Fishing brand with the intent of building brand loyalty for 13 Fishing among retailers and consumers around the world, including the United States.

Cosmetics & Pharmacy

Oddity starts trading with a 35% debut pop

Oddity Tech, the beauty and wellness company that uses AI to develop cosmetics and has former Israeli defense officials on staff, debuted on the public markets with a 35% pop Wednesday as the IPO market heats up. The direct-to-consumer platform behind the Il Makiage and Spoiled Child brands saw its stock close at $47.53 per share after pricing its IPO at $35 per share Tuesday night. That was above a previously set range of $32 to $34 per share.  Oddity and its shareholders, which include private equity powerhouse L Catterton, raised about $424 million in the deal.

Coty Agrees to Sell $150M of Its Retained Wella Stake

Coty will sell a 3.6% stake in Wella for $150 million, subject to the completion of due diligence, reflecting a 4% premium to the book value of Wella as of March 31, 2023. Following this transaction, which is expected to close in the next two months subject to certain closing conditions (including the approval of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (“KKR”)), Coty will retain a 22.3% stake in Wella with an implied valuation of approximately $900 million. The announced transaction advances the Company’s objectives to actively deleverage, including reaching its target of driving leverage towards 3x exiting CY23.

L Catterton Invests in Irene Forte Skincare

Irene Forte Skincare, a Certified B-Corp in high-performance natural skincare, has received a minority investment from leading global consumer focused investment firm L Catterton to support the band’s global expansion. This investment fuels the next stage of growth for Irene Forte in Europe and the US as the brand expands into luxury retailers and online partners.  Irene Forte founded the brand in 2018 and has since experienced 100% growth over the year, with 50% customer retention rate amongst e-commerce shoppers. Irene Forte is found online through Farfetch and Amazon Luxury.

Estee Lauder hit by hack, some business operations affected

Cosmetics maker Estee Lauder on Tuesday said a hacker had obtained some data from its systems, with the cyber incident causing, and expected to further cause, disruption to parts of the company’s business operations. The firm said it was working to understand the nature and scope of the data that was stolen. It did not reveal further details about the impact on its operations.


Discounters & Department Stores

Ross moves closer to 100 store openings goal this year

Ross Stores opened 27 new stores from June through this week, the retailer said. The company recently opened 18 Ross Dress for Less stores and nine DD’s Discounts stores in 14 states. The company said in an announcement that the new locations are part of its plans to add 100 new stores – 75 Ross and 25 DD’s Discounts – in the 2023 fiscal year.

Macy’s unveils first brand in private label revamp

Macy’s unveiled its first new private label since the revamp of its owned brand strategy, an effort that will continue through 2025. The women’s apparel brand, “On 34th,” will be available starting Aug. 17 at Macy’s stores and online. The collection has more than 750 SKUs and 250 unique styles, designed to be easily mixed and matched. Prices range from $18.50 to $300, and sizing ranges from XXS to 4X and 0 to 26W, per a company press release. On 34th will add shoes to the spring 2024 collection.

Dollar General seeks to increase supplier diversity

Dollar General is seeking vendors to step forward in an effort to diversify its supplier network. The discount retailer said in an announcement one goal of the supplier diversity initiative is to mitigate or remove unintended barriers for diverse suppliers. By doing this, the company wants to increase representation in its communities.

Walmart rolls out half-price Walmart+ memberships for people on government assistance

People who qualify for government assistance through programs like SNAP now may also qualify for a half-price Walmart+ membership, the retailer announced. Walmart+ Assist offers customers on certain government assistance programs 50% off a monthly or annual Walmart+ paid membership plan. Qualifying members will pay $6.47 per month or $49 per year. The regular price is $98 annually. Benefits under Walmart+ include free shipping and grocery delivery, gas discounts and video streaming with Paramount+.



Emerging Consumer Companies

Hyperice secures $100 million+ strategic growth capital from Atlas Credit Partners

Atlas Credit Partners has invested over $100 million in Hyperice, a high-performance wellness brand. The investment will support Hyperice’s mission to improve physical movement and help people live better. Hyperice has recently introduced several new products, including the Hypervolt Go 2, Normatec 3, Normatec Go, Venom 2, and Venom Go. The company was also named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America. The CEO of Hyperice, Jim Huether, expressed excitement about the partnership with Atlas Credit Partners and their plans for growth.

Musinsa, Korean fashion platform, raises $190 million Series C led by KKR

Seoul-based fashion marketplace Musinsa has raised $190 million in a Series C funding round led by KKR, valuing the company at approximately $2.76 billion. The funding will be used to scale Musinsa’s online and offline business, expand into overseas markets, hire additional staff, and make acquisitions. The company, which offers more than 8,000 local and foreign fashion brands to 13 million users, recorded $545 million in sales in 2022. Musinsa’s IPO plans are still in the early stages. This investment marks KKR’s first technology growth investment in South Korea as part of its next-generation technology strategy.



Food & Beverage

Keurig Dr Pepper pays $300M for 33% stake in La Colombe, strikes licensing deal

Keurig Dr Pepper entered into a strategic partnership with La Colombe that includes a sales and distribution agreement for its drinks and a licensing, manufacturing and distribution deal for its coffee pods.  Keurig Dr Pepper also will spend $300 million to buy a 33% stake in La Colombe, making the beverage giant the second largest investor in La Colombe behind its majority owner and Chobani founder, Hamdi Ulukaya.  The investment in La Colombe is the latest deal in recent years where the soda and coffee manufacturer purchases a stake in a fast-growing brand, enabling it to increase its exposure to trendy beverages and participate in their growth.

Brynwood Advances Carveout Strategy with Acquisition of Marie’s

Private Equity firm Brynwood Partners announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Marie’s salad dressing brand and Dean’s Dip businesses from Ventura Foods, LLC, as well as the Thornton, Illinois facility where the products are manufactured. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  The two brands will operate under newly formed Chicago-based West Madison Foods, a vehicle Brynwood established to run and own both brands. The Illinois plant, which employs approximately 84 full-time employees, will continue supporting the business following the acquisition.  Established in 1959, Marie’s produces a wide range of salad dressings, dips and spreads, including a plant-based line of dressings that launched in 2021.

Nestlé debuts ‘breakthrough’ technology that reduces sugars in key ingredients

Nestlé introduced what it described as a “versatile and cost-effective” sugar reduction technology that can be used in different product categories.   The Switzerland-based food maker said its “breakthrough technology” uses an enzymatic process to reduce intrinsic sugar in ingredients such as malt, milk and fruit juices by up to 30%, with a minimal impact on taste and texture. Despite aiming to cut back on sugar consumption, many shoppers and food manufacturers still value the popular sweetener. Nearly two-thirds of global consumers think sugar is important in food and drink because it tastes good.



Grocery & Restaurants

Quiznos, Taco del Mar, Church’s parent High Bluff Buys Hardee’s Units

High Bluff Capital Partners, the parent company of Quiznos, Taco Del Mar, and Church’s Texas Chicken has agreed to buy 81 Hardee’s locations following a court-approved auction of assets of Summit Restaurant Holdings, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May. The sale hearing for the restaurants is set for July 18 and the sale itself is expected to close in August, according to a release from High Bluff. The Hardee’s restaurants are located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Wyoming. High Bluff said the purchase was in line with its strategy of “investing in iconic consumer-facing brands, with a strong presence in historically underserved markets, that have the opportunity for significant growth and value creation.” High Bluff founder Anand Gowda said Hardee’s, a quick-service chain franchised by CKE Restaurant Holdings, which also franchises quick-service Carl’s Jr., fits into that mold.

Chipotle signs its first franchise agreement to expand internationally

Chipotle has signed its first development agreement to open restaurants in the Middle East, starting in Dubai and Kuwait in early 2024. In partnership with franchisee Alshaya Group, the agreement also targets additional markets across the region. The news marks the first time Chipotle has partnered with a local franchise operator as it expands its footprint. Currently, Chipotle’s international presence includes 33 locations in Canada, 15 in the United Kingdom with three more planned this summer, six locations in France and two in Germany. In North America, Chipotle operates over 3,200 locations with a target of 8-to-10% growth per year, and a long-term target of 7,000 restaurants. Alshaya Group, first established in Kuwait in 1890, has a presence across MENA, Türkiye and Europe, and a foodservice portfolio that includes Starbucks, P.F. Chang’s, Pinkberry, Shake Shack, and the Cheesecake Factory. It also operates in the fashion, health and beauty, pharmacy, home furnishings, and leisure and entertainment sectors.

Potbelly inks 27-unit Maryland deal with company founder Bryant Keil

Potbelly Corp., the sandwich chain, has finalized a 27-shop agreement in Maryland with the company’s founder Bryant Keil and his son Hampden, the company said Wednesday. The Chicago-based sandwich brand said the agreement grants Keil exclusive territory rights in seven Maryland counties — Washington, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George, Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s — to develop 15 new Potbelly shops in the next eight years. Additionally, Potbelly will refranchise 12 existing restaurant locations as part of the deal. Keil first purchased Potbelly in 1996, when it was a single antique shop in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. As CEO, he expanded the company to 250 locations by 2008. Today, Potbelly has more than 425 locations.

Home & Road

Lowe’s targets rural communities with big rollout of in-store Petco shops

Lowe’s plans to introduce its Petco store-within-a-store concept in 300 locations by the end of 2023. The two retailers are expanding their pilot program to open in-store Petco shops inside Lowe’s from 15 Lowe’s stores to nearly 300 locations by year-end, with a focus on rural communities.  The branded in-store Petco shops will carry a range of products from nutrition and supplies to flea and tick solutions, with a mix that includes Petco private brands as well as national ones. The retailer’s Vetco Clinics, offering vaccinations, microchipping and preventative medicine, will be available once a month at 75 Lowe’s stores and will be staffed by a licensed veterinarian. The expansion is part of Lowe’s broader rural strategy to tailor its assortment in up to 300 stores to include everything needed for farm and home. Expanded rural store assortments will include feed, pet and outdoor products such as troughs, an expanded trailer selection, farm implements, livestock fencing and more.

HOUZZ Barometer: Professionals Anticipate Growth in Q3

According to Houzz, demand is trending up for construction in Q3. Houzz Inc. has released the Q3 2023 Houzz U.S. Renovation Barometer. The Barometer tracks residential renovation market expectations, project backlogs and recent activity among businesses in the U.S. construction sector and the architectural and design services sector. Fielded from June 22 through July 1, 2023, the Barometer provides timely insights into the impact of recent economic volatility on the home improvement market. Slightly more professionals across sectors anticipate business growth rather than declines in the third quarter of 2023, following slowed activity and homeowner requests to postpone or reduce the scope of their projects in the first half of the year. Backlogs have lengthened across the construction sector to a record high of 13 weeks, up 2.5 weeks compared to the same period last year. In fact, construction businesses in the New England region report wait times of 21.8 weeks before they can begin work on a new midsize project.

High-design brand acquires premium teak furnishings producer

Landscape Forms, a North American designer and manufacturer of high-design site furniture, structure, LED lighting and accessories, has acquired Summit Furniture, maker of handcrafted, sustainable, outdoor teak furnishings for the residential, hospitality and marine markets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Headquartered in Monterey, Calif., with locations in Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Monaco and London, Summit Furniture has produced premium teak furniture for more than 40 years. Summit will remain a standalone business, becoming part of Landscape Forms’ portfolio of brands, which also includes Loll Designs and Kornegay Design.

Jewelry & Luxury

Zales, Rocksbox partner on jewelry rental

Signet Jewelers announced the launch of a new fine jewelry rental program across two of its banners — Zales and Rocksbox. The program is tailored to offer shoppers affordable fine jewelry options for special occasions including weddings. The rental program is available by appointment at select Zales stores in 50 markets, according to a company press release. Shoppers will be able to browse an assortment of jewelry online ahead of their appointment through a digital lookbook, according to the company.

Quality Gold Cancels IPO

Quality Gold Inc. has canceled its plans to go public. The Fairfield, Ohio-based supplier announced in October 2022 that it was slated to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Tastemaker Acquisition Corp., but axed the plans last month, as per court documents. A SPAC is a company created to raise capital for the sole purpose of acquiring or merging with another company, sometimes referred to as a blank-check company. However, the SPAC market has been experiencing a slowdown, with only a few blank-check companies going public this year.


Office & Leisure

WildBrain Completes House of Cool Acquisition

WildBrain has closed its previously announced acquisition of House of Cool, a pre-production company in the global animation industry. A strategic extension of WildBrain’s focus on creative excellence, the acquisition significantly expands and enhances WildBrain’s pre-production capabilities for premium animated series, specials and features. House of Cool executives and co-founders, Wes Lui and Ricardo Curtis, have joined the WildBrain Studios senior management team in the newly created roles of co-general managers of House of Cool. “We’re delighted to close our acquisition of House of Cool and to officially welcome Wes, Ricardo and their talented team to WildBrain,” says Josh Scherba, president and chief executive officer, WildBrain. “House of Cool is recognized as one of the very best pre-production houses in the global animation industry, and this highly complementary acquisition meaningfully broadens and deepens WildBrain’s capabilities for both our own and partner productions.”

Gamified e-learning platform Kahoot gets acquired in a $1.7B deal led by Goldman Sachs, Lego and more

Big moves ahead for Kahoot, the Oslo startup that’s built a popular platform for users to create, share and play education-focused “games”, played by billions of students and adults over the years. The company has announced that it is going fully private in an all-cash PE deal at 35 NOK per share, valuing Kahoot at $1.7 billion (17.2 billion Norwegian kroner) based on 492,836,049 shares issued and outstanding. The private equity division of Goldman Sachs Assets Management is leading the acquisition, with existing Kahoot backers General Atlantic (currently its largest shareholder), LEGO Group’s KIRKBI Invest A/S (“KIRKBI”) and Glitrafjord (controlled by Kahoot CEO Eilert Hanoa) named as the other major shareholders in the deal. Unnamed other investors and management also will have stakes in Kahoot. The deal represents a premium on Kahoot’s publicly traded shares — specifically 53.1% to the closing price on the Oslo Stock Exchange on 22nd May 2023 (when it was NOK 22.86). However, it’s a major step down from the company’s highest valuation at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as such it represents one more example of how tech companies are struggling in the economic climate for financing even as they grow.

Barbie is all the buzz this summer — and retailers hope it will make cautious consumers spend

In the middle of Manhattan, shoppers can step inside a life-size Barbie box; strike a pose by a hot pink slide; and browse earrings, dresses and candles inspired by the iconic plastic doll. The pop-up shop inside the Bloomingdale’s flagship store is just one example of how retailers are trying to cash in on the buzz ahead of the release of “Barbie” from Warner Bros. Discovery. More than 100 brands, including Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, Crocs and Gap, have licensing agreements or other deals with toy maker Mattel to sell Barbie-themed fashion, beauty, accessories and more. Many of those items cater to adults who want to channel childhood memories by donning bright pink heels or lounging on a pool floatie that looks like it came out of a Barbie dreamhouse. With a splash of hot pink, retailers hope to chase away the summer doldrums and inflation blues. The Barbie merchandise, while hatched months ago leading up to the movie, speaks to how retailers have had to work harder and get creative to catch shoppers’ attention and convince them to pay full price.

Technology & Internet

Delivery Hero doubles down on Middle East with Saudi deal

Delivery Hero, the German online food delivery company, said Friday that it is taking full ownership of its Saudi subsidiary in a transaction valued at $297 million. The company said it has bought the remaining 37% stake in HungerStation, which operates Delivery Hero in Saudi Arabia — in a deal that represents an effort from the Berlin-headquartered firm to expand its presence in the Middle Eastern food delivery market. “We believe in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision, ambition and potential, and are committed to contributing to its ongoing success through HungerStation,” Niklas Östberg, CEO and Co-Founder of Delivery Hero, said in a statement. Delivery Hero is one of Europe’s biggest food delivery companies, commanding a $10 billion market value. The firm has had troubles in its home market of Germany, where it was forced to quit in December 2021 after losing out to Netherlands-based Just Eat Food delivery is an intensely competitive sector with multiple companies operating in the space. This has led to inevitable consolidation, with various companies acquiring competitors to achieve scale. HungerStation connects more than 10,000 partners, including restaurants and grocery stores, with customers.


Amazon to add pay-by-palm tech to all Whole Foods stores by year end

Amazon will let shoppers pay with their palms at all Whole Foods stores by the end of the year, the company announced Thursday. Amazon One is a biometric technology that lets users enter and pay for items at stores by placing a palm over a scanning device. Shoppers first have to connect their palm to a stored credit card. After that, they can pay by simply waving their hand over the kiosk. The company first introduced the technology in its Go cashierless stores, but later began adding it to Whole Foods supermarkets. Amazon One is now in more than 200 Whole Foods locations, and the company said it will be available in all of the upscale grocer’s roughly 500 stores in the coming months. Amazon said Thursday it’s seeing “growing demand” for the technology, with it recording 3 million uses of Amazon One. The company has increasingly marketed its physical store technologies to third parties as part of a unit that now sits under its Amazon Web Services cloud division. Amazon has signed deals with airport stores, sports stadiums and concert venues to install its palm-based payment tech and cashierless checkout system, called Just Walk Out.


Finance & Economy

Goldman Sachs cuts odds of a U.S. recession in the next year

Goldman Sachs revised down the odds of a U.S. recession happening in the next 12 months, cutting the probability down to 20% from 25% on the back of positive economic activity.  The investment bank’s chief economist, Jan Hatzius, cited a slew of better-than-expected economic data in a research report.  “The main reason for our cut is that the recent data have reinforced our confidence that bringing inflation down to an acceptable level will not require a recession,” he said. The chief economist cited resilient U.S. economic activity, saying second-quarter GDP growth was tracking at 2.3%. The rebound in consumer sentiment and unemployment levels falling to 3.6% in June also added to Goldman’s optimism.  The U.S. economy expanded 2% at an annualized pace in the first quarter. Last Thursday, data from the Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims fell to 239,000 for the week ended June 24, well below estimates of 264,000 and marking a 26,000 decline from the previous week.

Americans bump up spending in June as inflation eases in a strong jobs market

Americans increased their spending last month as inflation eased in many areas, and the job market remained remarkably strong.  Retail sales rose 0.2% from May to June, following a revised 0.5% increase the previous month, the Commerce Department reported.  The figure matched the pace of consumer inflation in June from the prior month, underscoring that shoppers are just about keeping up with pricing pressures. While the headline number of 0.2% was a bit weaker than expected, economists focused on data that excludes volatile autos, gas, building materials and food services, which rose a solid 0.6% in June. That 0.6% figure is used to help calculate overall economic growth in the U.S., and it was a pretty strong showing in June.

UPS and Teamsters to meet ahead of looming strike

Negotiations will resume between UPS and the Teamsters union, which represents 340,000 UPS workers, ahead of a looming nationwide strike. This will be the first time the two sides have met since they walked away from the negotiating table following a marathon negotiating session over the July 4 weekend. “As thousands of UPS Teamsters practice picket, rally, and mobilize around the country, UPS bowed today to the overwhelming show of Teamster unity and reached out to the union to resume negotiations. The Teamsters National Negotiating Committee and the company will set dates soon to resume negotiations next week,” the UPS Teamsters said in a statement about the renewed negotiations. UPS is urging quick action to finalize the deal.