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Editor’s Picks: Top Retail News of the Week

Below you’ll find a recap of the Top 3 Retail News Stories from this week as hand-selected by RETHINK Retail editors. To hear these topics discussed by industry experts, tune into our Retail Rundown podcast aired each Monday. Listen in on any of your favorite podcast apps.



  • The winners of this year’s Adobe Analytics Challenge have some solid suggestions for Nike.


  • Meanwhile, Gap, Kohl’s and H&M are among the many retailers that have signed on to Group Nine Media’s new commerce platform.


  • And, this just in: Euro fashion brand Bebe is making moves in an unexpected retail vertical.


More on these stories:

Nike & AAC

In a play to improve its digital game, Nike agreed to be the corporate partner for this year’s Adobe Analytics Challenge. The 15-year-old competition gave university student teams across the globe access to evaluate data from Nike’s digital site. The winning team from the Indian Institute of Technology had suggestions for how Nike could redesign its website, improve engagement on social media, and focus better on likely buyers.

As part of the Gen Z team’s redesign, it recommended a feature called “Journey Tour” for 1st-time users that replicates the experience of walking into a physical store.

The redesign also included a chat bot that would mimic a store associate. For engagement, the team recommended creating a “social hub” as a networking site that would
incentivize users to create an account in order to receive discounts and benefits.


Bebe & Buddy’s

In what might be one of the most unusual deals we’ve reported on, Euro-fashion brand Bebe has purchased 47 of Buddy’s Home Furnishings rent-to-own franchises. The $22 million + 1.5 million share deal also includes the rights to “additional franchises in protected geographies” in the Southeastern U.S. Buddy’s owner the Franchise Group said the agreement includes plans for Bebe to open an additional 20 new Buddy’s locations.

In 2017, Bebe closed all of its physical stores and expanded its partnership with the brand management company Bluestar Alliance by turning over its intellectual property rights, international wholesale agreements and e-commerce URLs to their joint venture. Bebe’s CEO Manny Mashouf called the recent deal with Buddy’s “a transformational acquisition” that diversifies its profit stream and “better utilizes existing net operating loss carryforwards.”

Read more on this news here.


Swipe. Shop

In an effort to bridge the gap between mass retail and small business, Group Nine Media has launched its new Swipe.Shop mobile commerce platform on its websites,  including NowThis, The Dodo, Popsugar, Thrillist and Seeker.

Gap, H&M and Kohl’s are among the numerous retailers that have opened mobile storefronts using Swipe.Shop while Group Nine has committed that 50% of all Swipe.Shop products will be from small business owners.

The media company will promote the Swipe.Shop stores among its social channels and on out-of-home (OOH) billboards and taxi tops in New York City. The company will also provide 20 million impressions’ worth of free advertising space to 10 small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.



Some good news, shall we? 


  • The NRF last week reported good news for the industry. Retail sales in the United States grew for the 6th month in a row in October, with sales significantly better than the same time in 2019.


  • Starbucks is raising hourly wages. Starting Dec. 14, baristas, shift supervisors and cafe attendants hired before Sept. 24 will receive a pay increase of at least 10%.


  • As of last week, Walgreens customers can now order and pick up health and wellness products from its stores in 30 minutes or less. Walgreens’s mobile app also now features a broad range of health and wellness services, including a 24/7 pharmacy chat, medical care booking and vaccination appointments.


  • Over in China, one of its largest department stores, InTime, which is owned by Alibaba, has seen retail sales recover compared to a year ago with about 20% of sales currently coming from the online channel according to its CEO as reported by CNBC last week.