Trending Retail News: Stay Informed with SPAR

a woman holding shopping bags over her shoulder while holding coffee

As we move faster and faster towards the busiest time of year for retail, we at SPAR have been paying extra close attention to the latest retail news stories to shake up the industry. While some retailers struggle, others are doing whatever they can to stand out and draw in as many new and returning customers as possible, so it pays to keep an eye on the news and be aware of what’s going on! We make it easy for you- keep reading to learn more about some of the most interesting retail news stories we’ve read about recently!

Forever 21 Prepares to File for Bankruptcy

According to several reports, the young adult clothing retailer Forever 21 may be headed towards its final days. Reports state that the retailer, which has more than 800 stores in over 50 countries, is preparing for a potential bankruptcy filing, having recently hired a team of advisers to help restructure their debt and financing. This type of agreement would make it easier for the company to renegotiate rent, as many of its stores are located in malls across the country. Forever 21 follows a number of other teen and young adult clothing retailers to struggle in the past few years- Delia’s, American Apparel, and Aeropostale all faced a similar outcome not too long ago. Some analysts believe that the company’s decision to expand to larger and larger spaces may have led to their current situation, as well as their expansion into multiple brand categories that may have overwhelmed their consumer base. The talk of bankruptcy hasn’t yet been confirmed by Forever 21, so this is definitely a story worth following as we move into the fall shopping season.

Robots Arrive in Walmart Stores

In July, we reported that Walmart had begun its autonomous grocery delivery service, using self-driving cars to bring grocery orders from its main warehouses in Arkansas to its stores to be picked up by customers. The company has recently taken retail technology a step further- you now might encounter a robot as you explore the aisles of your local Walmart! The company began testing for this project in 2017, and they recently announced that robots will soon roam the floors of 350 Walmart stores in the US. These robots will fulfill different tasks, from scrubbing floors to scanning inventory on store shelves. The shelf-scanning robots are designed to identify shelves with items that are out of stock, leaving Walmart employees to simply restock these specific shelves rather than go through the entire store checking each one. The company behind Walmart’s new automated workforce, Bossa Nova, stated that using Walmart as a “life-sized laboratory” will help expand knowledge on this technology and the dynamics of human-robot interactions.

Disney and Target Team Up

Two of the biggest companies in the United States are coming together to provide a new experience for shoppers- Disney recently announced that they’ll be opening Disney stores in 25 Target locations across the United States. These new stores will function as “shop-in-shop” experiences, taking up an average of 750 square feet near Target’s kids’ clothing and toy departments. These Disney shops will feature over 450 items, including merchandise that was previously only available at Disney stores. Target shoppers will find items featuring Disney characters, Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Junior, and more. The mini stores will also have family seating areas, interactive displays, and photo opportunities. According to Target CEO Brian Cornell, “we know there’s a very strong overlap between both Disney fans and Target shoppers so we’re looking forward to reaching Disney fans when and where they want to shop.” The brands see this as an opportunity to come together and best serve their fans/shoppers, and there are plans to add Disney stores to another 40 Target locations by October of next year.

SPAR’s Take

As our blog continues to explore the changes happening in retail – this issue demonstrates the three biggest challenges facing our industry.  The first story illustrates a retailer that made two errors at the same time – ignoring the trend that the internet is playing in fashion and expanding their stores and selection. Forever 21 store size has become a significant problem for them in a time when many retailers are going the other way – shrinking footprint and enhancing their online presence. 

Meanwhile, Walmart continues to lead the way on the tech front – and this is most troubling for our business – these robots are executing the tasks that companies like SPAR are hired to do. While this is no doubt a challenge – it forces us to look at ways to offer increased value and potentially pivoting our business to services that cannot be automated.

And finally – partnerships.  We have discussed them in other issues – and this one is no different – two behemoths joining forces is good for the consumer and absolutely the way the retail world is shifting and changing.

Expand Your Retail Impact with Help from SPAR

Staying on top of trending retail news can help you make the right choices for your store, and SPAR can help! As experts in retail merchandising, we are proud to use our expertise to provide merchandising solutions, assembly & installation services, new store sets & remodels, and programmatic services, all aimed at bringing success to your store. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and the level of transparency we provide to those we work with, and we want to add you and your store to that list! To learn more about how SPAR can bring your retail store to the next level, please contact us today.