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Retail Watch: Holiday, Online & Experiential

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Online holiday shopping sales hit a record $108 billion last year, per ORIS Intelligence. The research firm identifies Amazon Prime Day, the 36 hour-long global shopping event, as the leading such event, beating out Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined. And with greater sales comes an increase in pricing parity: ORIS observed a 313% increase in new violations on Prime Day 2017 versus the 2 weeks prior, and sellers on undercut Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) by an average of 13% during that period.

Per the NPD Group, online spending on toys by grandparents has increased 2x faster than by other consumer segments in the past year, and the segment are responsible for 25% of overall U.S. toy spend (or $7 billion out of $28 billion). Over one-third of purchases were for kids aged 2-4 years-old. Just about 85% of American grandparents shopped in a physical store in the last 12 months, while 72% also shopped online. As a ground, grandparents spend 3.5x more on toys online than they do in-store.

CSC Generation Holdings, which scooped up the IP behind bankrupted retailer Bon-Ton and brought several of its banners back as online stores, is now planning to resurrect the company in brick-and-mortar formats. The company will create smaller stores in different formats and plans to open 100 or more locations nationwide in the coming years.

Sixty retailers including IKEA, Costco, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, and Home Depot have confirmed that their stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, according to

About 67% of U.S. retailers aim to hire the same number or more of seasonal staffers this year and 63% said they’ll also give existing employees more hours during the holidays, according to a Korn Ferry survey. Nearly 25% weren’t able to fill all their seasonal jobs last year.

Amazon opens a new store format, Amazon 4-star, in New York’s Soho neighborhood. Unlike its other physical concepts, the location features consumer goods like home goods and toys rather than books. Every offering is rated four stars or above, is a top seller, or is new and trending on

Also in New York, Unilever-owned hair, skin and body brand Dove and coffee and doughnut chain Dunkin’ (whose recent makeover involved clipping the “Donuts” part of its name) launch the one-time Dove X Dunkin’ Styling Cafe in the Flatiron district. The location offers visiters free styling appointments using Dove’s dry shampoo products, as well as complimentary Dunkin’ coffees and Dove x Dunkin’ merch giveaways including tote bags, hair ties, and travel cups.

Good Housekeeping magazine and Amazon partner on a 2,800 sq. ft. pop-up retail store, called GH Lab, which will be open for three months through Dec. 30 at Minneapolis’ Mall of America. The collection spans a range of over 40 products across wellness, beauty, lifestyle, smart home, kitchen, and toys. All products have been tested in the GH Institute.


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