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Quarterly recap: Q2’s top retail news and trends from SmartBrief

Read about the biggest news and trends from SmartBrief's Q2 coverage of the retail industry.

2 min read


Quarterly recap: Q2’s top retail news and trends from SmartBrief


Retail news did not slow down as the first half of the year came to a close. Following our Q1 recap, the top 25 stories from SmartBrief’s retail newsletters in the second quarter included big news like Best Buy’s brand refresh and the loss of beloved designer Kate Spade, but there were also some recurring themes that drew attention from readers:

Successfully capturing younger shoppers is easier said than done — Even retail behemoth Amazon has trouble figuring out how best to appeal to Generation Z shoppers, many of whom eschew private labels for trendy pieces and prefer the in-store experience to shopping online. Meanwhile, fast-fashion player H&M is trying its hand at bridal in a bid to appeal to cost-conscious millennial brides. Its Wedding Shop launched in Q2, offering bridal gowns starting at $129 and bridesmaid dresses starting at $59.99.

Innovations in the physical store — News of tech giant Apple’s newest store designed to be a gathering space for consumers drew SB retail readers in Q2, as did Walmart’s move toward a more casual employee dress code and Gap’s use of data and tech tools to make the most of its in-store staffing. Macy’s acquisition of concept shop Story gave readers some insight into the department store retailer’s future plans for its stores, and Nordstrom opened its long-awaited full-line men’s store that mixes high-tech and high-touch retail.

Rethinking shopper loyalty — SmartBrief’s retail readers also had shopper loyalty on the brain in the second quarter. News of Macy’s expanding its Star Rewards loyalty program to all shoppers ranked among the top 25 stories, as did Target’s test of a new card-free loyalty program in Texas. Kohl’s also announced a test of a revamped loyalty program last quarter with a focus on simplifying its existing loyalty offerings.

To read more about these trends and others that touch on news covering partnerships with Amazon, experiments in digital shopping, shifting retail strategies and more, download the full list of SmartBrief’s top 25 retail stories from Q2. And be on the lookout for our Q3 roundup coming in the fall to find out how back-to-school, summer shopping and other major news continue to shape the year for retail.