Walmart will raise its starting hourly wage to $14 from $12 and increase the top of the range to $19 throughout the US to better compete for store staffers in a tight labor market, according to a memo from Walmart US President and CEO John Furner. The move will bring pay raises to about 340,000 employees, and the company has also expanded benefits for its subsidized college degree initiative and truck driver training program.
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Gap-owned Athleta has introduced a line of yoga accessories including a mat, block and bag as part of an effort to expand beyond workout wear, boost sales and compete with brands including Alo Yoga and Lululemon. The products are made with natural materials like rubber, sugarcane plants and recycled nylon that are sourced without the use of fossil fuels.
Dollar Tree has named Richard Dreiling as its new CEO, succeeding Michael Witynski, who will step down Jan. 28. Dreiling, who served as CEO of Dollar General for about seven years starting in 2008, was named executive chairman of Dollar Tree last year.
Apple is preparing to open its first store in Malaysia, according to recent job listings advertising for positions including salespeople, technical staff and store managers. In Southeast Asia, Apple operates branded stores in Singapore and Thailand, and it sells through third-party resellers in Malaysia.
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The fragrance category experienced growth last year, according to NPD Group data, and portfolio company Inter Parfums reported a 47% year-over-year sales increase in the fourth quarter, fueled in part by newer brands and strength in the US luxury market. Social media has also contributed to the fragrance market's growth, with the #PerfumeTok hashtag trending on TikTok and Prada Candy launching a Candy Crush game that drove traffic to its website.
As some companies continue to use hybrid or remote work models, the restaurants and other retailers that rely on office workers are feeling the effects of lost business. For example, Mitch Reback, chief financial officer of the chain Sweetgreen, said last year that the "erratic urban recovery" is causing a "sales growth lag." Inflation and other economic trends are also creating challenges.
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Ahold Delhaize USA's Peapod Digital Labs and the ECRM RangeMe online platform are working together on a quarterly virtual initiative to expand its ecosystem of diverse-owned brand partners. "Last year the merchants of the Ahold Delhaize USA companies met with over 100 suppliers, fully onboarding 20 new suppliers to one or more brands of Ahold Delhaize USA, with many more still in the onboarding process," said PDL Supplier Diversity Director Andjela Petrovic.
One of the highlights at NRF 2023: Retail's Big Show was the hosting of an installment of The Nordy Pod, a podcast sponsored by Nordstrom and hosted by President and Chief Brand Officer Pete Nordstrom. Nordstrom's guest for the occasion was Domenico De Sole, chair of Tom Ford International, and the two discussed creativity and competition. Read more.
Jason Buechel, CEO of Whole Foods Market, sat down with Nick Handrinos, vice chairman and leader of Deloitte LLP's Retail and Consumer Products, on the NRF 2023: Retail's Big Show keynote stage to discuss supply chain challenges, consumer resiliency, the theater of retail and Buechel's vision for the future. Read more.
In-store restaurants are gaining traction with grocers, including Wahlburgers, which is in 61 Hy-Vee stores and plans to add more than 20 additional locations this year. Kroger has been investing in Kitchen United Mix Food Halls, while H.E. Butt Grocery has opened more own-brand in-store restaurants such as South Flo Pizza and True Texas BBQ.