Episode 45: Discount Rehab

In this episode:

  • Where did those discounts go???
  • Sit down, Microsoft.
  • Store No 8 Gobbles Up Another
  • Weird News of the Week

Where Did Those Discounts Go?

The Consumer Price Index on Wednesday revealed that apparel prices climbed 1.7 percent in January, accounting for about 3 percent of the overall CPI and marking the biggest increase since 1990.

The monthly report by the Labor Department also showed that women’s apparel costs jumped a record 3.4 percent during the month.


  • This is after several deflationary years. Prices have been through the floor.
  • Tighter inventories going into the holiday season — less left to sell.
  • Retailers actively weaning us off discounts — we are paying full price more often.

Names like Canada Goose and Moncler for winter coats have been flying off the shelves thanks to a handful of snow storms. Other luxury retailers including Coach parent Tapestry and Michael Kors, which also offer apparel, have reported stronger earnings of late and are optimistic about fiscal 2018. Anthropologie and Free People, which are owned by Urban Outfitters, are also boding well.

For retail this is a VERY GOOD thing.

Sit Down, Microsoft

Shares of Amazon rose 2.57% Wednesday, sending its market value higher than Microsoft for the first time. The e-commerce behemoth is now the third-largest company in the US, behind only Apple ($849.24 billion) and Google parent Alphabet ($744.73 billion), according to Markets Insider data.

Why is this? Part of this is because of Amazon spreading its wings into other areas.

Amazon’s Prime members are fueling the e-tailer’s apparel sales growth, with nearly two-thirds saying they’ve shopped for clothing or footwear there in the past year, according to new research from retail think tank Coresight Research. Nearly half (45.9%) of all survey respondents overall said that they had shopped for apparel on Amazon in that time, and 48% said that they expect to buy apparel there in the coming 12 months. Among apparel shoppers, Amazon and Target are vying for second place (after Walmart).
People go to Amazon for well-priced apparel, and Coresight Research founder-CEO Deborah Weinswig says that Amazon is being perceived as an off-price apparel retailer. Half (48%) of Amazon apparel shoppers said they expect to pay less than full price when buying clothing or footwear on the site, 32% say they go there because Amazon offers the lowest prices and 49% say Amazon offers good value.

Store No 8 Gobbles Up Another

In Mar 2017 Walmart launched its startup incubator Store №8 with the aim of reshaping the retail experience through technology like virtual reality and drones. Last week, Store №8 acquired Spatialand, a small Los Angeles-based VR Software founded by Kim Cooper. It will relaunch the venture with Cooper and Store №8 consultant Jeremy Welt as co-founders. Kate Finnegan, the co-founder and principal of the incubator, will join as CEO. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“At the core, we are about what the customer journey is and how do we make that experience magical,” Finnegan told Inc. in January.
Code Eight, the personal shopping service led by Rent the Runway founder Jenny Fleiss is another Store №8 company. The incubator also plans to build a facility without checkout lines or cashiers, akin to Amazon’s Go store. The project is dubbed Project Kepler and run by Jet.com co-founder Mike Hanrahan, according to Recode.

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