Morning Brew - ☕ The French collection

French resale companies Back Market and ​Vestiaire Collective.
March 12, 2024

Retail Brew


It’s Tuesday, and the latest consumer price index dropped this morning, showing that inflation ticked up slightly in February. On top of that, monthly retail sales numbers are due out Thursday, and a handful of stragglers are on deck to report retail earnings. So make sure to check in throughout the week to see what it all means.

In today’s edition:

—Andrew Adam Newman, Alex Vuocolo


I wanna France with somebody

Samina Virk, North America CEO of Vestiaire Collective (left) and Lauren Benton, general manager, USA, of Back Market. Samina Virk, North America CEO of Vestiaire Collective (left) and Lauren Benton, general manager, USA, of Back Market. Andrew Adam Newman

Resale has come a long way in the US in the last few years, but you still won’t see a leading department store doing what Galeries Lafayette, France’s upscale department store, does at its Boulevard Haussmann location in Paris.

While brands with resale programs tend to relegate them to dedicated websites, this retailer displays secondhand items in its brick-and-mortar store along with new items, in what it calls its (Re)Store department.

France, it seems, has a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to resale, offering a glimpse of what the US could evolve into if consumers’ appetite for secondhand items keeps growing.

A recent event in New York’s Union Square neighborhood brought together two French resale brands that originated in Paris and now have a growing presence in the US. On the surface, the brands—Back Market, which sells pre-owned electronics and hosted the event in its spacious office, and Vestiaire Collective, an online marketplace for pre-owned luxury fashion items—may seem to have little in common.

However, even though they sell such different products, their missions and approaches have many similarities.

Keep reading here.—AAN



Lil treat, big trend


Have you heard about the #LittleTreat trend? Think of it as a growing consumer desire to enjoy a lil indulgence—a specialty drink, a self-care product, or a yummy pastry—without breaking the bank.

Treat culture may be based on small rewards, but it’s already influencing consumer spending habits in a big way. And with great power comes great opportunity.

Quad’s marketing experts share their POV on this trend and highlight how brands can leverage it to their advantage with everything from packaging strategies to market positioning and research.

Download Quad’s How CPG Brands Can Turn Everyday Products into Little Luxuries playbook for detailed insights and guidance on turning little treats into some big gains.


We got the Funko

Funko Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Funko is mounting a comeback after a bumpy 2023, and direct-to-consumer sales are at the center of the turnaround strategy.

On Thursday, the toymaker reported that DTC sales were up almost 30% YoY in Q4, and those sales comprised 26% of total revenue, up from 17% the year before. That bodes well for a company that just last spring destroyed more than $30 million worth of inventory due to lack of demand.

“Growing our DTC business remains a key goal for us,” Interim CEO Michael Lunsford said during an earnings call. “We have more control over our DTC business and believe we can grow it profitably.”

Keep reading here.—AV



Safety first

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, speaks at a rally in the capitol building in Albany, New York. Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, speaks at a rally at the capitol building in Albany, New York. RWDSU

“We are declaring and demanding today that retail workers’ health and safety must be valued at least as much as the merchandise they’re selling.”

That’s what Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), told a rally for workers and legislators in New York’s capitol building in Albany on March 5.

While worker safety is often cited by the National Retail Federation and other industry leaders as a reason to combat the (occasionally overstated) problem of shoplifting rings, Appelbaum suggested that workers have more pressing concerns.

“Twice as many people died in retail stores in 2022 as in 2016,” Appelbaum continued, “yet most of what we hear in the media is that shoplifting is the growing problem.”

The rally was to support a New York State Senate bill, the Retail Worker Safety Act, which makes no mention of shoplifting or theft.

Keep reading here.—AAN



Walmart Marketplace

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Today’s top retail reads.

Full transparency: Inditex, owner of fast fashion brand Zara, is joining rivals H&M and Primark in releasing its full list of suppliers in the name of being more transparent about supply chain risks. (Reuters)

Shrinking shrink: Retailers were mighty concerned about theft last year. But mentions of the problem were minimal this earnings season. (NPR)

Cash machines: More Americans are using their 401(k)s as “cash machines” and withdrawing money early to support their spending. (the Wall Street Journal)

It’s treat o’clock: More and more consumers are banking on the #LittleTreat trend, which means brands should be too. Check out Quad’s free playbook to learn how to leverage this growing habit to your advantage.*

*A message from our sponsor.


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