Morning Brew - ☕ The ABCs of DE&I

VF Corp’s Lauren Guthrie on DE&I in retail.
March 15, 2024

Retail Brew

Hello, and happy Friday! Here’s a question for you: Would you buy a french fry perfume? It seems a lot of people might after McDonald’s Japan posted an image on X of what looked like a line of perfumes that smell like its famous fries. Social media went into a frenzy speculating that the fast food retailer was in fact releasing the perfumes, but alas, McDonald’s has confirmed that it’s not: The image was a promotion for its limited-time flavored fries. We can only say…fry again next time, Mickey D’s.

In today’s edition:

—Jeena Sharma, Katishi Maake


Diverse course

Image from panel discussion at Etail West Etail West

Last week, we took a look at one of the key panel discussions at Etail West in Palm Springs, California, that delved into the many creative ways retailers approach personalized product merchandising to convert shoppers for their online businesses.

This week, we have highlights from another important conversation that took place at the weeklong e-commerce event in February. In a one-on-one chat between Retail Brew and Lauren Guthrie, VP of global inclusion, diversity, equity and action, for VF Corp, we discussed how companies can prioritize DE&I efforts.

Guthrie provided an overview of how she leads these efforts and initiatives at VF while also talking about the importance of leadership advocacy, data, and equity-focused strategies in realizing these goals.

Here are our top takeaways:

On educating and training staff to be DE&I focused

We have a huge focus on listening efforts. We have ongoing training that’s developed in real time, both in response to events happening in the world, which there are many, and listening to our folks. We teach them how to lean in and ask questions, how to hold space for their people in real time, to ensure that there’s a place for them to live in the workplace.

Keep reading here.—JS



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The Crew

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Morning Brew Daily hosts Neal Freyman and Toby Howell have you covered on everything you need to know before your cup of coffee, from the latest headlines on the economy to explanations of viral TikTok trends.

New episodes are released every weekday at 7am ET. Check ’em out on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts.


Dollar short

Dollar Tree store with logo. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Tough economic times for consumers usually mean good times for discount stores, but that’s not the case for Dollar Tree and its roster of stores.

The discount chain plans to shut down 1,000 underperforming locations as it continues to battle a bevy of issues ranging from inflation to worker safety violations.

  • During its Q4 earnings call Wednesday, the company said it’ll close roughly 600 Family Dollar stores in the first half of 2024 and will allow the leases of 400 more Family Dollar and Dollar Tree locations to expire.
  • Those struggles came along with mixed Q4 results that saw net losses of $1.7 billion compared to more than $450 million in profits a year earlier. Net sales in Q4, however, did jump to $8.6 billion, but the company expects that to drop off in Q1 to $7.6 billion–$7.9 billion.

Keep reading here.—KM



In fashion

Shoppers wait in line at Zara. Medianews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Just like the New York weather, things in fashion change fast. Sometimes big retailers expand; other times, they close up shop. And while it’s impossible to keep track of everything, Retail Brew is here to keep you abreast of the biggest news in fashion and luxury each week.

Over the past week, one fan favorite fast fashion giant saw record profits, while another faltered. And over in Europe, a luxury heavyweight is betting on beauty.

Inditex profits soar

We’re barely into spring, yet Zara’s parent company, Inditex, yesterday reported an 11% rise in sales from February 1 to March 11. Following the news, the fast fashion retailer’s share price rose as much as 5.9%, reaching a record high on Wednesday.

Why this matters: The retailer credited the popularity of its more premium-priced products for its growth, while noting it planned to sustain that growth by opening new stores in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Despite the emergence of Shein and Temu, premium-priced retailers have found a special place in American consumers’ hearts and wallets.

Keep reading here.—JS




Video has become the gold standard. Did you know consumers are 51% more likely to make a purchase after watching a brand video? Based on a survey of 750 US consumers, Firework’s playbook is filled with critical statistics and actionable insights to help you understand consumer behaviors regarding video commerce. Give it a read.


Today’s top retail reads.

McWorry: Computer system outages forced McDonald’s to close some restaurants across the globe on Friday morning. (the Associated Press)

Gee, Solo: Solo Brands’ new CEO on what went wrong with the company’s marketing efforts last year. (Modern Retail)

Home is where the heart is: The latest data shows that Americans are investing their hard earned money not on real estate or clothing, but on home improvement items like gardening equipment. (Newsweek)


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