Morning Brew - ☕ How you bin?

Managing the avalanche of e-commerce returns.
June 04, 2024

Retail Brew


It’s Tuesday. Prices are top of mind this week: Wendy’s and McDonald’s are engaged in a price war. Big box retailers such as Target and Walmart are lowering prices on essential items. Rolexes are getting more expensive due to the cost of gold, and the biggest corporations are tapping into new technology to gouge customers. It’s all a lot to process—let alone pay for.

In today’s edition:

—Andrew Adam Newman, Alex Vuocolo, Kelcee Griffis


Bin there, done that

 A shopper holds up a BinStar shopping tote inside a BinStar store. BinStar via Facebook

When BinStar opened its third location in Saugus, Massachusetts, on May 11, the scene was “crazy,” founder and CEO Jack Laughlin told Retail Brew. Cars orbited the lot, whose ~200 spaces were filled, and as many as 500 shoppers lined up outside the store.

“I went to Walmart three times just across the street to get water, snacks, drinks [and] sodas to give to people waiting,” Laughlin—who volunteered as a copy editor and writer for Morning Brew while in college—told Retail Brew.

It was in keeping with what Laughlin described as the “loosely organized chaos” of BinStar, which opened its first store in Avon, Massachusetts, in June 2023, with plans to open its fourth, in Kingston, Massachusetts, on June 8. Like bin stores across the country, BinStar is making lemonade out of particularly mouth-puckering lemons: the avalanche of e-commerce returns.

  • Returns for US retailers were valued at $743 billion in 2023, according to the National Retail Federation.
  • The returns rate was 14.5% of sales for 2023, NRF found.

Many retailers find the challenge of reselling returns so intractable that they throw them away, with returned inventory accounting for 9.6 billion pounds of landfill waste annually, according to Optoro, a returns management company. Bin stores aim to divert those returns from trash bins to their bins, which in BinStar’s case are wheeled metal crates that look like the offspring of a shopping cart and dumpster.

Keep reading here.AAN



In the thick of it


Poof! And just like that, it’s already June. We’re halfway through 2024, and that means it’s time to check the charts and see if you’re on track to crush your goals.

Numbers got you sweating? No worries. Listrak can help.

Their unified digital marketing platform does pretty much everything. It powers email, SMS, identity resolution, and push notifications. Prepare to say goodbye to siloes and clunky flows, too. With Listrak, expect unified customer data and seamless cross-channel flows.

Listrak’s customers are loud and proud. Retailers and brands of all sizes—we’re talkin’ TOMS, LeCreuset, Untuckit—are partnering with ’em and scaling their marketing to heights unrivaled.

Upgrade your marketing mojo.


Dollar days

Dollar General Scott Olson/Getty Images

Dollar stores may have their value proposition spelled out in their names. But that doesn’t mean they can rest on their laurels when it comes to getting increasingly cautious consumers in the door.

Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos told shareholders on Thursday that “softness in sales” in Q1 reflected “continued pressure” on its core consumers. He added that shoppers are “very value-oriented,” which was evident from an uptick in sales of private label brands and items priced at or below $1.

But the discount chain isn’t just waiting around for shoppers to get their mojo back.

While rival Dollar Tree is making big moves such as shutting down hundreds of stores and acquiring hundreds more from the recently bankrupt 99 Cents Only, Dollar General is working behind the scenes to adapt its operations with the goal of attracting cost-conscious customers.

Cutting inventory: CFO Kelly Dilts said the company continues to cut back on inventory, reducing its nonconsumable stock by 19.1% compared to last year, which is freeing up cash for the business and mitigating the risk of shrink. She added that shrink continues to be “our most significant headwind.”

This goal relates to another ongoing initiative at Dollar General: a commitment to achieve a net reduction in 1,000 SKUs by the end of the year.

Keep reading here.AV



Retrying connection

T-Mobile phone illustration Nurphoto/Getty Images

T-Mobile will buy the majority of UScellular’s wireless business, the major carrier announced Tuesday, shrinking the number of smaller retailers that cater to more value-conscious customers. Depending on who you ask, this is either great or terrible news.

Washington-based T-Mobile said it will pay roughly $4.4 billion to take over most of UScellular—including its customers and some of its valuable wireless spectrum licenses—and that it aims to close the deal next year following regulatory review. It also includes access to many UScellular tower sites, although UScellular will retain ownership of them.

For T-Mobile, the deal represents a way to break into a different part of the wireless market without curating an entirely new customer base, Chris Stafford, an M&A partner at West Monroe, said.

“It just provides T-Mobile with a greater market share of the broader cell market,” he told Tech Brew. “The other route for them would be to compete in that space on their own and develop their own products and offerings to kind of serve that end of the market. But UScellular has already done that.”

The deal serves up several positives, according to a press release from T-Mobile, including increased wireless coverage for T-Mobile customers, more plan choices for UScellular customers, and expanded home internet options. For some consumer advocates, however, this consolidation doesn’t translate into an easy win.

Keep reading at Tech Brew here.KG



Walmart Business

Because a supply closet without supplies is just a closet, stock up on office essentials with a little help from Walmart Business. Choose from an ever-expanding selection of must-have items + get everything delivered straight to your office—or closet—with the Walmart prices you know + love.


Standout CX

Retail Brew: NICE Event promo Morning Brew

If you aren’t using AI to optimize your CX, it’s sorta like you’re riding a unicycle in the Tour de France. With AI on your side, you can get deep customer insights and improved decision-making—and customers get a personalized experience.

Join us this Thursday, June 6, to dig into how AI is transforming retail—and why it should be a part of your CX strategy ASAP. Register now.


Today’s top retail reads.

Fast fashion resale: Ahead of its IPO on the London Stock Exchange, Shein is launching a resale platform in Europe and the UK. (Fashion Network)

Regulating BNPL: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in May that buy now, pay later methods should fall under the same regulations as credit cards, but one expert says the guidance doesn’t go far enough. (CNBC)

Pay disparities: AP breaks down the pay gap between CEOs and their employees, highlighting that the disparity is particularly high at discount retailers. (the Associated Press)

Silo smasher: Isn’t it time to bring all your flows and channels together? Listrak is ready. Their seamless digital marketing platform can help get you unified in no time. Start here.*

*A message from our sponsor.


Stop waiting for your dream job to find you. CollabWORK puts you in front of the right opportunities in the online spaces you frequent. Get discovered by top companies and take control of your career path.


Share Retail Brew with your coworkers, acquire free Brew swag, and then make new friends as a result of your fresh Brew swag.

We’re saying we’ll give you free stuff and more friends if you share a link. One link.

Your referral count: 2

Click to Share

Or copy & paste your referral link to others:


Update your email preferences or unsubscribe here.
View our privacy policy here.

Copyright © 2024 Morning Brew. All rights reserved.
22 W 19th St, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10011

Older messages

From Your Feed to Our Stage: TikTok's Niamh Adkins Live in NY!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Join us on 6/25. Hi Marketing Brew reader! We're excited to announce that Niamh Adkins, Creator for Whalar Talent, and Lizzy Bilasano, VP, of Creative Strategy for Whalar, will speak at our

☕️ Number go up

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Wall Street's meme king may be getting very rich... June 04, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop Morning Brew PRESENTED BY Pendulum Good morning. Have you ever bought a plane ticket on your phone?

☕ Hit the road

Monday, June 3, 2024

Turning delivery trucks into moving billboards. June 03, 2024 Marketing Brew PRESENTED BY It's Monday. The “Four Seasons baby,” who shot to TikTok fame for her polite enthusiasm at the

☕ Schick happens

Monday, June 3, 2024

In DC, Giant Food bans large knapsacks and duffel bags to combat shoplifting June 03, 2024 Retail Brew PRESENTED BY Contentful It's Monday, and while we don't get to report much good news

☕️ Split ticket

Monday, June 3, 2024

The DOJ unleashes its lawsuit against Live Nation... May 24, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop Morning Brew PRESENTED BY ARMRA Colostrum Good morning. If there's one person who could beat Ken in a

You Might Also Like

😡 Republiconspiracy theories

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Hunter Biden's conviction blew up a favorite MAGA conspiracy theory. Trumpworld has another one ready to go. ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏

A Summer Sandal Primer

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Here's what you missed on the Strategist. The Strategist Every product is independently selected by editors. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission. A

Amazon adding $1.4B to its affordable housing fund in Seattle and other regions

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Breaking News from GeekWire | View in browser BREAKING NEWS Amazon is adding $1.4 billion to its Housing Equity Fund and has pledged to preserve and create an additional 14000 housing

For a Billionaire, Trump Flies a Crappy Plane

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Columns and commentary on news, politics, business, and technology from the Intelligencer team. Intelligencer all that glitters For a Billionaire, Trump Flies a Crappy Plane The truth about his vintage

An exclusive deal on a tiny, portable chair we love

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Plus: To-go cups View in browser The Recommendation “What's in my bag? A tiny chair.” The Helinox One camping chair in the grass next to a picnic blanket. Illustration: Dana Davis; Photo: Hali

Wednesday Briefing: Hunter Biden found guilty

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Also, pressure on Israel and Hamas to reach a deal. View in browser| Ad Morning Briefing: Asia Pacific Edition June 12, 2024 Author Headshot By Amelia Nierenberg Good morning. We're

🚨 Only 25 Tickets Remaining! 🚨

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Join us on 6/25. Hi Marketers, We are two weeks away from our half-day event in New York: Perfecting Your Influencer IQ, and we have 25 tickets remaining. Join us to master long-term influencer

State funds new Seattle AI startup incubator

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Flyhomes beefs up real estate search with AI | Bill Gates helps TerraPower break ground for reactor ADVERTISEMENT GeekWire SPONSOR MESSAGE: Washington state's second-largest city is the hub of an

Lawyers, Guns, and Sonny

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Hunter Guilty, Apple's AI ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏ ͏

🔥 Hot Topics in AI: Insights from Mozilla and Siemens

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Join us on 6/26. Hi Tech Brew reader! We are thrilled to announce that Mark Surman, President of the Mozilla Foundation, and Tami Wolownik, Head of People & Organization at Siemens Mobility, will