Online versus on foot
There is absolutely no escaping the fact that online shoppings is taking the retail world by storm.
Children’s clothing retailer Gymboree just became another casualty in the retail apocalypse.
Chapter 11 for Gymboree
Early this week, the San Francisco-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This will reduce the company’s debts by $900 million, but will force the chain to close 375 of its 1,300 stores.
“We expect to move through this process quickly and emerge as a stronger organization that is better positioned in today’s evolving retail landscape,” said CEO Daniel Griesemer in a statement.
While their CEO may be optimistic, it’s pretty worrying when seemingly solid, long-lasting brands like Gymboree take a nosedive.
And Gymboree isn’t alone. Retailers are dropping like flies. Rue21 and Payless Shoesource also filed for bankruptcy within the past year. Several other brands have been forced to closed stores, or to dissolve entirely.
Analysts are anxiously predicting who will fall next
Credit rating agency Fitch published a research note on Monday containing a list of “loans of concern” – that is, companies so severely in debt that it’s probably only a matter of time before they file for bankruptcy.
The list includes Sear’s, Claire’s, Nine West, 99 Cent Stores, J.Crew, True Religion Apparel, Charlotte Russe, Charming Charlie, NYDJ Apparels, and Vince.
Fitch says that all of the companies on the list are at risk of defaulting within the next year.
Fitch blames their pessimistic outlook on “online penetration, along with shifts in consumer spending towards services and experiences” and “adverse trends in mall-based shopping.”
In other words, modern consumers are weighting their budget towards entertainment and dining out rather than apparel or consumer goods.
When it comes time to shop, especially for clothes, they go online, rather than to the mall.
Shopping at brick-and-mortar stores just for the sake of shopping, or as a social activity, is on the decline. “These factors have created a highly competitive retail environment,” says Fitch.
Chasing Clubhouse success? How the audio chat room trend affects products
(BUSINESS NEWS) It is inevitable that when a new successful trend comes along, other companies will try to make lightning strike twice. Will the audio chat room catch on?
Businesses are always about the hot new thing. People are the always looking for the easiest dollar with the least amount of effort these days. It tends to lead to products that are shoddy and horribly maintained with the least amount of flexibility in pleasing their customers. However, you also have to look at the customer base for this as well. You follow where the money is because that’s where its being spent. It’s like a merry-go-round, constantly chasing the next thing. And the latest of these is the audio chat room.
During the pandemic the entire world saw an eruption of social audio investments. Silicon Valley has gone crazy with this new endeavor. On the 18th of April this year, Clubhouse said it closed on some new funding, which was valued at $4 billion for a live audio app. This thing is still in beta without a single penny of revenue!
The list of other companies who have pursued new audio suites (either through purchase or creation) include:
This whole new audio fad is still in its infancy. These social media and tech giants are all jumping headlong into it with who knows how much forethought. A number of them have their own issues to deal with, but they’ve put things aside to try and grab these audio chat room coattails that are running by. It’s a mix of feelings about the situation honestly. They are trying to survive and keep their customers.
If a competitor creates this new capability and they stay stagnant then they lose customers. If they do this however without dealing with their current issues then they could also lose people. It’s an interesting catch 22 for people out there. Which group do you fall in? Are you antsy for a new toy or are you waiting for one of these lovely sites to fix a problem? It’s another day in capitalism.
This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution
(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.
The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.
Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.
There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.
Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.
Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.
Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.
“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”
For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.
Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees
(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?
The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.
As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.
And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.
Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.
How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.
“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”
Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.
Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.
Opinion Editorials1 week ago
3 things to do if you *really* want to be an ally to women in tech
Business Marketing2 days ago
Video is necessary for your marketing strategy
Opinion Editorials2 weeks ago
Questions you wished recruiters would answer
Tech News2 days ago
Chatbots: Are they still useful, or ready to be retired?
Business Entrepreneur1 week ago
15 tips to spot a toxic work environment when interviewing
Opinion Editorials1 week ago
4 simple tips to ease friction with your boss while working remotely
Business Entrepreneur2 weeks ago
Zen, please: Demand for mental health services surges during pandemic
Opinion Editorials6 days ago
Why robots freak us out, and what it means for the future of AI