The Kalibrate retail round-up: August 2022
Kalibrate works with a diverse range of retail organizations, so we always have our ear to the ground to see how the environment is evolving. This helps us understand the challenges and opportunities facing the brands we support, but it also helps us keep across the news, innovations, transformations, trials, and tribulations, within retail concepts.
Ace Hardware – building an empire
With a retailer-owned cooperative model, Ace Hardware has just marked the opening of its 105th new store this year – and has a further 60 planned by the close of 2022. Given the pace of growth, it’s unsurprising that it’s also adding 4.4m sq ft of capacity to its distribution network across three new warehouses in the coming years.
Home improvement was a theme of lockdown for many – and it seems consumers’ desire to DIY themselves to a less humble abode has sustained, to the benefit of Ace and many others. Is there a ceiling? If Ace is doing its homework and locating its stores based on its customer profile and is sensitive to competitive impacts, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t see continued success.
The National Retail Federation’s Hot 25 looks at 2020 to 2021 growth – and while any year-on-year metrics are subject to colossal Covid-shaped asterisks, it’s instructive to see how mall reopenings have benefited apparel and department store performance.
Categories across home and the DIY space continue to see good performance – after all, once you’ve put down your orbital sander, your freshly constructed window seat is going to need some cushions.
Walmart’s latest acquisition
News broke this month that Walmart has acquired Volt, a provider of products to support omnichannel engagement, vendor relationships, and automated display and merchandising intelligence.
After a quick browse of the Volt website and it’s pretty easy to see why Walmart has taken the plunge. We expect Walmart to use Volt’s capabilities to deliver a more interactive omnichannel experience, including VR and AR, and add significant efficiencies with automated just-in-time stocking – clever stuff.
The next generation Walmart experience could be a lot slicker, both from a consumer and operational perspective, and it will be fascinating to see how effectively the technologies are implemented at such scale.
Cineworld prepares to file for bankruptcy
This month it was announced that Cineworld, the world’s second-largest cinema chain, was preparing to file for bankruptcy. A perfect storm (not the Clooney one) of enforced closures and delayed blockbuster releases – both due to Covid – coupled with competition from streaming options, has resulted in significant debts for the chain.
Those who love heading down to see the latest release on the big screen may find themselves short of choice in the months ahead. Operating more than 9,000 screens across 10 counties, there are sure to be prime locations of interest to any acquiring parties if the chain is nearing the end.
Careful what Ye wish for
While celebrity clothing lines are nothing new, selling them from large black bags certainly is. The Twittersphere has noticed that Kanye West’s partnership with Gap may have seen the retailer hand over a little too much creative control. Visual merchandisers may want to look away now.
Ye addressed his novel display methods on Fox News.
“Look, man, I’m an innovator, and I’m not here to sit up and apologize for my ideas. That’s exactly what the media tries to do, make us apologize for any idea that doesn’t fall under exactly the way they want us to think.”
Of course, it’s perfectly possible that Kayne has leaned on intelligent in-store tracking and concluded ‘if it isn’t in massive black bags, they aren’t buying it.’ – in that case, who are we to judge?
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