Customers can no longer take a fragrance off the shelf for purchase at Sephora.
The beauty giant has removed all fragrances from its stores shelves and displays, reported CNN. Tester bottles are out on display, but if customers want to buy a fragrance, they need to ask a store associate to get it for them. The move comes as retailers are reporting rising levels of retail crime. The type of higher-end fragrances that Sephora sells have long been regarded as high-theft items.
Calling the safety and security of employees and customers its “top priority,” Sephora told CNN that has increased the presence of loss prevention investigators across its stores “to minimize the threats of retail theft and to provide our shoppers with the peace of mind during their experience at Sephora. With that, Out of an abundance of caution, Sephora only displays fragrance testers in-stores."
In May, executives from Sephora rival Ulta Beauty said during the company’s earnings call that fragrance cabinets would be in 70% of the chain this year, with fragrance being one of its targeted theft categories. During the call, COO Dave Kimbell said Ulta is committed to "ensuring a safe work environment," and is investing in fixtures, training, support structures, increased staffing and security.
Sephora rolled out the fragrance change during the summer, according to the CNN report, which also noted that the fragrance testers have also been targeted for theft.
Subway taps Advance Auto Parts CFO to head finance
The quick-serve restaurant company has appointed Jeff Shepherd as CFO. He succeeds Ben Wells who will retire at the end of the year after a 46-year career.
Most recently, Shepherd served as executive VP and CFO of Advance Auto Parts where he set financial strategy for the business and led the company's finance functions. Prior to joining Advance in 2017, Shepherd spent seven years at General Motors, including serving as controller General Motors Europe. He also held a series of leadership roles with Ernst & Young.
"Jeff has a well-earned reputation for driving strong financial results for global brands, bringing nearly 30 years of financial and accounting experience to our organization," said Subway CEO John Chidsey. "As we welcome Jeff to Subway, we also thank Ben for his significant contributions. Since joining the company in December 2019, Ben has been a key driver of our brand's global financial stability and strategic growth, contributing to 11 consecutive quarters of positive sales results."
Shepherd, who is is based in the company's Shelton, Conn. Headquarters, will work closely with Wells for the remainder of the year to ensure a seamless transition.
Subway has nearly 37,000 locations in more than 100 countries.
Circuit City is plotting its return to physical retail.
The former consumer electronics giant, which closed its last stores in 2009, said it has launched a Series A funding round and plans for strategic alliances with “national companies.” Circuit City filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Its intellectual property assets were sold to Systemax Inc. which, in 2015, sold the assets to New York retail veteran Ronny Shmoel. He relaunched the company’s website in 2018.
The new “Powered by Circuit City” partnerships will integrate Circuit City’s electronics expertise and global brand awareness with other platforms, both online and in-store, according to the company. The centerpiece of the collaborations will be an in-store concept designed to empowering customers of established well-known national companies to explore and purchase a range of electronics, curated by Circuit City. The company said the ventures will amplify its reach, giving shoppers an integrated experience while blending other products with cutting-edge technology.
The integrations are slated to kick off online and in select locations this year with plans for a more expansive rollout in 2024. Circuit City plans to support the partnerships by offering access to its platform, customer service, private label products and a “white-glove” consumer electronics experience.
"The partnerships are a collaboration of iconic brands, reflecting Circuit City's dedication to innovation and commitment to delivering strategic AI-driven solutions to an even wider customer base,” said CEO Shmoel.
Amazon is enabling direct shopping via a social media platform popular with Gen Z.
In an email to Chain Store Age, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the e-tailer is, for the first time, enabling customers to shop its Snapchat ads and check out with Amazon without leaving the social media app.
“Customers in the U.S. will see real-time pricing, Prime eligibility, delivery estimates, and product details on select Amazon product ads in Snapchat as part of the new experience,” the spokesperson said in the email. “In-app shopping with Amazon is available for select products advertised on Snapchat and sold by Amazon or by independent sellers in Amazon’s store.”
This social media shopping partnership follows Amazon’s recent collaboration with Meta for in-app shopping on Facebook and Instagram. Meta now lets consumers directly link their Facebook and Instagram social media accounts to Amazon in order to see real-time pricing, Prime eligibility, delivery estimates and product details on select Amazon product ads in Facebook and Instagram.
As a result, participating Facebook and Instagram users can make purchases from Amazon by clicking on ads in their social feeds, without having to leave the Facebook or Instagram app.
Main Amazon rival Walmart simulcasts shoppable livestreams on Facebook, allowing Facebook followers of retailers, brands, publishers and influencers receive an alert when they go live on a Walmart live shopping broadcast, giving consumers the ability to watch and shop directly within the social network.
These deals also come as TikTok is looking to challenge Amazon by diving into e-commerce. In September, the company launched its long-anticipated TikTok Shop in the United States. The video-focused social media platform says it has more than 150 million U.S. users.
Meanwhile, e-commerce giant eBay began letting users share eBay listings directly into Snapchat posts in 2022.
Editor's Note: Official Ghost logo downloaded from Snapchat according to guidelines.
Home Depot tops estimates; big-ticket spending still under pressure
The Home Depot beat Street estimates for its third-quarter but sales fell as customers steered clear of certain big-ticket items and focused on smaller projects.
On a positive note, company CFO Richard McPhail told analysts during the chain's earnings call that "the worst of the inflationary environment is behind us."
The home improvement giant reported net income of $3.8 billion, or $3.81 a share, for the quarter ended Oct. 29, down from $4.3 billion, or $4.24 a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected earnings per share of $3.75.
Sales fell 3% to $37.7 billion, just ahead of estimates of $37.6 billion. Same-store sales fell 3.1%, with U.S. comp sales down 3.5%. Customer transactions fell to 399.8 million from 409.8 million in the year-ago period.
"Similar to the second quarter, we saw continued customer engagement with smaller projects, and experienced pressure in certain big-ticket, discretionary categories,” stated CEO Ted Decker. “We remain very excited about our strategic initiatives and are committed to investing in the business to deliver the best interconnected shopping experience, capture wallet share with the Pro, and grow our store footprint."
The retailer narrowed its prior fiscal 2023 guidance range. Sales and comparable sales are expected to decline between 3% and 4% compared to its previous expectation of a 2% to 5% decline. Diluted earnings-per-share-percent-are expected to decline between 9% and 11%. compared with its prior estimate of a 7% to 13% drop.
At the end of the third quarter, the company operated a total of 2,333 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico.
A California-based pizza chain is setting its expansion sights on the Lone Star State.
Sacramento-based Pizza Guys has announced plans to open nearly 150 locations in Texas, including over 50 locations to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, over 50 stores to the Houston area, 20 stores to the San Antonio area, and nearly 20 stores to the Austin area.
"We are planning to take on the Texas market by storm by opening up to 150 locations with dedicated high working entrepreneurs," said Shahpour Nejad, CEO and co-founder of Pizza Guys. "We're hoping to bring our innovative flavors and brands to the South, so that Texas natives can have delicious pizza made with high quality ingredients right in their backyards!"
Founded in 1986 and franchising since 1994, Pizza Guys currently operates 87 in three states. The company operates three stores in Nevada and two in Oregon.
According to its website, Pizza Guys offers customers “high-quality, gourmet pizza” using 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese, fresh-made daily dough, and California-grown tomatoes.
"Pizza Guys has high hopes for the state of Texas as we intend opening dozens of locations in each major market," said Nejad. "As Pizza Guys grows, the brand is excited to reach new areas and make meaningful connections within local communities. We are looking for new franchisees that want to introduce a new refreshing pizza concept to the market. Our ideal franchisee is someone that wants to impact the Texas community in positive ways through delicious food and amazing opportunities."