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Allbirds intros a zero-carbon shoe. Is that even possible?
March 21, 2023

Retail Brew


Good afternoon. Since our top story is about Allbirds, we thought we’d stick with the avian-adjacent theme and let you know that today is Twitter’s 17th birthday. And in honor of that milestone, may we also remind you that earlier this year, a 3-foot statue of the world’s most recognizable birdie sold for $100,000.

In today’s edition:

—Maeve Allsup, Katishi Maake, Jamie Wilde


Houston, we have a shoe

A collage of inspiration and plans for the M0.0NSHOT shoe. Allbirds

In the wake of a disappointing end to its first 18 months as a publicly traded company, the maker of San Francisco’s favorite footwear, Allbirds, is launching a new product. And it’s got a tagline the company is hoping will resonate with shoppers, who it says are young and environmentally conscious: “The world’s first net zero carbon shoe.”

While carbon reduction is undeniably a powerful vision for fashion, it’s a claim that has commonly included carbon-credit purchases and the G-word (greenwashing). But Allbirds said its reimagining business as usual in the apparel industry, and has achieved a zero-carbon footprint with its new shoe, the “M0.0NSHOT.”

According to Allbirds, M0.0NSHOT was achieved without carbon offsets and instead uses carbon-negative materials, including those Allbirds invented itself. So while packaging and shipping the shoe will emit carbon, the product’s net carbon output balances to zero.

It’s a move that CEO Tim Dillon said was made possible by the company’s relatively small size and the flexibility of its supply chain, and that Allbirds hopes will put it at the forefront of a fundamental change in footwear design and production.

Shoot for the moon

Allbirds isn’t the only brand shouting from the rooftops about its reduced carbon emissions. But Nancy Landrum, sustainability management professor at Munich Business School, said most companies making these claims are purchasing carbon offsets (compensation for emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects). Landrum describes that approach as the “route of least resistance.”

Instead, the footwear industry needs an overhaul, and Landrum says that while the tech is ready, most companies aren’t willing to make the move.

“The real effort has to come from redesigning the product, finding new materials…They have to redesign their supply chains,” Landrum said.

Keep reading here.—MA



Gain more loyalTEA


Predictable customer lifetime value is best driven through customer loyalty—old news. But what are the key ingredients to driving this ever-so-coveted loyalty among your shoppers? There’s gotta be a surefire method, right?

Right. And Bluecore’s got it in their latest ebook, The Retail Marketer’s Guide to Loyalty. Get the scoop on:

  • solid strategies for building loyalty and predictable profit
  • how NOBULL increased customer lifetime value by 30%
  • brands that turned casual shoppers into lifetime customers
  • how to leverage the power of your future shopper

Predictable profits come by way of returning shoppers, and Bluecore’s mapping the way to that moolah. Download the free guide and start sippin’ on all the deets.


Swing and a miss

Marker drawing in a notebook showing markets in disarray. Francis Scialabba

Many retailers are reporting their shopping season and/or annual earnings, and for the most part, things aren’t looking so great for the major athletic-apparel retailers.

Nike, which reports its earnings Tuesday afternoon, is the subject of much debate among analysts, who often look to the retailer when assessing the health of companies in the athleticwear and footwear space. Although the company’s shares have risen 16% over the past six months, Nike might not be meeting expectations when it comes to its DTC business, which many do expect to grow stronger in the long term.

  • Those bullish on Nike hope the company not only beats earnings expectations but is able to provide positive guidance.

For other athleticwear and sports retailers, the results are in…

Foot Locker: Speaking of Nike, Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillion reaffirmed its relationship with the brand, telling investors during a Monday call: “The fruits of our renewed commitment to one another will begin to show up in holiday this year as we build increasing momentum to 2024 and the 50th anniversary of Foot Locker.”

  • This proclamation came on the heels of posting holiday-quarter sales that came in at $2.34 billion, slightly less on a YoY basis.

Adidas: The German sportswear company has faced numerous headwinds, most notably the termination of its partnership with Ye. The company also has a new CEO after Kasper Rorstead left and was replaced with Bjørn Gulden at the start of this year.

  • Adidas’s revenue increased 6% in 2022, but net profits fell 83%. In Q4, the aftermath of the Yeezy fallout, revenue slowed dramatically to ~$519 million USD.

Keep reading here.—KM



A lunch of malarkey?

Deconstructed ham and cheese Lunchable Alyssa Nassner

“Lunchables’s Extra Cheesy Pizza—as well as its Turkey and Cheese variety—will be on the menu at K-8 cafeterias across the US come fall as part of Kraft Heinz’s new deal with the National School Lunch Program (NSLP),” writes Morning Brew’s Jamie Wilde:

’90s kids may already be salivating, but they should know that Kraft Heinz had to tweak its original recipes to hit some nutritional targets required for school meals.
Getting in front of Gen Alpha (yeah, that’s what comes after Gen Z) is a Super Bowl-level win for Kraft Heinz. Lunchables accounted for 8.6% of [its] sales last year.

Read the whole story here on Morning Brew.



Today’s top retail reads.

Shutdown stories: Inside Bed Bath & Beyond’s closure of Harmon Face Value stores, which employees said was “chaotic and opaque.” (the New York Times)

Tough cookie: How Girl Scouts of America’s attempt to teach scouts about e-commerce inadvertently led to a shortage of Raspberry Rally cookies, and a buzzing resale market where boxes go for up to $200. (Los Angeles Times)

Point of clarification: Retail crime numbers may not be as clear-cut as they seem: Retail shrink data is anonymized, qualitative, and hard to fact-check, and includes not only external retail crime, but also inventory that is lost, damaged, or stolen by employees. (CNBC)

Looking for more? Check out our latest article: Why a seamless supply chain is integral to fashion week, sponsored by Flowspace.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


  • Amazon is laying off 9,000 additional workers—mostly in corporate positions—in the coming weeks, CEO Andy Jassy announced Monday.
  • Stanley Black & Decker is shutting down factories in Texas and South Carolina as part of cost-cutting measures.
  • L’Oréal is one of several companies bidding for a stake in Aesop, a deal which could value the brand at $2 billion.
  • Starbucks’s new CEO, Laxman Narasimhan, is taking the reins of the company a few weeks earlier than anticipated.
  • Coca-Cola is inviting fans to tweak classic brand images using generative AI and submit them as part of a contest. Winners could see their designs on the brand’s billboards.
  • Fanatics will succeed Adidas as the NHL’s official uniform supplier starting in 2024.


What happened in the world of retail this week in…1880 and beyond? Retail Brew takes you way, way, way back.

  • On March 22, 1975, Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opened at Walt Disney World. It later was rebranded as Downtown Disney, and then as Disney Springs.
  • On March 23, 1880, Warren Glass Works Co. was granted a patent for the first glass milk bottle.
  • On March 23, 2008, Al Copeland, founder of Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits, died at age 64.
  • On March 25, 1995, Pizza Hut introduced its greatest gift to the world: Stuffed Crust Pizza.


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Written by Maeve Allsup, Katishi Maake, and Jamie Wilde

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