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Recent retail startups we’re watching.
February 29, 2024

Retail Brew

Happy Leap Day, everyone. When it came to opening new locations, one grocer stood out from the rest of the pack last year: Aldi. The discount grocery chain opened 109 locations, according to JLL’s 2024 Grocery Report, easily outpacing the next three on the list: Publix (38), Sprouts Farmers Market (30), and Grocery Outlet (29).

In today’s edition:

—Katishi Maake, Andrew Adam Newman



Employees in a hybrid workplace Gorodenkoff/Getty Images

Beyoncé isn’t the only one hitting the ground running with her haircare brand. It’s also the case for a handful of retail startups whose 2024 is off to a stellar start—and have us, sorry, saying their name.

Girl dinner: Good Girl Snacks likes to think of itself as a far cry from the average dill pickle you’ll find on the shelf of your local grocery store. The brand, which launched this month, is led by Leah Marcus and Yasman Bakhitar who are seeking to put their own Gen Z-esque twist on pickles, with unique flavors and clean ingredients, according to CPG newsletter Snaxshot.

  • The company is starting off with two kinds of jarred pickles—original dill and honey harissa—and they’re branded as “Hot Girl Pickles.”
  • If you haven’t noticed, pickles are having a major resurgence among Zoomers, as pickle-related challenges on TikTok rack up billions of views.

“The name of the product, ‘Hot Girl Pickles,’ is the most emphasized part of the label; Gen Z appropriated the ‘hot girls eat pickles’ sentence, which taps into this microtrend of the ‘hot girl mentality’ and the popularity surrounding ‘girl dinners,’ etc. on social media,” Marcus told Dieline.

Keep reading here.—KM



How to work with influencers

The Crew

Did you know 69% of creators report that a brand’s relevancy to their audience is a top priority when considering a partnership? Each influencer has a unique voice, perspective, and ability to connect with audiences ranging from niche communities to millions-strong followings. Tapping into these influencers and forging powerful partnerships can be a major boost for your brand.

But creating a beneficial partnership can be challenging, so Marketing Brew created a comprehensive guide to drafting contracts, measuring KPIs, and picking the right influencers to represent your brand. Equip your team with the essential knowledge to venture into this thriving landscape.

Download the guide here.


Omnichannel surfing

Omnichannel Blue Planet Studio/Getty Images

Omnichannel shopping is retail’s answer to polyamory, with consumers having fidelity to neither online nor in-store shopping, but rather genuine feelings for both. And to have a fulfilling relationship with these ENM-esque shoppers, retailers want to know when they go out, when they stay home, and how best to communicate with them.

Now 84.51°, a Kroger company that gathers data on omnichannel shoppers, whom it defines as those who’ve shopped both online and in-store at Kroger in the past 52 weeks, has some insights on what they like…and their dealbreakers.

Perhaps the most striking finding from 84.51°’s latest report, based on data gathered in February, is just how equally divided these omni-shoppers (as the company dubs them) are:

  • Among omni-shoppers, 40% do most of their shopping in-store, 40% do most online, and 20% shop in-store and online equally.

One way that omnichannel shoppers’ behavior can be revealing: It helps illuminate the advantages and disadvantages of both modes of shopping.

Keep reading here.—AAN



Macy’s makeover

Macy's sign. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Macy's plans to close 150 department stores in order to reinvigorate sales and its focus to luxury items.

In its Q4 earnings call on Tuesday, the company said it will close “underproductive” stores, while opening more of its, higher-end concepts, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury specifically. This is part of the vision for the retailer’s new CEO, Tony Spring.

  • Spring’s plan deals with the fact that Macy’s has lost its core customer to online brands that have been able to cast a wider net and bring in more committed shoppers.

Roughly 50 of Macy's stores will close up shop this year and the rest by the end of 2026. Spring said these locations made up 25% of the company’s square footage but fewer than a 10th of sales.

Keep reading here.—KM




It’s essential marketing reading. Come for the strategies, stay for the numbers. Klaviyo’s guide lays out 11 ways to grow e-commerce marketing revenue—based on IRL examples. AriZona Beverage Co. saw 201% YoY growth in Klaviyo-attributed revenue. Dagne Dover saw a 12,000% ROI in its first year on Klaviyo SMS. Get the strategies.


Today’s top retail reads.

Take it easy: The CEO of TJX joked about HomeGoods and its virality on social media, calling it “a bit of a cult.” (Business Insider)

What’s in store? Everyone has their theories about generative AI and how its application will shape the future of not just retail but businesses broadly. Here are six predictions for 2024 and beyond. (Forbes)

Don’t say that: The CEO of Kellogg told CNBC that customers who are worried about rising food costs could eat cereal for dinner. Let’s just say it’s not going over well. (Inc.)


Are you looking for your next career opportunity (either a full-time role or a seat on a board of directors)? View hundreds of confidential jobs in the retail industry on ExecThread. Retail Brew subscribers can skip the application review and instantly join ExecThread for free.


The numbers you need to know.

Unified commerce is a term that’s dominating panels at retail conferences—besides generative AI, of course. It’s the concept of connecting a business’s back-end systems with its consumer-facing channels through a single tool.

Nearly all (95%) of retailers surveyed identified unified commerce as “important” or “extremely important” for achieving success, according to data from retail technology company Aptos.

  • But there seems to be a gap with implementation, given that 4 in 5 of those surveyed said a unified commerce strategy will help with profitability, only a slight majority (51%) have a strategy implemented.
  • Also, two-thirds say that their budgets “suffice” and less than half believe the technology they have on hand is adequate.

According to Aptos, an important factor that diverges from the research is that only 45% of respondents identified a VP of store operations having a major impact on a unified commerce strategy, while roughly 85% of revenue came from stores themselves.

“We believe store operations leadership should have a major influence on any unified commerce project, and we recommend that they have ‘a seat at the table’ alongside marketing, e-commerce, and customer experience executives,” Dave Bruno, director of retail marketing insights at Aptos, said in a statement.


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