The Drive-Thru: Alibaba celebrates Singles Day, Under Armour battles scandal, and Target workers face off against bursting balls of slime

Haidilao dollIrene Jiang / Business Insider

Hello! This is Kate Taylor, bringing you another week of retail news from Business Insider. If you're reading this for the first time, subscribe here.

I'm back from California. The news did not let up to allow me to enjoy the sunshine much, but I did have a chance to try some West Coast chicken (Zankou and Dave's Hot Chicken, back-to-back on the same day).

While I was away, everyone else was hard at work cranking out stories, so let's get into it.

Alibaba crushes Singles Day again.

Taylor Swift AlibabaPhoto by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Alibaba raked in more than $38.3 billion in sales this Singles Day, outpacing analyst estimates for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the US this year, Bethany reports. In the first hour alone, it generated an estimated $13 billion in sales - nearly double the total estimated sales Amazon brought in on Prime Day in July.

This year, other companies were trying to get in on the celebration. Retailers including Nike, Old Navy, and J.Crew all promoted their own 11/11 day deals.

Read Bethany on Alibaba's massive sales day here.

Under Armour's accounting scandal continues.

under armour ceo kevin plankFounder and CEO of Under Armour Kevin Plank speaks during an IBM keynote address at the 2016 CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 6, 2016.Reuters/Steve Marcus

This week, The Wall Street Journal reported Under Armour had "pushed early shipments" and "dumped goods" at off-price stores such as TJ Maxx to keep up its run of strong sales growth. Under Armour is currently under investigation by the SEC and the US Department of Justice over its accounting practices.

Soon-to-be-former Under Armour CEO Kevin Plan responded to WSJ's reporting on Friday, in an email to employees obtained by Mary.

"Given recent events that have entered the realm of public opinion without full context, it is disappointing to have our integrity and reputation called into question," Plank wrote. "Amid a paradox of being constrained by an ongoing, two and a half year investigation and wanting to address media allegations raised by anonymous sources - our integrity is unshaken."

Read Plank's full email here.

El Paso Walmart reopens after shooting.

Walmart El PasoCedar Attanasio/ Associated Press

The Walmart store where 22 people were killed in a deadly shooting in August reopened this week. Shoshy reports that workers largely supported the move, with one writing on Facebook it is "time to move forward and go back to normal and serving our customers."

The opening highlights companies' efforts to protect workers in the face of violence. The Associated Press reported that Walmart quietly hired off-duty officers for its stores in El Paso, Texas, following the shooting. Shoshy was first to report that Target is expanding its active-shooter training to include hundreds of thousands of employees across the country.

The fast-food industry is facing a similar reckoning, with Popeyes locations around the country seeing violence following the return of its chicken sandwich.

Ready Shoshy on Walmart's reopening here, and her scoop on Target's active-shooter training here.

Target and Walmart workers are battling bursting blobs of slime.

blob ball leakShoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Shoshy also got the scoop on bursting balls of goop that are infuriating workers at stores including Target and Walmart.

Nine workers told Shoshy that Super Squishy Blob Balls, manufactured by MB Wolverine, have been leaking in stores. In a vivid set of quotes, one former employee of a Wisconsin Target described the toys as "the devil" and "the bane of [his] existence."

MB Wolverine said that the company is recalling a small batch of Super Squishy Blob Balls that have an "isolated quality issue" resulting in a thinner outer wall, making the toys prone to breaks and leaks.

Read Shoshy's goopy scoop here.

Sears lays off hundreds of corporate workers.

SearsAP Photo/Mel Evans

Less than a week after Sears announced another round of store closures, the company is laying off hundreds of corporate workers, Hayley reports.

The layoffs impacted workers at Sears' headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, as well as the company's offices in San Francisco. The total number of laid-off employees is fewer than 300, according to a source with direct knowledge of the staffing changes.

Read the full story on the layoffs here.

In happier news, the Krispy Kreme reseller was gifted a free delivery van.

In this Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 photo, Catherine Newton, left, buys three boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts from Jayson Gonzalez in Little Canada, Minn. Gonzalez, a Minnesota college student, says Krispy Kreme has told him to stop making doughnut runs to Iowa. Gonzalez told the Pioneer Press he was told his sales created a liability for the North Carolina-based company.  (Deanna Weniger/Pioneer Press via AP)In this Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 photo, Catherine Newton, left, buys three boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts from Jayson Gonzalez in Little Canada, Minn. Gonzalez, a Minnesota college student, says Krispy Kreme has told him to stop making doughnut runs to Iowa. Gonzalez told the Pioneer Press he was told his sales created a liability for the North Carolina-based company. (Deanna Weniger/Pioneer Press via AP)Associated Press

21-year-old Jayson Gonzalez made the news earlier in November when Krispy Kreme barred - then un-barred - him from reselling Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Now, Gonzalez has not only received Krispy Kreme's blessing, but also was gifted a free Daimler van to deliver the doughnuts. The gift was presented to Gonzalez while he was being interviewed by Business Insider's own Rachel Premack and FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller at a conference on Tuesday, with FreightWaves partnering with Daimler to offer the gift.

Read the sweet story of the man and his van here.

Rich people and older people prefer Cyber Monday to Black Friday.

americans shopping preferences based on household incomeShayanne Gal/Business Insider

BI teamed up with Morning Consult to survey more than 2,300 American adults about their gift purchasing preferences.

Replies proved how Cyber Monday is becoming bigger than Black Friday, especially as older and wealthier shoppers do not want to battle the crowds in stores anymore.

We have a bunch of helpful charts to better understand how people are approaching shopping this holiday season here.

Taste test of the week: Snarky robots, free hand massages, and a noodle dancer at Haidilao.

Haidilao dancing noodle guyIrene Jiang / Business Insider

This week, Irene visited Haidilao, a massively popular Chinese chain known for its hot pot and endless freebies.

Irene's take: "My expectations were met, and then some. Highlights include my very real giant plushie companion, a snarky robot, a Chinese opera dancer, a hand massage, and Chanel No. 5 perfume in the bathroom."

Get a look inside a dining experience like no other here.

Everything else you need to know.

trader joes chocolate gnocchiErin McDowell/Business Insider

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