The Drive-Thru: Coronavirus spreads to retail, Victoria's Secret closes stores, and BI heads to eTail West
This is Shoshy Ciment reporting from sunny Palm Springs, California! And yes, this is for work! I've been at the eTail West conference all week. While listening to industry leaders talk about e-commerce and the future of
BUT, even from a conference across the country, I am still here to bring you The Drive-Thru, Business Insider's weekly roundup of the biggest stories in restaurants and retail!
By the way, if you haven't subscribed to The Drive-Thru yet, let me recommend you take the first step in changing your Fridays for the better. Signing up for The Drive-Thru has almost been proven to reduce the risk of stress and boredom.
Anyway, a lot has happened this week, and my colleagues have been covering it from all over the world.
From Victoria's Secret store closures to coronavirus impact to conference nuggets from eTail, here's everything you need to know.
Victoria's Secret is closing stores in Canada
Mary got the scoop on Victoria's Secret closing stores in Canada. The lingerie chain has closed eight stores in Canada so far in 2020, and a spokesperson said it plans to close up to two more locations in the country by the end of the year. This would leave 28 Victoria's Secret stores remaining in Canada.
These closures were related to natural lease expirations, the spokesperson said, though the lingerie brand has been struggling with falling sales as of late.
Big picture: Victoria's Secret is in a downward spiral amid slumping sales and high-profile executive departures. Les Wexner stepped down as CEO of L Brands earlier this month to take on the role of chairman emeritus of the board. Private-equity firm Sycamore Partners acquired a majority share in Victoria's Secret from L Brands.
Analysts are warning that Wexner could still be a "problem" for Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works.
Coronavirus is affecting major retailers - and making for some interesting bread
The coronavirus outbreak has led many retailers to shutter stores throughout China. Coca-Cola said that the virus could spark Diet Coke shortages due to a lack of artificial sweeteners sourced from China.
Business Insider contacted numerous retailers to better understand the impact of the virus outbreak on international operations and supply chains.
With more people likely to choose to stay home amid spreading fears, Peloton's stock rose earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Starbucks said Thursday that 85% of its stores in China had reopened after temporary closures from to coronavirus fears.
An interesting byproduct: Kate found that the Ho Chi Minh City-based ABC Bakery is selling pink bread that has become an instant hit. Turns out, it's also a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The bread is made with tons of Vietnam's unsold dragon fruit, which became an issue after much of its trade with China was halted.
An unfortunate coincidence? Corona beer released a hard seltzer ad that some people are saying might be tone deaf given the current tensions regarding the virus.
BI does eTail West
Like I mentioned before, I got to head out to Palm Springs, California, this week for the eTail West conference. And yes, it is as beautiful as it looks in that picture.
In addition to moderating a fireside chat with the founders of footwear brand Athletic Propulsion Labs, I also got to hear from some top industry leaders and innovators about the future of e-commerce and retail in general.
Some highlights: A TGI Fridays exec explained how one customer ordering Cajun shrimp and pasta to-go 52 times in a year was useful to the company. Plus, I interviewed Hershey's director of digital about how the snacking giant is dominating on Amazon.
Taste test of the week: fish sandwiches mostly disappoint
With Lent upon us - and some people looking to give up meat - Irene decided to try all of the fast-food fish sandwiches she could find to see which was superior.
She was let down by the sandwiches at Arby's, Dairy Queen, and McDonald's. Burger King won by having the only fish sandwich that Irene "kind of enjoyed."
"For those with less adventurous palettes, the Filet-O-Fish remains a solid if uninspiring choice for the fast-food-loving fish eater," Irene said.
Everything else you need to know
- A UPS training school has workers haul boxes across slick "ice" and deliver packages to empty homes in a fake neighborhood.
- The Corona x University of Texas Nike Air Max is the sneaker collaboration you didn't know you needed to see.
- Outdoor Voices' founder is out, and jobs are being slashed at the company.
- Jimmy John's pulled sprouts that could be linked to illnesses from restaurants across the US.
- Walmart goes ... Prime?
- A top JCPenney exec left after nine months in the role.
- Is it Gif or Jif? This peanut butter brand has opinions.
- TJ Maxx is messier and still better than Macy's Backstage.
- Get unlimited coffee and tea from Panera for $9 a month.
- Lowe's knows its website need a revamp.
- K'taka Assembly passes supplementary budget of Rs 10,265 crore
- Sports NFT platforms have racked up nearly $1 billion in funding this week alone, despite market slump
- COVID-19 virus likely to get weaker and become a common cold, says Oxford-AstraZeneca vax creator
- Best teether for growing baby in India
- TiE Delhi-NCR kickstarts the 10th Edition of India Internet Day themed Digital India: Escape Velocity