Retail

Retail’s Ups And Downs: iPhone 7 Pre-Sales, Tinder’s New Spotify Relationship And John Stumpf

The world of retail can be a lot like riding a roller coaster. Here's this week's winners and losers.

Not everyone can be like this dog, whose Chinese billionaire owner recently bought it eight new iPhone 7s — because, well, dogs need a lot of smartphones in China, apparently.

Coco the Alaskan Malamute was the lucky recipient of the hot, new phones, which released last week in China, because of her owner, Wang Sicong, the son of China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, who made an estimated $30 billion in real estate development.

Wang Sicong is one of China’s more famous fuerdai, or second-generation rich, who are notorious for flaunting their lavish lifestyles on Chinese social media. When the Apple Watch was released last year, Wang Sicong caused a stir by posting a picture of Coco wearing two of the new watches with gold luxury bands estimated to cost more than $37,000.

Coco aside, here are some of the other big winners and losers of the retail game at the moment.

 

UP

Pokémon GO players are apparently finding it much easier to locate and catch rare Pokémon after the mobile app’s latest update seems to have increased the spawning rate of some of the rarest characters the game has to offer. The Silph Road subreddit thread first began cataloging the phenomenon this weekend, according to Yahoo.

 

Pre-order sales for the new iPhone 7 appear to be some of the strongest that Apple has seen in some time, which is welcome news to the company badly in need of a hot, new product.

The iPhone 7 set a single-day preorder sales record for smartphones offered by T-Mobile, the company said in a statement last week. Additionally, Sprint said that pre-order sales of Apple’s new smartphone are nearly five times higher than last year’s iPhone 6s launch.

 

And Tinder and Spotify now appear to be dating. Well, OK, not so much, but the swipey dating app and the online music streaming platform have forged a partnership that allows Tinder users to start seeing and playing the top Spotify songs listed on dating profiles. Tinder users don’t even need a Spotify account to have access to the songs of others, but if they do, they will now actually see a list of artists they have in common with their potential match. Tinder reportedly rolled out the feature on Tuesday (Sept. 20), which is just another way that the app appears to be trying to bring people closer together after rolling out a group meeting option over the summer as it tries to change its reputation from “the hookup app.”

 

DOWN

It might finally be time to “l’eggo those Eggos,” as Kellogg Co. has announced a recall of 10,000 cases of its Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles in 25 states due to fears that they could be contaminated with the listeria bacteria.

Listeria, which mainly affects the elderly, newborns, people with weakened immune systems or pregnant women, can lead to serious or even deadly infections if not properly treated. Kellogg said that it is unaware of anyone becoming sick from eating the waffles, which are available in 10-count packs with a use-by date of Nov. 21–22.

 

Ascena Retail Group Inc., the parent company of apparel retailers Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and others, reported some disappointing earnings on Monday (Sept. 19) and also said that it now expected sales would be weaker than previously believed for 2017 as well. Stocks took a noticeable turn lower for the retailer on Tuesday.

The company reported net income of $13.8 million on revenue of $1.81 billion for the quarter, but same-store sales fell 4 percent. For the year, Ascena is posting a loss of about $11.9 million on revenue of $7 billion. The company operates about 4,900 apparel retail stores throughout North America.

 

And it was not a good week for embattled Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, who had to appear before the Senate Banking Committee and hard-charging consumer advocate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Tuesday to answer questions about millions of fraudulent accounts opened by Wells employees under his leadership.

As expected, Sen. Warren lit into Stump, criticizing the CEO for his “gutless leadership” and calling for a criminal investigation into his tenure as Wells Fargo’s CEO.

“This is about accountability. You should resign, you should give back the money you took while this scam was going on and you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Warren said during the hearing, according to Yahoo News. “The only way that Wall Street will change is if executives face jail time when they preside over massive frauds.”

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