Retail Pulse: Fabletics Plans Expansion, Dunkin’ Gets New CEO

Fabletics is seeking aggressive growth, with the activewear retailer planning to open 75 new brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. and other countries. Such an expansion would dramatically increase the retailer’s footprint – and bring its store count to a total of 100 locations.

Retailers are, of course, looking to add all sorts of bells and whistles to their new stores, and Fabletics is no exception. One new location, for example, is slated to receive a leggings bar along with a selfie wall for photos. But that’s where the similarities between Fabletics and similar brands end: While the retailer is a brand often associated with fitness, it seeks to expand its reach beyond that category.

Fabletics’ celebrity co-founder, Kate Hudson, thinks fitness wellness focus is great, according to Hudson, but perhaps a little intimidating for the moms in their 30s and 40s, who have become the brand’s core customers. Professional athletes are very inspiring, but most average people aren’t quite ready to go from zero to 60 in a workout routine. As a result, Hudson said she “wanted to create something that was more about a lifestyle than an actual fitness brand. And it seemed to really resonate.”

In Other Brick-and-Mortar News 

Sears is cutting approximately 200 positions, 150 of which are in the retailer’s Illinois headquarters. Chief Executive Eddie Lampert announced the news to employees in a letter on June 26. While the layoffs were immediately effective, the company provided severance through August 25. This is not the first time that Sears has undergone recent staffing changes: The retailer laid off 220 workers from its corporate office ranks earlier in 2018.

And the layoffs come as 63 more stores hit the chopping block, it was reported in June — although, if one is looking for a silver lining, that number was initially supposed to be 72. However, the retailer has identified 100 unprofitable Sears and Kmart stores, meaning even more closures could be in its future if those locations don’t start performing better.

Dunkin’ Brands has brought on a new chief executive: David Hoffmann now has the top post at the quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain. Hoffmann came to the company in 2016 as head of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. With the new appointment, Dunkin’ said that Hoffmann will keep his existing position along with his new chief executive job.

Hoffmann takes the helm as the company aims to boost sales growth at Dunkin’ Donuts, and as the chain has found itself amid a coffee price war among other U.S. QSR brands. While Dunkin’ is known for its namesake doughnuts, the chain has also been offering products such as espresso-based and cold brew beverages.

John Schnatter, founder and former CEO of Papa John’s, officially resigned his position as chairman of the board on Wednesday. The news came hours after Schnatter acknowledged the use of a racial slur during a May conference call and offered a public apology.

The relationship with the media training firm retained by Papa John’s ended abruptly after the call, according to reporting in Forbes. Ironically, it seems the objectionable language used by Schnatter occurred during a role-playing training exercise that was designed to help the at-times controversial chairman refrain from making statements that could be taken as racially insensitive.

Dollar Tree will reach a brick-and-mortar milestone: The retailer will commemorate its 15,000th store opening. Gary Philbin, president and CEO, said the retailer was excited to reach the mark, and that “we continue to see the opportunity to grow our two strong banners, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, into approximately 26,000 stores across North America.”

Beyond Dollar Tree’s store expansion, the retailer has opened a new distribution center. The opening marks the retailer’s 23rd distribution center, and it is also planning to open another. Overall, the retailer has many shipments to handle – the company’s network sent and received over 1.7 billion cases of merchandise last year.



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