Today in Retail: Walmart Ratchets up Investment in Health, Wellness; Build-A-Bear’s eCommerce Dips


Today in retail, Walmart rolls out new services through its online Wellness Hub, while Build-A-Bear sees eCommerce sales slow. Plus, Instacart introduces new features to support in-store pickers, Peloton introduces a new pricing system, and Duluth Trading shoppers prefer the in-store experience.

Walmart Unveils New Services Through Online Wellness Hub

Walmart is now offering BetterUp for Caregivers and Easy Vitamin Plan subscriptions to customers across the U.S. through its Wellness Hub. BetterUp for Caregivers gives caregivers access to live group coaching circles led by a professional BetterUp coach, and it includes customized tools and community support. Meanwhile, Easy Vitamin Plan is partnering with Walmart to offer personalized 28-day vitamin subscription plans to Walmart customers.

Build-A-Bear Workshop eCommerce Sales Slow Down Significantly in Fiscal 2021

Build-A-Bear’s eCommerce business jumped only slightly in the fourth quarter, and store closures hampered the business for most of the three months. For Q4 ending Jan. 29, consolidated eCommerce demand (orders generated online to be fulfilled from either the company’s warehouse or its stores) increased 3.5% compared to Q4 of fiscal 2020, a penetration of 20.7% of net retail sales. Build-A-Bear’s eCommerce demand increased 114.7% compared to Q4 in fiscal 2019.

Instacart Rolls out Shopper Support Features as Gig Model Faces Scrutiny

Instacart has kicked off a range of features meant to provide support to its in-store pickers, including phone support through the Shopper app, enabling shoppers to speak with a representative in response to demand for such a helpline. The company also debuted a safety toolkit, which includes alerts, emergency calling and incident reporting, and a navigation feature offering an interactive map of the store that indicates item locations.

Peloton Experiments With New Pricing System

Peloton will introduce a new pricing system Friday (March 11) that allows customers to pay one monthly fee for their workout equipment and participate in the home fitness brand’s on-demand exercise classes. The trial program will run in Texas, Florida, Minnesota and Denver, with fees from $60 to $100 a month. The option will only be available through Peloton’s physical stores and fitness studios, not online.

Duluth Trading eCommerce Slips as Shoppers Return to Stores

Customers returned to brick-and-mortar Duluth Trading Company stores in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, but women had a harder time finding some of the casual apparel and accessories, especially in the three-month period ending Jan. 30. Supply chain issues led to some women’s gear being out of stock, meaning the company saw lower sales in that segment of its shopping population. Meanwhile, Duluth shoppers showed they would prefer to shop in stores rather than online.

Big Brands Face ‘Now What?’ Moment on Whether They Cover or Eat Cost of Russian Departures

The list of multinational brands announcing their departure from Russia grows by the hour, with the cumulative corporate cost of “doing the right thing” rising alongside it. McDonald’s said the number is $50 million a month, while Adidas set the preliminary cost of leaving Russia at the equivalent of $275 million, and Shell pegged its departure-related write-downs at $400 million.