Hi! I’m Elizabeth Lafontaine, chief retail analyst at Retail Leader Pro, and welcome to this week’s Retail Minute. We’re only in the second week of 2023 and already I've seen some shake ups across the industry. Today, I'm going to break down some of the top news and how it’s shaping the industry.
Amazon announced this week that it will lay off 18,000 employees in order to right size the business and focus on their most important sectors to operation. Amazon is the pinnacle of the retail industry here in the U.S., while they also straddle the line between a retailer and a technology firm. This could be an ominous indicator of what is to come throughout the year as brands become further squeezed and economic pressures mount.
Next up is the situation with Bed Bath & Beyond. The company is potentially headed toward bankruptcy, reducing headcount and struggling to find its footing after executive shakeups. The company has been a darling in the specialty retail sector, as it remained the final standing home focused store, but faced increased competition from broadline retailers and off price. As each specialty industry hits maturity, the number of players tends to decline, which should be a signal to other industries.
Finally, La Brea Bakery, which coincidentally began in my neighborhood, announced this week that they would be shutting down their restaurant business in order to focus on grocery wholesale growth. While this is a small brand from a foodservice perspective, it’s quickly growing in the grocery space, and I think illuminates the strategic business questions that those in the industry are asking, which is where can I find growth and what are my most important assets, especially in the uncertain economic environment.
From all of us here at Retail Leader, have a great weekend and we will see you next week!