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Welcome to a new week, and a new month. August has arrived, and with it comes a lull in the ecommerce events calendar. it's a good time to catch up with contacts one-on-one. Still, there are still plenty of opportunities to learn about where this economy is heading, and how public companies are adapting. Let’s get to this week's happenings:
After last week's fresh dose of data on consumer behavior and the latest move by the Fed to hike interest rates to combat inflation, the focus turns to jobs this week. This will be important data on two levels. For one, the labor market is a key piece of the equation that measures the economy’s current strength at a time when many are mulling whether the US is in a recession. Plus, layoffs are continuing to pile up, as most prominently shown by Shopify’s decision to let go of 10% of its workforce last week. Here is the jobs data due from the US Labor Department this week:
- JOLT job openings, which shows data on job openings, hires and quits for July, will be released Wednesday, August 3.
- The monthly jobs report, which shows the unemployment rate and how many jobs employers added or subtracted in July, will be out Friday, August 5.
The following economic data is also due:
- S&P Global’s PMI data for July, which measures manufacturing and services activity in the economy, will be released in its final form on Wednesday, August 3. The month’s initial report signaled a slowdown for the first time since 2020.
- US factory orders for July will be reported on Wednesday, August 3.
- Trade: Imports, exports and the balance of trade will be released for July on Thursday, August 4.
Second quarter earnings season rolls on. Here are the companies in ecommerce, retail and consumer goods that are set to report results this week:
- Monday, August 1: Pinterest
- Tuesday, August 2: Uber, Paypal, Sprout Social
- Wednesday, August 3: Clorox, Mckesson, Under Armour, elf Beauty, eBay, Tupperware, Hostess Brands, CVS
- Thursday, August 4: The Kellogg Co., Wayfair, Bigcommerce, Edgewell Personal Care, Lightspeed Commerce, Yeti, Beyond Meat, Restaurant Brands International, The Franchise Group, Funko
Stories we’re following:
Inventory: The inventory glut that resulted from supply chain-delayed items arriving too late to match consumer demand is moving firmly into focus. Walmart’s warning of lower profits ahead last week showed the pressure it is putting on retailers, while a New York Times story over the weekend showed how the merchandise pileup was creating a boon for liquidators. A couple of questions going forward: Are these issues filtering down to retailers beyond the Walmarts and Targets of the world? Is this a boost for resale?
Consumer healthcare: Amazon’s recent acquisition of One Medical and a pair of spinoffs from GSK and Johnson & Johnson are putting consumer health in focus. As these deals close and teams settle in, we’ll be watching the following: Where is there room to profitably innovate the healthcare experience, and what new products can be developed? Moreover, what principles from building ecommerce businesses will be applied to meeting consumers where they are in their health journeys?
Back-to-school: The slower weeks of summer are also a time to start getting prepared for fall. As back-to-school season moves into full gear, we’ll be monitoring the shopping trends that emerge online, and look to gauge how brands and retailers are faring during a normally busy time.
Trending in Economy
LadderUp is aiming for 50% LGBTQ+ and BIPOC participation. Shopify will provide access to its platform.
Shipt is launching a new accelerator program designed to provide ecommerce tools for local retailers.Called LadderUp, the program is centered on equity. Target-owned delivery owned Shipt said conversations with business owners have revealed that local entrepreneurs face “gaps” in technology, but they also want to participate in ecommerce platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic was especially difficult for Black business owners, who saw earnings drop between 11-28% in 2019-2020, as compared to the earnings decrease of 5-17% for the rest of the population.
With the new program, the company’s goal is to reach at least 50% LGBTQ+ and BIPOC participation in the program.
Shipt is aiming to serve businesses in Atlanta, Birmingham, Alabama, Detroit, Houston and Washington, D.C.
Target categories include: grocery/beverage, health, beauty, and floral/gifts retailers.
“Working with small businesses to build up their capabilities is a key part of our commitment to help create healthier, more resilient and equitable communities,” said CEO Kamau Witherspoon. “We recognize the unique role that we can play in both combating hunger in under-resourced communities and boosting small, local retailers that are so vital to communities across our country.”
What will entrepreneurs receive?
Education: Business owners who are selected will receive an 8-week course with industry leaders that covers business-building topics including finances, efficiency, marketing, ecommerce 101, the basics of using Shipt, and legal knowledge.
Funding: Upon completion, retailers will provide $5,000 for businesses to invest in ecommerce.
Shopify access: Shopify, which is partnering with Shipt, is also providing to its access for a limited amount of time to help business owners build an online storefront and manage inventory. The program will also provide technical assistance.Applications are open Feb. 6- March 6.