Dollar General booked a 3.3% increase in fourth-quarter same-store sales and is forecasting 9% sales growth for this year, pulling ahead of rival Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree beat out Dollar General to acquire Family Dollar in 2015, and it's now investing to integrate the chain, improve stores, raise wages and improve employee training.
L.L. Bean has called off a planned data collection project that would have attached sensors to boots and coats and collected data on about a dozen customers who opted to participate. The idea was to study the ways customers used the products after purchase and to determine whether new products were performing properly.
Sales of the cleaner-label sector of the meat counter, including natural and antibiotic-free, has grown while conventional meats have become stagnant, according to market analyst Anne-Marie Roerink. Millennial shoppers are interested in these products but may need more outreach to learn what's available, she said.
After what it considers a successful test, Dollar General will add produce to about 400 more stores. Adding fresh produce to stores both increased the cart size and attracted new customers, the company said.
Pantene is the latest brand to incorporate micellar technology into new products with its Micellar Gentle Cleansing Water and Gentle Moisturizing Milk. Micellar technology, which uses microscopic molecules suspended in water to draw out impurities, is increasingly being featured in new products from companies and brands including Unilever, Neutrogena and Garnier.
Beauty brands are addressing an increasingly sleep-deprived consumer base with luxury products including overnight masks, essential oils, night creams and silk pillowcases. "Sleep, and the lack of it, has become a huge wellness category, like food and fitness," said Melisse Gelula, co-founder of Well+Good.
With subscriber retention proving to be a challenge, meal kit maker Blue Apron will start offering kits in stores by the end of the year, though no retail partner has been identified. CEO Brad Dickerson believes the company can attract more customers by selling its kits both in stores and on its website.
Ben & Jerry's will bring its new Gimme S'more variety to store shelves this month. The limited-edition flavor differs from the brand's existing S'mores option by using a marshmallow ice cream base instead of chocolate.
Toys R Us is actively negotiating to sell its operations in Canada as it prepares to close its US stores, the company said. Toy company MGA Entertainment said CEO Isaac Larian and a group of investors have bid to buy the Canadian business, which includes 82 stores and e-commerce operations.
Hennes & Mauritz has rolled out online shopping in India with a full selection of its fashions plus online-only exclusives, the company said. The Sweden-based fast-fashion retailer operates 29 stores in 12 cities in India, and the online launch will expand access to smaller cities.
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