News Briefs


Dia & Co. Expands Inclusive Fashion Portfolio With 11 Honoré Acquisition

Inclusive shopping at apparel store

Consolidation within the fashion industry is bringing one-stop shopping to inclusive apparel. Dia & Co is acquiring 11 Honoré, increasing access to styles, brands, and price points in sizes 10-32.

The brand’s private label, 11 Honoré Collection, is now available on Dia & Co; however, it will also continue its e-commerce presence on until the brand is fully integrated at in the coming months.

Patrick Herning, founder of 11 Honoré, will continue to lead brand collaborations within the Dia & Co team.

[More innovation in apparel: H&M Group and Amazon Launch Tech-Enabled In-Store Shopping Experiences]

"The commonality between 11 Honoré and Dia & Co is an ethos of partnership," Herning said in a statement. "Both companies lead the charge helping straight sized brands enter the plus size space impactfully. We've done it tremendously as separate entities, and now that we're joining forces, it's going to be a remarkable change for a customer that deserves more from the fashion industry."

Nadia Boujarwah, Dia & Co CEO, stated that the relationship represents “an enormous leap forward in our mission to deliver true style freedom for our community.” 

Nadia Boujarwah and Lydia Gilbert co-founded Dia & Co in 2015, and the company now carries hundreds of brands including Madewell, Girlfriend Collective, Universal Standard, and Third Love. What began as a direct-to-consumer startup, is now leveraging brand partnerships and a recent nationwide expansion into Nordstrom stores. 

[Read more: Nordstrom Local Comes to the Hamptons]

In addition to 11 Honoré's signature private label collection, the 11 Honoré portfolio also includes brands like Diane Von Furstenberg, Carolina Hererra, Good American, and Tanya Taylor.

“In my two decades as a plus size shopper, the promise of being able to joyfully shop the brands I love for everything from $25 t-shirts to $2,500 dresses, made to fit my body, seamlessly in one place, has been the ultimate dream," Boujarwah said. "Joining forces with 11 Honoré has made that dream a reality on our platform and will fundamentally transform the shopping experience for our customers."


Albertsons Launches Product Ratings and Reviews on Its Grocery Websites


Consumer-generated product ratings and reviews, enabled by PowerReviews, are now live on Albertsons Cos’ websites. For the first time, shoppers can browse and interact with authentic product ratings and reviews on 11 of Albertsons Cos.’ retail websites, including Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, and Shaw’s.

[To learn more about the top grocery retailer technology trends for 2022 and Albertsons, click here for RIS News' latest Special Report]

"Customer-generated ratings and reviews empower purchase decisions," said  Jill Pavlovich, SVP of Digital Customer Experience at Albertsons Cos. "We’re proud to be one of the first grocers to offer this authentic conversation with our shoppers about their favorite products.”

PowerReviews is providing ratings and reviews technology and services to Albertsons Cos., including the ability for brands to syndicate their user-generated content to related product pages on Albertsons Cos.’ sites to ensure a consistent shopper experience.

“Ratings and reviews have become such a significant factor in buyer decision-making that shoppers actually choose where they buy from based on the availability of this content," said Mark Dillon, CEO at PowerReviews. "Albertsons Cos. has an established history of introducing technology to improve the customer experience, and we are excited and proud to work together to enhance their customers’ online shopping experience.”



Conn's and Belk Partner to Pilot Store-Within-A-Store Concept


Home goods retailer Conn’s, Inc. and department store retailer Belk are partnering to pilot a store-within-a-store concept in select Belk locations and online at beginning later this summer. The new store format, which will launch under a new brand name soon to be announced, will provide Belk customers with access to Conn's complementary home product categories, as well as core differentiators like white-glove, next-day delivery.

[Learn more: How Innovative Store Partnerships Are Changing the Face of Retail]

The store-within-a-store concept will be piloted in 10 to 20 Belk locations in Conn’s existing markets and through an e-commerce experience on beginning in the coming months. The stores will feature a name brand assortment of all major Conn’s product categories including furniture, home electronics and appliances, and will also include Conn’s white-glove, next-day delivery and in-house repair service capabilities. Each store-within-a-store location will range from 10,000-25,000 square feet, depending on the Belk location.

“Our partnership with Belk is an exciting opportunity to reach new customers with key differentiators including our high-quality product assortment, next-day delivery and in-house repair service,” said Chandra Holt, president and CEO of Conn’s HomePlus. “Our new store-within-a store pilot will launch under a new brand we plan to introduce in the coming months, reflecting our bold vision that everyone deserves a home they love.”

Belk has nearly 300 locations in 16 Southeastern states and an e-commerce presence. Conn’s HomePlus is a specialty retailer of high-quality home goods with over 160 locations in 15 states and distribution, logistics and in-house repair service capabilities. The geographic overlap of the retailers provides an opportunity to maximize Conn’s unique distribution capabilities in existing markets to serve new customers at Belk, the two said.

“At Belk, we take pride in providing our customers with a wide range of the best brands and products for their homes,” said Don Hendricks, Interim CEO of Belk. “This partnership with Conn’s will allow us to offer customers many products we don’t currently sell, making it easier for them to get everything they need for their homes in one convenient place.”


Stitch Fix Taps Marc Jacobs for Marketing Chief


Online personal shopping and styling service Stitch Fix has named Debbie Rose Woloshin its chief marketing officer as of May 23. 

Woloshin was previously the CMO at Marc Jacobs. Before Marc Jacobs, she led marketing at the Frye Company and Ann, Inc. and spent more than 17 years with the Jones Group. Woloshin will report to Stitch Fix CEO Elizabeth Spaulding and lead the company's marketing teams across the US and the UK.

"I'm thrilled to welcome Debbie to Stitch Fix as our new Chief Marketing Officer," said Spaulding. "There are many exciting opportunities on the horizon as we continue to expand our offering and focus on bringing our personalized styling and shopping experience to more clients. Debbie has built and grown some of fashion's most beloved brands, and we're looking forward to the wealth of creative and commercial experience she'll bring to Stitch Fix. Debbie will play a central role in telling our story as we become the global destination for personalized shopping, styling, and inspiration."

"It's a privilege to be joining a company that is such a disruptive force in our industry," said Woloshin. "I'm excited to be part of creating the future of retail and styling with an organization and team that uses technology and feedback in innovative ways across its business. I'm looking forward to supporting our future growth in this next chapter, and helping expand the universe of customers who will benefit from Stitch Fix's service and brand."


Starbucks Closing 130 Retail Stores


Starbucks announced it will exit Russia completely in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The coffee giant follows in the footsteps of McDonald’s, which announced last week it would exit the market after more than 30 years of operations in the country. Starbucks has operated in Russia for 15 years and said it will exit and no longer have a "brand presence" in the market. This will include closing 130 Starbucks' stores, which are all owned and operated by Alshaya Group, a Kuwait-based franchise operator. The move comes after Starbucks paused store operations and suspended all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products, as of March 8.

The coffee retailer also announced, while it is closing stores, it will continue to support the nearly 2,000 Starbucks associates in Russia, including pay for six months and assistance for employees to transition to new opportunities outside of Starbucks. Starbucks does not have cafés in Ukraine.

[See also: Starbucks Investing in Workforce Tech and NFTs]

Starbucks first announced on March 4th it would keep its Russian stores open but donate any royalties to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine and that The Starbucks Foundation contributed $500,000 to World Central Kitchen and the Red Cross for humanitarian relief efforts there.

“As this dynamic situation continues to unfold, we will listen and take additional steps to support all our partners and communities,” then Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson wrote at the time.

The announcement to exit Russia completely was not signed by Johnson, who announced he was stepping down as president and CEO in March. Howard Schultz returned as interim CEO on April 4, 2022, until a new leader joins the company. 

While Starbuck’s and McDonald’s have announced the companies will exit Russia completely, Ikea, H&M and Mango all temporarily closed their stores in Russia in early March. Ikea parent company Ingka Group is one of the largest mall operators in Russia, and temporarily paused all retail and manufacturing operations in the country, as well as trade with the country and its ally Belarus. Ingka’s 14 "Mega" malls will continue operating to provide food, clothing and goods to Russians, the company said.


Couche-Tard Begins Electric Vehicle Charging Rollout in U.S.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. plans to bring electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers to 200 Circle K and Couche-Tard stores across North America over the next two years.

Couche-Tard activated its first U.S. site with high power DC fast charging under the Circle K banner at a new prototype Circle K store in Rock Hill, SC. Along with future deployments across its North American network, the company will use the Rock Hill site to better understand U.S. customer needs, closely tracking driver usage and the resulting impacts on in-store foot traffic. The store is the launching point for the company's U.S. EV charging station rollout because of its convenient location along a fast-growing commuter and travel corridor in a major metropolitan area where EV traffic is anticipated to grow.

As it expands EV charger availability in the U.S. and Canada, Couche-Tard will be taking a strategic approach, building a network for the future, looking at areas with strong EV adoption rates and electric delivery infrastructure to enable it to provide convenient charging options for customers, whether in-town or on the highway. Following its successful rollout in Europe, the company plans to deploy its own charging assets to serve this growing EV customer base and continue to partner with other participants in the emerging e-mobility economy.

"We are committed to playing a key role in meeting our customers' evolving mobility needs as demand for sustainable energy choices continues to grow in all of our markets," said Louise Warner, Couche-Tard's SVP, Global Fuels.  "Adding EV charging expands the mobility solutions available to our drivers, giving them a great new reason to visit us and enjoy all we have to offer both in our stores and on our forecourts. Having established Circle K as a leading destination for EV charging in Norway, we are excited to build off our ongoing expansion in Europe to now bring this capability to our North American Circle K and Couche-Tard customers."

The company began introducing EV charging stations four years ago in Norway, the world's most mature EV market, in what is known as its "Norway lab" focusing on innovative EV charging solutions that anticipate and effectively meet the demands of EV customers across the spectrum of driving occasions and needs. The company has a network of more than 1,000 chargers covering more than 230 Circle K stores in Norway, Sweden and Denmark and recently started deployment in other European locations.

"EVs represent 90% of all new passenger cars sold today in Norway. While development in North America is in relatively early stages by comparison, EV acceptance is growing here as manufacturers introduce innovative offerings that meet the unique needs of American and Canadian drivers and infrastructure improves," said Snorre Skeie, Couche-Tard's director of eMobility-North America. "With our broad footprint of more than 9,000 stores across the continent, we are well-positioned to deliver energy for our customers on-the-go, where, when and how they need it."