The Weekly Closeout: The Container Store brings in new brands and the latest Toys R Us comeback

It’s been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week and what we’re still thinking about.

From Amazon’s latest union troubles to holiday sweaters for pets, here’s our closeout for the week.

What you may have missed

Saks teams up with The RealReal

Retailers Saks and The RealReal teamed up to open a pop-up in Miami on Nov. 26, which will go through Feb. 28, according to a company announcement. At Saks x The RealReal customers can have complimentary valuations and consignment appointments. Additionally, every first-time consignor will receive a $100 Saks gift card.

“Partnering with Saks gives us the opportunity to bring more people into the circular economy, helping shoppers understand the lasting value of their luxury investments and shop sustainably for unique pieces that reflect their personal style,” Rati Sahi Levesque, president of The RealReal, said in a statement “The ability to get insights and guidance from our experts is a core part of our store experience. We’re excited to bring that service to Saks customers and expand our presence in Miami.”

A Pea in the Pod teams up with Something Navy

A Pea in the Pod this week announced that it partnered with fashion media company Something Navy on a maternity holiday collection, which includes dresses, jumpsuits and jogger sets.

“This year, more than ever, we are excited to offer something new, in partnership with Something Navy, that promises a touch of glamour and femininity, along with stylish comfort for the holidays,” Marla Ryan, executive vice president of A Pea in the Pod, said in a statement.  “Whether the occasion calls for a festive party dress, a special date night look or wanting to have the perfect cozy, yet chic, outfit to entertain family and friends at home, there is something for all our moms-to-be.”

The collection is available online at both A Pea in the Pod and Something Navy, and at Something Navy’s New York City store.

The Container Store expands its assortment through new partnerships

The Container Store this week announced it added new vendor partners: Cricut, The Home Edit, DTC cleaning brand Blueland, Food 52’s Five Two brand and The Laundress.

Through the partnerships, the retailer has introduced a number of new products to its assortment, including Cricut’s smart cutting machines, Five Two’s baking sets and Blueland’s dishwasher and laundry detergents. In December, The Container Store will add the Laundress’s new scent, Way Out West, which was created with singer John Mayer.

“The buying team at The Container Store sources products all over the world to keep the assortment fresh and engaging as consumer needs and interests evolve,” John Gehre, The Container Store’s chief merchandising officer, said in a statement. “Sustainability and support of small businesses are not only priorities for our company, but our customers, too, and are all reflected in these new introductions.”

Proactiv is moving beyond acne with a rebrand

Proactiv made its name thanks to skincare products aimed at clearing up acne. Now, the brand wants to move beyond that. The Proactiv Company is rebranding as Alchemee, according to details emailed to Retail Dive this week, and alongside the rebrand, it will also expand its product offerings. Alchemee will offer skincare products aimed at solving other common issues in addition to acne, including discoloration, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. 

Over the course of the year, the company has been incubating two new brands, dubbed Restorative Elements and In Defense of Skin, both of which are listed as “coming soon” on the company’s website. Alchemee developed its new offerings thanks to data from its DTC model, and will offer its new categories across several channels, including retail and DTC. The company also works with dermatologists and skincare experts in forming its products.

New union vote ordered at Amazon warehouse in Alabama

On Monday, the director of the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Atlanta took the unusual step of ordering a new election at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, and the e-commerce giant is none too happy about it.

“During the critical period and throughout the election,” Amazon employed various tactics, including security cameras and rumor-mongering, according to a report from NLRB Regional Director Lisa Henderson.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union had swiftly filed objections over Amazon’s conduct before and during the union vote, which took place in April and failed. Monday’s “decision confirms what we were saying all along – that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace — and as the Regional Director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal,” RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon doesn’t see it that way. In an email, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said the NLRB decision was a letdown.

“Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU earlier this year,” Nantel said. “It’s disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count. As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees. Every day we empower people to find ways to improve their jobs, and when they do that we want to make those changes — quickly.”

The company’s statement rejects the value of labor organizing in general, asserting that Amazon’s empowerment and job improvement goals are harder to achieve “with unions in the middle.”

“The benefits of direct relationships between managers and employees can’t be overstated — these relationships allow every employee’s voice to be heard, not just the voices of a select few,” Nantel said. “While we’ve made great progress in important areas like pay and safety, we know there are plenty of things that we can keep doing better, both in our fulfillment centers and in our corporate offices, and that’s our focus — to work directly with our employees to keep getting better every day.”

It’s possible that RWDSU’s effort had an effect despite its loss in Alabama, as Amazon announced pay bumps for 500,000 workers shortly afterward. In any case, there will be a new election, with the date and method to be determined.

Retail Therapy

A match made in PetSmart

Courtesy of PetSmart


PetSmart is taking twinning to a whole new level. This holiday, pet parents and their pets can have each other’s faces custom embroidered on their sweaters through PetSmart’s limited-edition Pawliday Sweater sets. The Pawliday sweater for humans is a red cardigan, and it comes with a matching red sweater for their furry friends. 

“We want to bring pet parents and their pets closer together — and you can’t get much closer than donning one another’s picture on your sweaters,” Will Smith, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PetSmart, said in a statement.

The sweaters are free, but unfortunately, all the sweaters have been snatched up. 

Microsoft sells out minesweeper-themed ugly sweater

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