Old Navy is killing it


March 4, 2019

Old Navy shines amidst the retail-pocalypse, but first…
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Thanks to gamers’ fanaticism, charities are turning to Twitch to raise money

Thanks to the millions of eyeballs glued to gaming celebrities like Ninja at any given moment, live gaming streams have become one of the most successful ways for charities to raise money, The Guardian reports.

“Geek philanthropists” often raise money for causes that align with their personal interests. But, inspired by their successes, big charities like Doctors Without Borders have also begun using Twitch and other platforms to game for good.

Bye-bye, bake sales

Charity has always evolved with technology: Fundraising flyers evolved into fundraising phone calls which eventually evolved into telethons. Now, popular game streaming platforms are growing more than 300% annually, 

So the fact that fundraising has followed viewers to this new format isn’t surprising. But what is surprising is the scale of the sudden success: Twitch gamers raised $75m for charity between 2012 and 2017, and the amount raised annually on the platform is on track to hit a new high score.

The Twitch-uation

Live stream philanthropy started out informally among groups of friends. 

“Sometimes it’s just one person who streams a little bit, and their friends watch and donate some,” Jeremy Wells, fundraising events manager at Doctors Without Borders, explained to The Guardian. “It’s very grassroots, very reactive.”

But charity-streams soon evolved into larger — and more organized — operations. Now, GoFundMe and Tiltify offer tools specifically for streamers, and major streaming platforms including YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook offer specific tools and metrics for fundraising.

No, seriously — everyone is doing it

Gamers have audiences large enough to generate massive amounts of cash in almost no time at all: Famous Twitch-er Ninja helped St. Jude raise $2.7m in a weekend, and one gamer who goes by “Dr. Lupo” raised $356k in less than 4 hours.

Charities are prioritizing live streams to capitalize on their speed and scale: Last year, Doctors Without Borders relied on Twitch streams for $2.1m of the $4.7m it raised overall.

Charity streams are so popular, even Congress members are getting in on the action: Famously social-media savvy Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a cameo in a Donkey Kong 64 charity livestream this past January.

Stream work makes the dream work
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Amazon launches its own grocery chain, and things look not-so-super for supermarkets

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is planning to open a chain of grocery stores across major US cities. 

Supermarkets have had to compete with Amazon since it acquired Whole Foods in 2017. But this news that Amazon will be expanding its physical food-print is enough to wilt any grocer’s lettuce.

Turns out Whole Foods wasn’t the whole story

Since its $13.7B acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon has expanded several supermarket services, adding Prime discounts and delivery at Whole Foods and launching a line of cashierless Amazon Go stores. 

But this new expansion is by far Amazon’s biggest grocery gamble. Amazon plans to launch its first grocery store in Los Angeles this year, with locations in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia to follow.

Unlike Whole Foods (AKA ‘Whole Paycheck’), these new stores will offer low prices and a wider variety of different brands and products, positioning Amazon to compete with other grocery chains 

Cleanup on aisle 7. And 8. And 9…

After the Journal broke the news, stock in Kroger, Costco, BJ’s, Sprouts, and Target all dropped noticeably (Kroger fell by about 4.5%).

Amazon also plans to expand its network of Whole Foods stores and has said that it hasn’t ruled out the option of buying smaller, regional grocery chains, either.

Amazon hasn’t announced whether its new stores will be cashierless, but spokespeople have said Amazon would like to control the parking lots adjacent to its stores to streamline the grocery shopping process.

» The superestmarket

Amid a wave of retail store closures, Old Navy stays afloat

Last week, The Gap Inc. announced it was splitting into two companies: One, informally dubbed “NewCo,” will include Gap, Banana Republic, and smaller chains (Athleta, Intermix); the other, just Old Navy.

As part of the decision, Gap Inc. is closing 230 Gap stores over the next 2 years — and committing to opening more Old Navy locations.

Out with the old, in with the new

Founded in 1969, Gap “rode the mall boom” and experienced huge success through the ’90s. In 1994, the company launched Old Navy as a cheaper, “fast-fashion” alternative to their other offerings.

In recent years, Old Navy has usurped Gap: The chain had $8B in sales last year (compared to $9B for all of Gap Inc.’s other offerings combined), and has risen to be the #2 clothing brand in the US. 

The move (which bumped Gap Inc. stock by as much as 25%) will give Old Navy autonomy from Gap Inc.’s other floundering brands — and hopefully, respite from a nationwide retail purge.

The retail-pocolyse is at high tide

This news came amid one of the worst weeks for retail in recent years. In a 48-hour span, nearly 500 retail store closures were announced, by Gap (230 stores), Foot Locker (165), Victoria’s Secret (53), and JCPenney (27). (Tesla is also closing “many” of its 378 locations.)

According to Business Insider, this is part of a wave of 4.5k expected store closures in 2019 — possibly as much as 200m square feet of space.

» So much room for activities

UPDATE: Lyft beats Uber to the public market as expected

As of last October, a whopping 83% of IPOs in 2018 were filed by unprofitable companies. Now, in 2019, Lyft is keeping the trend alive. 

Ride-hailing giant Lyft finally filed to go public on the Nasdaq on Friday — under the stock ticker “LYFT” — to raise as much as $100m in its public offering.

But they still can’t stop the bleeding

While Uber has been on its apology tour the last few years, Lyft’s been busy gaining market share against its rival — with its share of the US ride hailing market up from 22% at the end of 2016 to 39% in December 2018.

But, like Uber (which lost $1.8B last year), Lyft is still wildly unprofitable with a net loss of $911m in 2018, up from $688m a year earlier.

The running of the unicorns

After investors have waited for years for startups with billion-dollar valuations to make it to Wall Street, Uber, Airbnb, Slack, Pinterest and Postmates are all expected to file this year.

For Lyft, there could be several advantages to beating Uber to the public market. But front row tickets to Lyft’s debut could also give the giants on Lyft’s heels a crystal ball view into how they will be received by investors.

   @ Me Anything
Wes Schlagenhauf, News Writer at The Hustle
@wesschlagenhauf

In its list of risk factors, Lyft warned, “We have incurred net losses each year since our inception and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future…” Now THAT is how you put investors at ease.
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» First is the worst
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