Hello, you are listening to the Omni Talk Fast Five, brought to you in partnership with Microsoft, the ANM Consumer and Retail Group, Takeoff and Sezzle. The Omni Talk Fast Five Podcast is the podcast that we hope makes you feel a little smarter, but most importantly a little happier each week too. Today is March 24th, I am your host Ann Mezzenga, joined remotely by…
Christ Walton, yes. It’s great to be here, Anne.
And once again, we are here to discuss all the top headlines making waves in the world of omni-channel retailing. Chris, my friend, we’re interrupting the Great Walton Arizona Spring Break of 2022 to bring the listeners this podcast. How are things going in the land of driver’s licenses on Apple Wallet?
Yeah, did you hear that this week? That was kind of cool, proud of my state for being technologically forward. No, it’s going great, I’ve been teaching Omni Talk Thing One and Omni Talk Thing Two to Swim All Weekend Long, which has been-
Oh my gosh.
Or All Week Long, which has been a blast. I’m hanging out with Mrs. Omni Talk up in Scottsdale right now, I’ve got the Scottsdale sunrise behind me.
Yeah, we went up into the attic, and I brought something special for our Omni Talk listeners-
Wait, wait, what attic are you talking about?
My attic at my mom’s house, we went into the attic, and we found all the boxes, my old Star Wars toys. So for all those people listening and potentially watching on YouTube, you can see what a 45-year-old with a 45-year-old toy looks like when he geeks out, because here’s my Darth Vader-
Oh my God.
… from 1977 that we found, still relatively intact. Quite the strong plastic, Anne, I must add, but-
Oh my gosh, the kids must be freaking out. That’s like-
Yeah, they’re pretty stoked actually, yeah. We found a bunch of stuff, and they’re pretty excited.
And you clearly, clearly Chris.
Yeah, yeah, I was pretty excited too actually, pretty geeked out by the whole thing. We found a rancor that had a 1980s-
I don’t know what that is.
… Gung Ho GI Joe stuffed down its throat that came out in pieces. But, those people that will get that reference will appreciate it, but I know it’s lost on you Anne-
I’m sure they will.
… I know it’s lost on-
It definitely is. Well, I hate to interrupt the nostalgic toy discussion, but Chris, you and I are getting back together on Saturday because shock talk.
Yes, we’re reuniting in Vegas.
Yeah. Are you excited?
I’m so pumped for this show, I can’t wait.
I am too, I am too. We have a ton of content coming up for all of you listeners, we’ll be putting it out on our podcast platforms, on YouTube, and also on LinkedIn. So, make sure you’re subscribed to Omni Talk Retail on all of those platforms. We have some great, great guests, Chris, we are talking to Volumental, they’re behind the technology on the Lululemon shoes. We’re talking to Door Dash, which I feel like I’ve been talking about non-stop for the last several weeks. We also have another podcast that is coming up with Narvar talking about returns and the new-
Yes, Hot Topic. And then finally we’re wrapping it up with Afresh, and they are the ones behind the Albertsons technology, reducing food waste and helping optimize ordering for produce departments. It’s going to be pretty intense.
It is, and all those podcasts that you mentioned, all those interviews we did are done with the help and support of, believe it or not, wait for this one, wait for this big drop Omni Talk fans, Meta, the company-
… formally known as Facebook, Meta is our sponsor for all of our podcast activity at the show, so we’re pretty pumped about that. And then also Anne, we are live MCing from the show as well. Do you want to talk about that too?
Yeah. We’re going to do some livestream, live MC with our partner’s sponsor, yes, yes, yes.
Well that’s turning the tables, right? That’s not… I don’t know, I don’t know. [crosstalk 00:03:49].
I don’t know, people are already lost on this.
They seem to be lost on me here.
But Firework is going to be partnering with us, we’re going to talk to Vincent Yang, he’s going to be onstage there too. And we will be bringing you recaps, everything you want to know that’s happening at Shop Talk, we’ll be streaming those live on LinkedIn, and we cannot wait. Chris-
And Anne, we’re going to be onstage.
Oh God, yeah.
I’m going to be onstage Monday, you’re going to be onstage Wednesday.
Stop by, see us, say hi afterwards-
Chris, Chris, yes.
… or during you can heckle us. I don’t care, but just make your presence known. Omni Talk fans, unite, and we’ll [crosstalk 00:04:18]-
Chris is onstage at 3:45 on Monday, I am in a panel with people and their Flow Rider hangovers on Wednesday morning-
… at 8:45. So, make sure to catch us there if you can too. But Chris, let’s get to the news.
Let’s do it, Anne.
Let’s give the people what they want.
Yeah, let’s give them the reason they’re here, Anne, which is for our insightful commentary on the week’s headlines. All right, let’s do this. All right, today’s fast five, we’ve got news on Fresh Street, the digital-only grocer that is offering free pickup, Amazon making sustainability history with their new Fresh Store, Kroger and Nvidia creating Digital Twins Simulations, and a firsthand account of the new Lululemon sneaker. It’s a first on Omni Talk, you’ve got to wait for it. Anne gave a review of the new Lululemon sneaker, she even has it on right now during the show-
Yes I do.
… we’re going to save that for the very end. But first, we’re going to take off with our favorite, favorite bachelorette retailer, and that is Coles.
Chris, I don’t know if you know this, but I exposed you in the email this week of what a big fan of The Bachelor and Bachelorette you are, because this-
I did notice that actually, Anne.
… Coles story is so akin to an episode of The Bachelor or Bachelorette, I cannot even begin. That’s right Chris, according to CNBC Coles has confirmed Monday that it has received multiple preliminary buyout offers. They said in a press release, Coles did, that the proposals are non-binding and without committed financing, so who knows where this is going to go.
Yeah, right, yeah, right.
The company’s board of directors has hired bankers at Goldman Sachs to coordinate with bidders who, according to the articles, are rumored to be Canadian department store Hudson’s Bay Company, and private equity firm Sycamore Partners. Chris, what are we going to do here? Who’s going to get the rose?
Oh man, this is so funny. I’m trying to think of who the Bachelorette contestant is that I least wanted to date, but I can’t think of who that would be. Maybe Ashley the dentist, that girl was a train wreck. But the first thing this calls to mind for me, Anne, is something… I think I’ve told you this before, but something that Bob Ulrich, the former CEO of Target said to all of us executives one time in a morning coffee huddle thing, this was back when Sears and Kmart got together. And he said, “My take is this, that two wrongs never make a right.” And I think that’s particularly the case with Hudson’s Bay company, like, what value are they going to add to them through an acquisition? Absolutely nothing. And the other point I would make too is, I think this is just more evidence that Coles is just absolutely floundering at this point. You know, I was on Michelle Gas’ case for a long time, a long time, for the past three or four years.
Yeah, I remember.
And I mean, we didn’t talk about this on the show last week, but the other thing they had, they debuted last week was they had this new strategy deck they put out where there were three key pillars of their strategy. Which was one, winning with casual. I’m like, what right do you have to win with casual, Coles? You’re up against some pretty stiff competition there. And by the way, your demographic’s aging out of everything, so come on. Sophora was a part of that, which I could get. But then the other thing that was really surprising to me, Anne, was, they said they have this new format, that they’re going to build 100 stores over the next few years, and add $500 million in incremental revenue. And my point is this, where is that store?
On what assessment is that volume estimation made? You’re just grabbing at straws here Coles, come on. But so, I don’t know, I just think this whole thing is getting to the point of ridiculousness to be honest with you.
Yeah, I have to agree. I mean, I think that I’m thoroughly not an expert on takeovers, but just in the… From the observer’s perspective, watching the HBC, the Hudson Bay Company playbook with what they did with Saks, I mean, they’re telling them the same thing, they’re being advised to do the same thing, them being Kohl’s, which is spin off the website, do e-commerce, do all these other things. And I mean, I don’t know that that’s been working for Saks, I’ve been paying pretty close attention to that, not seeing any great successes there. So, I think your two wrongs don’t make a right analogy is spot on there. I do kind of fear what happens here, I mean, Kohl’s is the second-largest department store in the US, and I wonder, whoever takes this over, what becomes of that? And if that really is the beginning of the end for the department store altogether.
Yeah. I mean, it makes me sad for Milwaukee honestly, or wherever. Not Milwaukee, I know technically it’s not in Milwaukee. But it makes me sad for Wisconsin, neighbors to what is it, the east, Anne, our brethren from another mother. It makes me sad for-
Oh God, no, you’re definitely not from Minnesota, they’re not brethren from another mother. [crosstalk 00:08:51].
Yeah. Sorry, them’s fightin’ words, right?
But yeah, I mean, it makes me sad for them, because I don’t see this playing out well, I really don’t. I think especially if they do the split off thing like you’re talking about, that’s going to be a disaster, and just not going anywhere. So I don’t know, floundering, floundering, life boats, life rafts, get out while you can is kind of my opinion on this one, all right.
Yeah. I kind of want to put bets on in Vegas for what the actual selling price is, because $64 a share was not enough when the last offer came through. So, I kind of want to see what the over/under is there.
We should do that, we should play bookies at Vegas for the over/under on Coles. Not that we can go gambling, or that we would ever partake in some elicit activity like that, Omni Talk listeners. All right, let’s keep moving. According to Cheese Storage, headline number two, I alluded to this before, but there’s a pickup-only grocer startup called Fresh Street that aims to grow through a speedy, no-fee pickup service. Fresh Street opens this Friday, tomorrow, and features 5,000 skews, which they believe will help more closely monitor inventory and out-of-stocks. Orders placed with Fresh Street will be ready for pickup within 30 minutes, without any pickup charges. Anne, you get the honors here today, because this is also our on-the-spot question from ANMCRG this week, and our very own Chad Lusk, friend of the show, he even did some extra-
… investigation on this one, yes. And here’s what he had to say, and his question for you. Are you ready?
Chad Lusk, the Angela Lansbury of retail. He’s digging deep.
Angela Lansbury of retail? Oh, that’s so good, that’s so good. Only without the hair, because her hair was quite the bouffant. All right, “We love the Fresh Street concept, and the key consumer problem it’s trying to solve. When we at ANMCRG ask CEO Mike Sales about running this model amongst the large grocery players, going the path of automated microfilament, he said quote, “I felt like these high-tech, highly-automated solutions with robotics were too far ahead of where the consumer is. People aren’t ready for robots to be picking their produce, and given margins in grocery and high CAPEX associated with other models, there are other solutions that provide the convenience consumers are looking for without all the upfront costs for the retailer,” end quote.
What do you guys think? Here’s the question from Chad. Can a niche be created and sustained here for a mid-tech convenient transparent and affordable grocery solution? Anne, your thoughts please.
You know, I like this, upon first reading it.
I think that it shows some hustle, you’ve got somebody that’s coming in who’s like, “All right, we are not going to do the major micro fulfillment center, we’re not going to do the tiny ghost little dark stores setup. We are going to try to serve this need right in the middle, and do it manually first, and then I think get to understand what we do need as far as automation.” I don’t think this happens successfully without deploying some form of automation at some point in time, but for right now I think they’re focusing on the right things, inventory accuracy, not quite sure. They were a little vague in the article about how they’re doing this, it sounds like they’re just saying, “We only let our operators in the store, so we always know where product is,” which for those of us who’ve-
Yeah, it’s like a warehouse, basically.
Yeah, but for those of us who’ve worked in the store, always knowing where your product is without having tagging on the products or something? We’ll see, we’ll see. There’s not a lot of places for it to go, but it can still be hidden some places. But I do think this is figuring out how to affordably operate a quick turn grocery business. You don’t have to deal with last-mile delivery costs, or gig worker wages, but I think that it’s also further proving the point that convenience does not mean 10 minute delivery, or two hour delivery to my house. It’s allowing me to get products at the exact time that I’d like to get them, and not having to plan that out more than 30 minutes in advance.
So, your point is you think there’s a consumer needs state for this type of trip type?
I think yes, for right now. I don’t know that I think it’s a long-term sustainable solution, but I do think that this is a good way for… It’s a good need that’s being served, and it’s not one extreme or the other. It’s kind of taking the best of both worlds, and testing it out.
Yeah, right, okay. Yeah, I mean, my take is… I mean, upon reading I’m a little skeptical of the idea. I mean, I think to your point what he’s alluding to is the fact… I think you’re right on one thing, is it’s like, it’s going to be operated as a warehouse. So, your inventory accuracy is going to be far higher, which is going to make the overall operations better, which you’ve talked about the value of that on this show a bunch of times. The thing that I have trouble with this kind of concept though is like, when you say no fees, whenever I look at a startup I always… And I’ve asked this question on the show a thousand times, they used to ask what brand it is for example. I’d always be like, “Where is the margin actually coming from?”
Grocery’s an inherently low-profit business, and this is still a more expensive way to operate a store than having your customers come in, take the stuff off the shelves, and bring it home with them. It’s more attractive than delivery, but it’s still probably more expensive than a traditional grocery store. And then by the way, the groceries are still getting better at this, which is the point Chad and A&M Team are alluding to too, in the sense of like, there’s going to be other players out there that allow you to come up and pick up, and go curbside, and are going to do that more efficiently as well. So, in the long run it just makes me wonder like, okay, where’s the margin going to come from? Because then I get back to, the only way you’re going to command a margin from this service is through higher prices of your products.
And you have a limited assortment of that, too. And so, over time I think in the long run, you’re going to still have people gravitate away from this, even if in the beginning it’s hot and sexy because it’s new, and provides the consumer element that you were talking about. You know, I just worry that in the long run that’s not going to be that interesting to people, because the prices for the products themselves will probably have to be higher to offset the costs of doing the model. But I don’t know, what’s your final word here?
Yeah. I mean, I think that there probably are some advantages. They only have 5,000 skews in the store.
The one about employees is interesting too, with rising wage rates, excuse me.
Right, there’s only going to be four employees that they’re using to staff this store. I mean, it is lower I guess than the overall cost of operating a full-size grocery store. But I think to your point, what happens when checkout-free starts to come in here, and you can go… I mean, with a 5,000 skew assortment, that’s just like a convenience store at that point, or a larger-scale grocery store like Choice Market. And we’re already seeing that being fully adopted with completely checkout-free retail technology. I mean, that eliminates the need… You still can have four employees running that store, you still can get convenience items in 30 minutes or less, and you’re going to do the work for it, so-
Yeah, and that was the thing I was thinking about-
… you might have converted me.
But that was the thing I was thinking about too Anne, though, like when you look at the other options too, like if it’s a limited assortment quick chip, you’ve got instant delivery, which you could go on in the same effort and get the products. Or if it’s a small trip in and of itself, it may just be more convenient for you to go into the store and get it than waste time on the user interface trying to find everything. Which we know in grocery is not always the best user experience to make that happen fluidly. So yeah, so there’s a lot of questions I have with [inaudible 00:15:53], but anyway.
You might have converted me-
And we’ll have to check it out when we’re in Chicago soon, because-
Yeah, 100%, 100%. And didn’t we have another story like this a couple years ago too, where somebody in the South was doing like a drive through-only-
… grocery store as well, so-
Yeah, drive through grocery, 30 minutes or less. I do still like that concept a lot, not getting out of your care is-
It’s the same general idea too, I mean, at the end of the day. So I mean, the idea is happening, so it’s gaining steam for sure now across the country. So it’s cool, it’s going to be fun to watch because God knows where these things go, and who knows. But all right, let’s keep moving.
All right, so another grocery store story, Chris. Can you handle it?
I think I can, Anne. I can handle it, yes.
Headline number three, Amazon is making sustainability history this week Chris, launching their first net zero carbon emission store in Seattle. So according to chain store age, the store is the fourth Fresh in Seattle and the 26th in the US, with quote, “Dozens of upgrades and features that have been incorporated throughout the design and development of the 35,000 square foot space to help make the store the world’s first grocery store to pursue the International Living Future Institute Zero Carbon Certification. The updates that they’re making in the store include fully electric kitchen space, 100% renewable electricity sourced from Amazon’s sustainable energy projects, free electric vehicle charging for customers, and energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the store, just to name a few. Chris, are you up for the sustainable net zero footprint Amazon Fresh store?
100%, 110% Anne. I think this is an absolute baller move, I fricken love this, I fricken love this.
And I know you’re going to make fun of me-
… I know you’re going to make fun of me when I say this, and I’m starting to keep… For those listening, I’m starting to keep a record of how many times I give this tag-
Oh God, oh God.
… so that I can go back at the end of the year and look at it, like I’m actually recording this. But, I think this is one of those headlines of the year candidates again, because-
Oh my God, again?
Yeah, because it’s such a great move. Because it is the perfect defense against all those computer vision haters out there. It’s like, the people that are claiming it’s like a soulless store, you don’t want to go into it. But, Amazon’s like, “Look, we’re building this store that’s like the best store for the environment. If you want to go shop a traditional grocery store and kill the environment, go right ahead, be our guest.” I just think that’s such a smart marketing play, if you could pull that off right. So it’s like, shots, fired, you know?
Oh my God.
Like, go on killing the environment, boomer. What’s your point, you know? Yeah, and you don’t really want to wait in line anyway. So yeah, come on in here, don’t wait in line, you’re doing something good for the environment when you shop here, relatively speaking. So, boom, I love it.
Oh my God, I think that’s slightly extreme, Chris. Slightly extreme.
Okay, fine. Because I’ve never taken an extreme point of view ever.
Yeah, I know. I do think it’s a big deal, Target also launched this week their first store seeking similar certification as part of Target’s net zero by 2040 plan.
Same kind of thing that Amazon’s working on.
Coming around, yeah.
But I think what’s important to call out, while this is a great idea, I definitely want to see more retailers moving forward with this, I want to know how many retailers can actually do this, because it’s not inexpensive. And I think that when we look at who the big players are here, you have Amazon who has the money to trial and do any kind of store like this that they want, this is the first one that they’re doing. So how quickly they’re going to be able to roll out other stores that are investing in this kind of sustainable store concept will be something we have to watch. And Target just, after the years that they’ve had the last two years, they’re committing $5 billion in development of the stores.
So I guess, I’m wondering if this is to become the north star for retailers and their stores, si this something that is going to be attainable for some but starts to weed out some of the other retailers who don’t have the budgets to invest in this kind of technology? And I mean, I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m saying customers rightfully should choose based on what their retail is, where they’re spending their money. But I’m just wondering if we’re going to see JC Penny’s or Coles, who can’t afford to make a sustainable store like this, if that further contributes another nail in their coffin.
No, that’s a great point, the analogy with Target too in the same week that this got announced is really, I think, important too. Because you’re right, Target’s doing that for a branding story, that’s the same as like, “Hey, we have Apple in 100 stores, come shop at Target everywhere,” right?
Which gets so much mileage, it’s the same thing with those big solar panels in the parking lot they put out. But there difference here is like, Amazon… Your point is great, because Amazon has the deep pockets to build out all their new stores in this manner much, much more quickly than even somebody like with Target with the five billion that they said they’re going to invest in stores, or what Walmart can do, or something like that. So yeah, it could become a great point of competitive differentiation in the long run. I think that’s an awesome point that you just brought up.
All right, well Chris, let’s move on. You’re working on vacation, man, a lot, so…
I am, man. I’m trying to bring it, you know?
It’s my favorite thing-
I know, I know.
… it’s my happy place, Anne, it’s my happy place.
All right, we’re good, we’re good.
We’re back home, we’re on the fast five, all right.
You are in Scottsdale, doing it. So, I don’t feel that bad for you.
Yeah, right? Because it’s still like 40 degrees where you are.
Yeah, let’s not talk about it.
So, headline number four. At the Nvidia GTC Conference, which I happened to be a part of yesterday, Kroger and Nvidia said that they are partnering to, “Reinvent the shopping experience with AI and digital twins simulation.” Digital twin is quickly becoming one of the cool hip buzzwords in the industry right now. According to VentureBeat, Kroger and Nvidia revealed plans to build an AI lab and a, “Demonstration center” to improve its shipping logistics and in-store shopping experience. Part of this layout will entail creating so-called digital twin simulations, which will reflect actual store layouts. Expected insights from the deployments of these simulated stores include finding earlier indicators of, “Deteriorating freshness,” using computer vision and analytics.
And optimizing routes for last-mile delivery between the point of production, for example farming, or farms, and the customer’s homes. Anne, what are your thoughts here?
I love this.
Yeah, me too.
Now, when I think of digital twin, I don’t think of simulations of grocery stores first. For some reason, it’s bringing me back to Dolly the Sheep or something, I just feel like clones, that’s immediately what I think of. But that aside, I think this is a brilliant move. It gets back to conversations that we’ve had with Quorso in the past, coming up with the Fresh that we will be releasing during Shop Talk. But I think what I love about this the most is that it allows retailers to have visibility into what’s going on at all their stores. That has not been possible before, it’s all been a bunch of data coming in from different sources, from district managers, from headquarters, from the stores when you can collect that information.
Now you’ve got all this information coming into one spot, you can recreate scenarios, you can run through things before they get down to the store level. That information then when it is conveyed to the stores’ teams is prioritized, there’s actionable tasks for the stores’ teams. And I think we’re going to start to see more investment in tech like this, because it’s the only way that the retailers’ entire ecosystem can keep up with the changes that are happening, and they can also translate that into a successful store experience. Instead of just being like, “Send it down the line, we’re doing curbside pickup now. Stores, figure it out.”
Yeah, I 100% agree. I mean, I think that the whole concept reminds me of what we learned from Microsoft at the end of last year, in the event we did with them on LinkedIn, which is, the Metaverse is cool and they’re all for it. But, they were saying that, expect to see applications of it in this realm first, in the, “Digital twin creation of the computerized visualization,” so to speak, of what a store could and potentially should look like in the long run to understand what the puts are and takes with it in terms of your design, and your operational process, and your production efficiency. And so, I think that’s a cool thing here, that’s why I wanted to bring this story in particular this week.
To introduce the digital twin concept, and the modeling, and what it potentially enables. Because it is a term that we’re hearing a lot more, and want to make sure everyone is aware of. So yeah, so it’s a buzzword, but a pretty important buzzword I think. And you know, generally speaking too, I think when we look back on the work we’ve done over the last five years, Anne, I mean, I think we’ve always seen where you can apply technology where there’s not a direct impact on the consumer, and the retailers can benefit. They’re going to be more apt to try it there first-
… like, it’s just human nature in that regard.
That’s a great point.
I think we’ve whetted the appetites here in the beginning.
I know you’ve been holding back the energy level from me on this podcast-
… to bring it up right now, to raise it up, yes. You’re going to raise it up like a phoenix, indicative of the city that I’m in. Your shoe, your foot is up on the video right now-
They can’t see, because you’re talking, but now they can.
Yes, there she is, there’s the foot.
It’s amazing, okay.
The foot, the color, go for it Anne.
Chris, while you were sipping my ties on Tuesday, I ventured out to Lululemon at Mall of America for the Bliss Feel sneaker launch day at Lululemon. Just some background on the shoe for those of you who don’t, know, the Bliss Feel shoe retails for $148, and is the first in line of four shoes that Lululemon will be releasing in 2022. The shoe is being touted as the first specifically designed for women, they spent… Sorry, they being Lululemon, spent [crosstalk 00:25:26]-
First running shoe, right?
First running shoe, yes. But first shoe in general, they’re saying like this has been specifically designed for women. And Lululemon spent four years in research and development to create this shoe, and took over one million foot scans with tech partner and future Omni Talk retail guest-
Podcast interviewer, yeah.
… podcast interview, Volumental, to make sure that they got it right before going to market. Chris, it was pretty incredible, I have to say.
Yeah, tell us about it. I mean, I’ve got thoughts, but I want to hear your thoughts. What was the experience like, you know.
It was insane, I got there on Tuesday morning, I made an appointment even to try the shoes on. People were swarming, I put a video out on YouTube and on LinkedIn, you guys should check this out to see it. But, people were coming in, they were trying these on, they were not even… Some people were not even trying them on, Chris, they just said, “I’m a size eight, I’m out, put them at the counter.”
And they were out of there. So, it was definitely mind-blowing just to see… I knew people were like huge Lululemon die-hards, and for sure there on the first day so they’re coming to pick these up. But, it was pretty incredible just how many people were taking these home. And I was surprised even, like, I have to admit I was a little skeptical ahead of time. Like, “Hmm.” I’m pretty particular about running shoes, but they are pretty nice, they’re pretty cushy. I would compare them to like a Hoka running shoe, for those that are familiar, with like a Nike top, if that makes sense. But, I-
Yeah, hold them up again Anne, as you add to this question. Because yeah, the shoe color is pretty hot, like yeah. And you went running in them, and then you did a cross fit workout in them too. Now hold your foot up as you add to that question and explain that.
Okay, this is going to be very hard, Chris. [crosstalk 00:27:10] do this.
I know, that’s why you do it.
Thank you, I can barely talk. I feel like I have a fake guitar in my hand, like… So yes, I did a run in them, they’re great for running. I did a cross training like hit workout in them also, not so great for that. They’re pretty cushy, so I have to say I’ll be waiting for the trainer, the cross trainer shoe that’s coming out later this year to see if that’s a little bit better. But I think the most important thing here is that they are doing a 30 day trial guarantee, which you don’t always see… I mean, if you buy shoes off of Nike, you might see that option as a Nike member. But in most cases, when you go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and stuff, you don’t get a 30-day trial. That’s pretty specific to specialized running shoe stores. So, you can try these for 30 days.
Once you’re done with that, even if you don’t like the color, they said, you can just return them. So for Lululemon, I think it’s going to be getting people’s feet in shoes. And once they do, I think they’re going to do much better than I expected. But what are your thoughts, I mean-
That’s awesome. I mean, I don’t have much to add on it, because you’re living it. But I mean, the first thing I thought of when I saw your video was when I just put my qualitative merchant hat on. I was like, “Ooh, those are hot, those are well-done.” Just design-wise, those look good, they’re smoking hot, I could see people wanting to wear those around town. Like, nice job on the overall design. And then the second thing I’d say too is, I couldn’t believe how many people were talking about this.
Like, I’m out at Phoenix, people were bringing thing up at dinner unsolicited. Like, “Did you hear about Lululemon’s new shoe?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I heard about it. I’ve talked about it quite a lot,” you know?
My partner did a video, and they were like, “Oh yeah, what’d she say, what’d she think?” And I started talking to them about the slides that are coming, and people were getting equally excited as I was last week on the show about that. So I don’t know, kudos to you for doing it, for getting out there and braving the traffic. And I can’t imagine that was always the most fun thing either, with all those people eagerly trying to get their shoes. But yeah, I mean, it seems like from your early verdict, it seems like it’s a big win, and it’s going to be an explosive win too. And the other thing people… I would say too, a lot of the guys I was talking to were like, “When are they coming out for guys?” They were already saying that.
Yeah, yeah. I think that’s a great point, the men’s shoe interest I think will be also pretty significant here. Okay Chris, let’s wrap it up.
Let’s do it.
Let’s get to the lightning round.
Let’s get to the lightning round, get out to Vegas.
Question one Chris, Decentraland is hosting the first metaverse fashion week next week, and I would like to know, for which brand would the Chris Walton avatar be walking a show in?
You know, that’s a great question. For this one, I’m going to harken back to the first headline here, and I’m going to bring back some Mervin’s private label from the early 1990’s, because that was me in high school. My braided belts, and Mervin’s private label flannels, you know?
Yeah, I did have slides with socks. Yeah, it was good. And yes, you can wear your slides with socks, yes, that was still a debate from last week. All right Anne, Applebee’s is expanding its pilot from earlier this year, adding drive throughs to 15 more stores. Anne, what’s your favorite Applebee’s memory, and more importantly, can it even be recreated at a drive through?
Well I have to say, we always went to Applebee’s in high school, because living in Minnesota it was the only place we could go smoke cigarettes inside where it was warm. So if they add these to the drive through, then I guess yes, yes, it would be something that I could recreate in a drive through, if I still smoked cigarettes.
Wait, hold on, Applebee’s let high school students smoke cigarettes in high school?
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
Indoors? Oh my God.
Yeah, it was freezing out. During the winter, nobody wanted to stand outside. We couldn’t smoke in our cars, or at parties or anything, inside people’s parent’s house.
Oh my God.
You had to go to the Applebee’s, and have a heater while you ordered your chicken fajita roll up.
Smoking’s good in the neighborhood at Applebee’s, all right. Go for it.
All right Chris, Blue Apron is about to rock your world, adding breakfast to their meal kit offerings. What food have you eaten for breakfast in a pinch that you’re most embarrassed to admit?
Oh man, that’s a good question too. You know, I was thinking about this. You know, I was tempted to say peach cobbler, I’ve eaten peach cobbler for breakfast because my mom makes a mean-
Mm-hmm (affirmative), sounds good.
My mom [inaudible 00:31:20] makes a mean peach cobbler. But actually, you know what it is? It’s popcorn. Remember, this past NRF, I had to eat popcorn for breakfast.
Yes, that was all we had.
Oh my God.
Because there was nowhere to go, everything was closed down-
Oh yeah, that’s right. Oh my gosh, yep.
… nothing was open, and because of COVID, and there was nothing to eat-
I forgot about that.
… at the Javits. And so we had to eat popcorn from [crosstalk 00:31:41] popcorn and coffee
Yeah, bike, from our bike order, yeah. That’s right.
We had popcorn and coffee, it was like an intestinal nightmare, but anyway.
Oh my God, oh my God.
Oh man, all right. Coors Light has created a beer-flavored lollipop to calm the nerves of those watching March Madness. And if someone were to make a custom lollipop to calm your nerves, I don’t even want to know the answer to this, what would it be made of?
The answer is, they already exist, and I plan to get one at Vegas this weekend at Planet 13. So, that’s what I would be doing-
… absolutely, without a doubt.
The largest cannabis store in the world, that’s where you’re headed. All right, nice, yeah, we’re going to go back there. I want to see all their new stuff. I was talking about that last night too, their pizzeria, and their coffee shop. Yeah, I want to check that out too. All right, well that closes us up. Happy birthday to Jessica Cheslain, Allison Hannigan, and the man who can put a big bang in my theories any day of the week and twice on Sundays, Jim Parsons. And remember, if you can only read or listen to one retail blog in the business, make it Omni Talk. Our Fast Five Podcast is the quickest, fastest rundown of all the week’s top news, and our twice-weekly newsletter tells you the top five things you need to know each day.
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