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Man crush; RIP Mini’s Macy’s; pizza sneakers: The BloomReach Relevance Report

You know what time it is? Yeah, BloomReach Relevance Report time. Find a comfy chair and have a read.

Retail is raining men

Men seem to be the latest style in retail. Both Saks and H&M — on two ends of the price spectrum — have launched significant initiatives to lure men as shoppers.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but we’d say H&M has the bigger hurdle, having as part of its name “her,” according to Glossy, which wrote about the Swedish retailer’s effort to get the attention of hims.

There may be lessons for other retailers in H&M’s effort. It essentially revolves around not inventory, but content. Glossy says that while the retailer is reaching out to male customers, it is actually stocking fewer new arrivals for men than it did at one time. Citing Edited, Glossy says men’s new arrivals are down 8 percent.

Instead, H&M is looking to a new Instagram account aimed at the less fair sex. It also showed men’s and women’s fashions together at Paris Fashion Week and struck up a collaboration with Weeknd, the one-E-short-of-a-weekend rapper.

The menswear effort makes business sense. Even though men’s clothing makes up a relatively small percentage of what H&M sells, the clothing sells at higher price points, Glossy says. And an analyst at Edited quoted by the publication says that men are more closely following trends in fashion, a change she attributes to the rise of online commerce.

“Any retailer with a menswear offering needs to think about collaborations and content that educate their consumers on new trends and styling,” Senior Analyst Katie Smith told Glossy. “Efforts there will be rewarded with a customer who seeks out newness each season, breathing life into a retailer’s offering.”

For its part, Saks has opened a zowee brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan tailored to men’s tastes. To give you some idea of the caliber of the new Saks Men’s Downtown on 14th Street, the Bloomberg column about it says something about “sumptuous arrays of Charvet pocket squares” and describes something called “the suiting department.”

The place has a DJ, or at least it did when Bloomberg’s Troy Patterson visited, towers of shoes accented by potted plants, a putting green and a hipster vibe. Oh, and it has expensive stuff, like a camo jacket for $1,890, which if we recall correctly was about the price of the BRRR’s first car.

You don’t have to be any smarter than the BRRR to figure that retailers are beginning to understand that men with fashion sense, or those who wish they had it, make up a lucrative market.

Beyond that, the Saks move shows that retailers definitely understand that customers today are looking for an experience, not just a transaction.

Minneapolis Macy’s fades into history

Minneapolis Macy's

Struggling department stores will have a new monument to their woes in downtown Minneapolis. Macy’s found a buyer for its hulking downtown store, whose history as a department store dates back to 1902.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Macy’s, which plans to pink up its balance sheet by selling property, sold what was once Dayton Hudson and then a Marshall Field’s to a real estate investment firm for $59 million.

The property, which actually is three buildings with 1 million square feet of space, will be redeveloped as office space and retail the ST says.

Macy’s has been struggling for years and talking about selling some of its valuable — and not so valuable property — for about as long. Jason Del Rey notes in Recode that Macy’s hasn’t done itself any favors in the past decade by essentially standing pat.

Del Rey describes a key element of Deloitte Digital Kasey Lobaugh’s theory of digital disruption. As Del Rey points out, Macy’s doesn’t sell much that you can’t buy elsewhere. He also mentioned one particular Macy’s he visited that provided a less than upbeat experience.

Lobaugh has explained that legacy retailers are losing out to competitors who are offering distinctive customer experiences or distinctive inventory — and especially losing out to those offering both.

Macy’s latest move, unloading the Minneapolis landmark, will be a blow for history buffs and fans of downtown Minneapolis.

It’s not likely, however to be the last such blow to fans of traditional department stores, which have been getting clobbered by discounters and online sales.

Millennials get that there is no free lunch when it comes to video viewing

Smartphone watching

As one measure of the effectiveness of ads in the digital age, consider this from the Nielsen Millennial study: More than half of 18-24 year olds say they’re fine with ads as long as they get their content for free, MediaPost reports.

There is a catch though. Millennials say “bring ‘em” when it comes to ads, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually going to remember what it is that you’re hawking. The same study reported that millennials have the “lowest program engagement and lowest ad memorability scores during the studied shows,” MP reports.

And no, that’s not because of the rise of legal, recreational marijuana.

It’s more likely because of the mobile life we all live, but which millennials are especially known for, the story says. When a mobile is always on and always with us, we are constantly checking on email, texts, social media, news stories, skateboarding videos and the like.

Who is going to watch a commercial when you can watch on your mobile device a video of a duck riding a cat riding a skateboard?

Another thing about millennials and their older siblings (24-to-34 year olds): They stick with what they are watching. Only 2 percent change the channel during ads, MP says the Nielsen study found.

And no, that’s not because they are not familiar with how a traditional TV works, given that they watch everything on smartphone and laptops. Will you stop?

In fact, the MP story says that the 18-34 year old set spends more time in front of a TV than they do viewing on their laptops and desktops and smartphones and tablets.

So there.

Kohl’s bets on Under Armour

Kohl's store

Like Macy’s and many others, Kohl’s has been scuffling as consumer habits change and the competitive landscape shifts. They’ve got plans to trade big store for smaller stores among other ideas.

And now, Ad Age reports, comes the strategy of trying on a new coat of armor — Under Armour, a brand with loyal fans and some big-name endorsers, like Golden State Warrior shooting star Stephen Curry.

In what executives say is the company’s biggest product roll out in history, Kohl’s will promote the athletic wear brand with television ads and a social media campaign.

AdAge notes that the Under Armour move is part of a bigger strategy for the Wisconsin-based retailer. Kohl’s has been going big on wellness, increasing what AA calls “active areas” in its stores by 30 percent, according to the publication.

Turns out active and wellness are big growth area for Kohl’s — up double digits last year for Kohl’s, AA says. And Under Amour shouldn’t disappoint.

A Kohl’s executive told AdAge that Under Armour products were searched for on Kohl’s site 500,000 times in the last year.

Can you run a pizza over here?

Pizza Hut pizza

Back in the days when people consumed video content on televisions, a character called Max Smart had a shoe phone. Now life is finally imitating art, or whatever “Get Smart” was. Pizza Hut, Retail Dive tells us, has come up with a shoe from which you can order a pizza.

Technically, it’s a basketball shoe, but the BRRR hopes that no exertion is required to actually get a pie. Sitting on the couch and pushing the shoe button to summon a half mushroom, half sausage and green pepper sounds fine.

Shooting hoops and then asking for delivery? Not so much.

They’re called “Pie Tops,” which is awesome. Unless it’s horrible.

Anyway, we mostly bring all this up to point you to Retail Dive’s “Retail Therapy” feature, which is consistently a hoot. Like the BRRR. Right? Go read it. There is more funny stuff in there that we’re not going to steal, because that’s the way we are.

Quote of the week

“Ask yourself, before I do AR or smart mirrors, how do I make sure that I still have customers to serve in five years.”Stefan Weitz, chief product and strategy officer, Radial, to eMarketer when asked to give retailers advice for the coming year.

Photo of Minneapolis Macy’s by Joe Passe, smartphone by Joseph Morris and pizza by theimpulsivebuy published under Creative Commons license. Kohl’s photo by Mike Cassidy.

Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Contact him at; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.