It’s 2017 and we’re back to work.
The news cycle traditionally slows down during the holiday week, but there were still plenty of noteworthy headlines you may have missed while on vacation. Let’s get back up to speed:
Cabela’s on December 30 warned that its $5.5 billion acquisition by Bass Pro Group faces additional review by regulators. According to a regulatory filing, Cabela’s said it received a second request for information from the Federal Trade Commission. The agency reviews corporate mergers to see whether they create monopolies. Cabela’s said it still expects the Bass Pro purchase to be cleared by the FTC in the first half of the year, but added that “no assurance can be given that clearance will be received within such time frame or at all,” a standard cautionary note in many such filings.
Skateboard lifestyle retailer Industrial Ride Shop filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, listing Vans, Volcom, Stance, Adidas and Nike among its largest unsecured creditors owed money. The retailer with 15 locations in Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas also owed money on most of its real estate leases plus operating loans to Bank of America. The largest unsecured creditors are owed a combined nearly $2 million, and court documents say Industrial Ride Shop has between 50 and 99 creditors owed up to $10 million.
Also on the bankruptcy front, Yogasmoga, a yoga-themed retail start-up, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization following a dispute with a major investor. The filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan followed an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed against the company in November. The involuntary petition was filed by three creditors claiming to be owed $3.2 million. The creditors include Durga Capital LLC and the Ravi Singh 2015 Family Trust, both of which are associated with Ravi Singh, former chairman of Yogasmoga’s board.
While it has yet to find a buyer for its wintersports brands, including K2, Marker, Dalbello and Völkl, parent company Newell Brands said it will merge parts of the latter three brands to roll out a new shared identity and collaboration under the MDV Sports name. K2 will remain on its own. The purpose of creating a shared brand identity for Marker, Dalbello and Völkl is to “increase cooperation in the areas of R&D, production, sales and marketing, while improving each brand’s position in the market,” officials said. The union also includes a new group logo and revised logos for the individual brands. The entire rebranding process will be completed with the relaunch of the websites for the three individual brands in spring 2017.
Amazon’s 22nd holiday broke new records for the online retailer as it gained a slew of new consumers in Canada and worldwide who turned to their mobile devices to shop. According to Amazon, more than 72 percent of its customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device this holiday. December 19 was the peak worldwide shipping day this holiday season.
Fibit’s app topped all free app downloads on Apple’s iPhone on Christmas day. The figures for the app, which buyers of new Fitbit bands must download to set up and use the devices, point to strong sales for the brand over the holiday season. Other apps on the Apple Christmas rankings include the photo-sharing app SnapChat at second place, Nintendo’s Super Mario Run at third place, Amazon Alexa app at fourth and the video sharing YouTube app at fifth.
In a victory for the outdoor industry, President Barack Obama on December 28 designated 1.35 million acres in southeast Utah and 300,000 acres in Nevada as two new national monuments. In Utah, the designation of 1.35 million acres east of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and south of Canyonlands National Park will create the Bears Ears National Monument. The land includes sacred sites, along with well-preserved Pueblo settlements that date back more than 3,500 years. Many Utah politicians were strongly against Obama’s move. Republicans in the state have struggled for more than three years to draft a bill that would both protect the land and allow for development. Meanwhile, the Gold Butte National Monument, northeast of Las Vegas, has been a site of contention for more than 15 years. Some of the land, which is currently managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is also grazed by cattle belonging to the Bundy family, which in 2014 led a widely publicized armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management.
Three California residents have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit charging New Balance with misrepresenting advertising claims around its “Made in the USA” footwear. The suit alleges that the company used buyers’ willingness to pay higher prices for products they believe to be made in the U.S. although the products weren’t fully produced in the U.S. The suit asserts California laws are stricter than the rest of the country on the “Made in the USA” labeling, prohibiting products from featuring the labels if any single component is foreign-made. According to federal law, parts of the production process can take place elsewhere, as long as the final stage of assembly occurs in the U.S.
Fabletics, an activewear brand co-founded by Kate Hudson, will open 12 new retail locations in 2017, bringing its store count to a total of 30 in the continental United States. In partnership with mall developers including Simon, Westfield and Macerich, most of the brand’s new stores will average around 2,200 square feet and will open in key markets before fall 2017. The first opening will take place in Frisco, TX in March 2017 followed by Indianapolis, IN; Lexington, KY; Schaumburg, IL; Boulder, CO and Portland, OR in the second quarter of 2017. Beginning in July 2017, additional stores will open in Scottsdale, AZ; Cerritos, San Jose, San Francisco and San Diego, CA and Paramus, NJ.
Photo courtesy Pally Learmond