Clean meat is expensive. Retail apocalypse victims. Drake ft. Amazon Twitch.


Another icon of retail has been snuffed out.

Toys "R" Us announced this week that it would close hundreds of stores and lay off thousands after failing to emerge successfully from bankruptcy (see This Week in Data, below).

Toys "R" Us is only one among nearly 40 major retailers to go belly-up since 2015, a wave of bankruptcies which we’ve been following in our retail apocalypse tracker

But some retailers are flourishing. We’ve previously looked at the rise of discount stores like Dollar General and Aldi

Specialty retailers that have successfully piggy-backed on lifestyle trends are also doing well. For example, Camping World, a seller of recreational vehicles and RV/outdoor gear, increased the number of stores it operated by 25% in 2017. This came after an acquisition spree and a chain of new store openings. 

We’ve also tracked how other retailers including Apple, Amazon, and Sephora have made experiences the focus in their stores — rather than merely shelves and products.

The retail apocalypse is only partially Amazon’s doing. The truth is that Toys "R" Us still had ~15% of the US toy market. It was a victim of debt, as well as its own missteps and missed opportunities.

The retail bloodbath will continue, but there is an opportunity for survivors and winners to emerge stronger.

Have a great weekend.


P.S. If you weren't able to attend this week's Google Strategy in Healthcare webinar, you can get the slides and recording here

This week in data:

  • $2,400: It costs Memphis Meats approximately $2,400 to produce a pound of lab-grown beef (or $600 for a quarter pound burger), according to Wired. That’s down from the original price of $18,000. The faux meat provider, with nearly $20M in total disclosed funding, aims to eventually reduce costs to under $5 for 1 pound. We dug into trends in the growing meatless industry, from startups to watch, to key investors, to future trends. Check it out.

  • 100+: Uber’s food delivery service UberEATS will be expanding to over 100 cities across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Among other locations, the service will launch for the first time in Kenya, Ukraine, Romania, Egypt, Ireland, and the Czech Republic. We previously predicted that pushing UberEATS into new markets would be a top priority for the company in our Uber Strategy Report.

  • 70%: The CDC released a webinar earlier this week on opioid overdoses treated in emergency departments (ED) across America. Across 45 states, opioid-related ED visits increased by 30% from July 2016 to September 2017. According to the findings, the Midwestern region saw a 70% increase in opioid overdoses over the same time period.
  • 935x: For the first time, US-based publicly traded companies are required to disclose median employee salaries and CEO salaries, as well as the resulting ratio between the two. Among the companies, Marathon Petroleum Corp. yields one of the bigger pay gaps: the company's CEO was paid $19.7M last year, 935x more than the median employee salary. Gaps vary by sector; Kraft Heinz’s CEO, for example, saw a salary ($4.2M) that was 91x its median worker salary ($46,000) last year.
  • $1B: Lyft says it passed $1B in GAAP revenue in Q4'17, a 168% increase from the year before. That growth is almost 3x as fast as Uber, which saw a 61% increase in revenue for the same time period. We previously took a look at how Uber's competitors were building up their competitive arsenals. Check it out here.

  • $586M: The amount raised by China-based on-demand bike sharing platform Ofo in a second tranche of Series E funding. The company raised from Alibaba Group, Ant Financial Services Group, Haofeng Group, Junli Capital, and Tianhe Capital, among others. The company has raised $2.1B in total funding, surpassing other Chinese bike-sharing giant Mobike by a thin margin ($2B).
  • $50M: Apple announced its plan to acquire digital magazine service Texture. The company, which launched in 2010, has raised $50M in disclosed equity funding. We previously dug into Apple’s top acquisitions. Its $3B acquisition of Beats Electronics in 2014 is still far and away its largest deal.

  • 800: The number of US stores Toys “R” Us is planning to sell or close. The news comes nearly six months after the toy giant filed for bankruptcy, and will affect as many as 33,000 jobs. Check out our timeline of retail bankruptcies dating back to 2015. Casualties include RadioShack, Payless, and more.
  • 628,000: Rapper Drake and top Fornite player Ninja broke records when they played the popular game together Wednesday night, along with NFL rookie-turned-gamer JuJu Smith-Schuster and rapper Travis Scott. The players streamed their gaming on Amazon’s platform Twitch, and at its peak, the stream hit some 628,000 concurrent viewers (shattering the previous record of 388,000). We discuss Twitch and more in our new Amazon Strategy Teardown.

  • 0: The number of cryptocurrency ads Google will be allowing. Earlier this week, the tech giant announced a ban on all ads featuring crypto-related content, including ICOs, wallets, and trading advice, across all of its ad platforms. According to Google’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, Google has “seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm.”
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