Retail news around the globe

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Malaysians experience in-car dining during lockdowns

A local eatery in the town of Cyberjaya on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur has launched a drive-in service to help customers dine in a safe environment during lockdown, according to a report from Reuters.

Customers can now drive into the parking lot of the Padi House restaurant, order food from laminated menus and enjoy the experience from the comfort of their own vehicles. The set meals are served on a customised tray that can fit between the driver seat and the steering wheel. 

Padi House owner Leow Kim Ngan said he was inspired by meals served on airlines, after his business dropped by 80 per cent due to the pandemic.

Malaysia is currently averaging more than 4600 Covid cases a day. A second nationwide lockdown banning social activities and interstate travel will run until February 18.

Walgreens, Uber offer vulnerable communities access to Covid-19 vaccines

US retail pharmacy Walgreens and ride-hailing platform Uber have joined forces to help communities in need access the Covid-19 vaccine through free transportation to Walgreens vaccine clinics and the development of educational programs.The two businesses will also create technology solutions to help people easily schedule vaccine appointments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently revealed hesitancy and lack of transportation are two factors that can stop some communities from accessing vaccines. 

“By combining Walgreens’ deep experience in community care with Uber’s transportation technology and logistics expertise, we will take bold action to address vaccine access and hesitancy among those hit hardest by the pandemic,” said John Standley, president of Walgreens.

The new initiatives will be rolled out in the next few months as vaccines become available for mass distribution. Uber will provide 10 million free or discounted rides to bring people to vaccination centres. There will be pilot transportation programs in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and El Paso.

According to a statement from Walgreens, nearly 80 per cent of the US population lives within five miles of a Walgreens pharmacy and more than 70 per cent of Walgreens Covid testing sites are in socially vulnerable areas.  

Barbie, Hot Wheels’ holiday-quarter sales surge

Toy maker Mattel’s sales surged during the holiday season as parents splurged on Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars for their children during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company shares, which gained more than 32 per cent last year, lifted by 2 per cent in extended trading.

“We do expect to deliver strong sales growth in the first half (of 2021) compared to last year, but it will probably be more challenging in terms of comparison in the second half,” Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz told Reuters.

Mattel forecasts currency-neutral net sales to rise by a mid-single-digit percentage in 2021, compared to a three per cent increase last year. According to Refinitiv.Analysts’ IBES data, the business is expecting a 4.6 per cent rise in sales this year.

Barbie’s worldwide gross billings rose by 19 per cent in the fourth quarter, while Hot Wheels’ billings rose by 13 per cent. Gross billings excludes sales adjustments such as trade discounts. Mattel’s overall net sales rose about 10 per cent to $1.63 billion for the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.58 billion.

LVMH, Rihanna suspend Fenty brand

LVMH and Rihanna have suspended the singer’s fashion line, Fenty, less than two years after its launch. In a statement, LVMH said ready-to-wear operations have been “put on hold” pending better retail conditions. Fenty is the first brand the French luxury conglomerate has attempted to build from scratch, and it is focused on a long-term vision that, at the moment, is being impacted by the pandemic.

WWD reported that a skeleton staff is still working at the Paris headquarters to wind down remaining operations. During the fashion brand’s third-quarter earnings call last October, LVMH’s finance chief Jean-Jacques Guiony said Fenty is “still in a launching phase, and we have to figure out exactly what is the right offer. It’s not something that is easy”. 

In a separate statement, LVMH announced that the private equity fund L Catterton — which is backed by LVMH founder and billionaire Bernard Arnault — led a $115 million series B funding (along with other investors) into Rihanna’s lingerie brand, Savage X Fenty.

“LVMH and Rihanna reaffirm their ambition to concentrate on the growth and the long-term development of [the] Fenty ecosystem focusing on cosmetics, skincare and lingerie,” the statement read.

The post Retail news around the globe appeared first on Inside Retail.

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