Melissa Campanelli

Melissa Campanelli

Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.

NRF: 2020 Holiday Retail Sales Grew 8.3%

Holiday retail sales rose a stronger-than-expected 8.3 percent from 2019, or $789.4 billion, according to data released by the National Retail Federation on Friday. Consumers apparently embraced the gift-giving season as a way to cheer themselves up during the pandemic. The numbers include online and other non-stores sales, which were up 23.9 percent at $209 billion. The NRF had forecast that sales during…

Amazon Shuts Down Amazon Pantry

Amazon.com has shuttered Amazon Pantry (originally known as Prime Pantry), its grocery and household essentials delivery service, according to Bloomberg.com. Launched in 2014, Amazon Pantry was one of the retailer’s first forays into selling food online. It featured a selection of shelf-stable food and snacks, as well as cleaning products, designed to get shoppers to…

J.C. Penney's Owners Launch Search for New CEO

J.C. Penney’s new owners, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, along with strategic partner Authentic Brands Group, announced they have launched a search for a CEO to replace Jill Soltau, who left the company on Dec. 31, 2020, less than a month after the company exited Chapter 11. It’s unclear whether Soltau, who has been…

Walmart Launches Product Return Service With FedEx

Walmart has launched a service that enables customers to schedule a return for a product bought online, in-store or from a third-party vendor. The new free service, called Carrier Pickup by FedEx, allows customers to initiate their return process on Walmart's website or app, schedule a date for pickup, and print a label. Then it will…

Walgreens to Hire 25,000 to Help Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine

Walgreens expects to get its first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 21, and will start giving shots to nursing home residents and workers at nearly 35,000 long-term care facilities nationwide in the days leading up to Christmas. To administer the vaccine, Walgreens plans to hire 25,000 people across the U.S., including 9,000 pharmacists and other healthcare workers.…

francesca's Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Women’s boutique chain francesca's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, with plans to sell the business, including its brick-and-mortar stores. In a statement announcing the bankruptcy filing, francesa's said it was obtaining $25 million in financing from its existing lender, Tiger Finance, to facilitate the retail stores sales process, subject to court approval.…

Industry Pioneers React to Death of Zappos Founder Tony Hsieh

Investors, journalists, politicians, tech founders and retail industry pioneers have all paid tribute to Tony Hsieh, the well-known founder of Zappos.com, after his death was announced this past weekend. Hsieh died on Nov. 27 at 46 from injuries sustained during a house fire in Connecticut, according to multiple reports. In 2009, Amazon acquired Zappos, an online…

NRF: Holiday Sales Will Grow Between 3.6% and 5.2%    

The National Retail Federation (NRF) yesterday forecasted that holiday sales during November and December will increase between 3.6 percent and 5.2 percent over 2019 to between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compare with a 4 percent increase to $729.1 billion last year and an average holiday…

Guitar Center to File for Bankruptcy Protection

Guitar Center said last week that it expects to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after negotiating a debt-cutting deal with key investors and lenders. The country’s largest music instrument seller plans to emerge from protection before year’s-end with nearly $800 million less debt. By filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Guitar Center would be able to continue…

CVS Health Names Aetna Leader Karen Lynch as New CEO

CVS Health Corp. announced last week that its president and CEO, Larry Merlo, plans to step down in February, with Aetna president Karen Lynch lined up to replace him. Lynch has served as the executive vice president of CVS Health since CVS acquired the insurer in November 2018, and has remained as president of Aetna, a…

U.S. Retail Sales Jump 1.9% in September

U.S. retail sales in September increased 1.9 percent month-over-month and 5.4 percent year-over-year, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday. That's more than double what was economists forecasted, more than triple the 0.6 percent month-over-month increase in August, and almost double the 2.8 percent year-over-year increase in August. Sales have been up both month-over-month and year-over-year each month since…

Retailers Starting Holiday Promotions Alongside Amazon Prime Day

Several major retailers have signaled that they're using Amazon Prime Day 2020, which runs today and tomorrow, as the starting point to begin their holiday sales — even though they're not mentioning Amazon.com directly. On Monday, for example, J.C. Penney launched an event that runs through Wednesday that allows "shoppers to get a jump start on…

NRF Cautiously Optimistic in Holiday Retail Sales Forecast

Consumer spending has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic more quickly than expected, but forecasting 2020 holiday sales is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces, National Retail Federation (NRF) Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a press release from the trade association. “I'm cautiously optimistic about the fourth quarter in terms of the…

Walmart, Target to Hold Sales Events Opposite Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day won't be the only big sales event in October. Walmart and Target have both announced plans to host their own online sales events that just happen to coincide with Amazon's annual shopping fest. On Monday, Walmart said it will be holding a "Big Save" online event that runs Oct. 11 through Oct. 15. Walmart will offer Black…

Walmart Launches New Private Label Men’s and Women’s Clothing Brand

Walmart today announced the launch of Free Assembly, a private label men’s and women’s clothing brand. The brand will debut this week online and in 250 stores, hoping to appeal to shoppers who want style and value. Free Assembly was built with an in-house fashion design team, "with decades of experience designing for modern American brands…