There is a change in the way you consume my newsletter. Instead of an email where you read everything, I am going to have the topic introduced over the email as usual but the rest of the essay will be on our blog. A lot of readers who are not on our newsletter but visit our blog will also like this content but to put it out in two places is inefficient. I am adding a click for you. But I hope I've earned your time and you will continue reading!
Media has its favorites. Some founders and CEOs are exciting. They are media-savvy. They articulate well. Or, PR firms milk their VC funded customers and get them in front of the press every week. So depending on how much more budget there is to spend, you'd hear about one company re-inventing rental apparel, saving sweathouses in Bangladesh, supporting black lives, and being endorsed by a Youtuber. Occasionally they'd get organic press for the CEO walking around 42nd avenue on barefoot after getting a cool severance package.
Then there are companies like Big Lots! that no one cares about.
When we look at the pandemic-in-motion world of retail, there are two narratives:
How savvy investment in-store, shipping, and eCommerce saved the year (Ex: Target)
How business models that sounded cool once prove to be incredibly difficult to execute and pandemic amplifies what does not work (Ex: Rent The Runway)
Interestingly, RTR is founded by two Jennifers who met at Harvard. Big Lots! has a name for its core customer - 'Jennifer'. All their marketing communication revolves around how relevant they are to Jennifer. The similarity ends with the names.
Big Lots! actually turned in impressive quarterly results.