The Weekly Closeout: REI to close on Black Friday, Claire’s releases Roblox experience merch

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It’s been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week, and what we’re still thinking about.

From Simone Biles starring in a pet food campaign alongside her French bulldogs to the CFO of CVS taking a leave of absence, here’s our closeout for the week.

What you may have missed

J.C. Penney salutes first responders with curated collection

J.C. Penney is highlighting its curated assortment of durable men’s and women’s fashion in what is calls “The Workshop” in honor of first responders, the company announced Thursday in a press release.

Just in time for National First Responder’s Day on Oct. 28, the department store chain is “celebrating the resilience” of the community by spotlighting its highest-rated and most durable products inspired by the group, per the release. Easy-care denim and on-and-off-duty work boots are examples of the offerings, the company said in a statement.

A portion of the sales will be matched by J.C. Penney with a donation to the American Red Cross from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2. Eligible first responders can receive a 10% discount in stores during the same period.

CVS’ CFO takes a leave of absence

Shawn Guertin, CVS’ chief financial officer and president of health services, will take a leave of absence due to family health reasons. Guertin has been in the role of president of its health services segment — which includes primary care provider Oak Street Health and home care company Signify Health — for one month. CVS announced a company-wide restructuring initiative in August after profits fell 37% year over year in the second quarter. 

Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance, Tom Cowhey, will step into the role of interim CFO during Guertin’s absence. Mike Pykosz, CEO of recently acquired Oak Street, has been named interim president of health services. Pykosz will take on the president role in addition to his current duties.

Foxtrot opens sixth D.C.-area store

Building out its footprint in the nation’s capital, Foxtrot this week opened a store in Washington, D.C.’s Logan Circle neighborhood, according to details emailed to Retail Dive.

The location, which officially opened to the public on Wednesday, marked the convenience store chain’s sixth in the District and ninth store in the DMV area, including stores in Rosslyn and Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and Bethesda, Maryland.

The company offers a variety of products, including prepared meals, groceries, wine, personal care products and more. In a separate announcement, Foxtrot said it partnered with Ty Haney’s energy drink brand, Joggy, to bring the brand to stores for the first time. Haney, the founder of DTC activewear brand Outdoor Voices, launched Joggy last year.

Retail Therapy

Claire’s brings Roblox characters to real life

Claire’s is releasing a limited-edition collection of plushies and merchandise based on its digital Roblox experience, ShimmerVille.

The collection brings the company’s digital Roblox pets to life, featuring five mini ShimmerVille plushies and accessories such as notebooks, a stationery set, a mini backpack and more. The plushies come with a special QR code to access the digital version of each pet, per a Wednesday press release.

“As we have evolved ShimmerVille, we have taken it from one dimension in the lives of our consumers and transformed it into ownable IP that can exist in multiple dimensions,” Kristin Patrick, EVP and chief marketing officer of Claire’s, said in a statement. “Through the launch of ShimmerVille physical products and pets, we are expanding on this unique equity with new ways to spark our consumers’ imaginations and participation.”

Simone Biles partners with pet food brand

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles has partnered with pet food brand Nulo for its first national campaign called “Fuel Incredible,” according to a Wednesday press release. Nulo’s campaign is focused on its product’s nutrition benefits by leveraging athletes as a way to promote the notion of “world-class fuel.”

Simone Biles with her dogs for Nulo pet food brand.

Courtesy of Nulo

The campaign features Biles along with her French Bulldogs, Lilo and Rambo. The content will be featured across channels including social, digital, CTV, out-of-home and digital-out-of-home.

“Pets rely on us to make the best decisions for their health and happiness, including what we choose to put into their bowl every day,” Biles said in a statement. “As an athlete, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of fueling my body with the right nutrition, and I feel the same way when it comes to feeding my dogs, Lilo and Rambo.

What we’re still thinking about

$3.5 billion

That’s how much pharmacy retailer Rite Aid is getting — $3.45 billion to be exact — in debtor-in-possession financing from some of its lenders after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday. Rite Aid on Tuesday said a bankruptcy court judge approved the financing.

Rite Aid is also looking to sell nearly 100 store leases and fee-owned properties in 12 states. The company said in court documents that unprofitable stores impede the company’s growth and turnaround initiatives.

The company had about 45,000 employees, 2,111 stores in 17 states and seven distribution centers when it filed following weeks of speculation on how it would deal with over $3 billion in debt. 


That’s how much Dollar General is donating this year to the American Red Cross Disaster Responder Program, according to a press release. As an extension of their partnership, the retailer said its donation will support recovery efforts after following natural disasters.

Dollar General has supported the Red Cross since 2001 with more than $8 million in corporate donations and in-store collections following hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and other disasters.

What we’re watching

REI tells employees to take a hike on Black Friday

For the eighth consecutive year, REI plans to close on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and give its 16,000 employees some time off to enjoy time outdoors while encouraging everyone to do the same.

REI announced last year that its annual Opt Outside initiative would become an ongoing, permanent, employee benefit. Each year on Black Friday, REI closes its stores, distribution centers, activity centers, call centers and headquarters. Customers can still place online orders but processing and fulfillment won’t begin until the next day.

REI is also using the initiative to call attention to help pass the Outdoors for All Act. The pending federal legislation would secure funding for green spaces in underserved areas. “Eight years ago, we asked everyone to join us in ditching the chaos and mass consumerism of Black Friday and instead spend the day outside,” said REI CEO Eric Artz. “But for millions of people living in America, the invitation to Opt Outside isn’t so simple. We’re committed to changing that.

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