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- Vincent Phamvan
November 11, 2019


Daily e-commerce and retail briefing


Express Debuts New Direct-To-Consumer Brand

On the latest episode of the E-Commerce Retail Briefing podcast:

Express just debuted direct-to-consumer brand, UpWest. The company’s new direct-to-consumer brand launch comes at a time when many online companies like Allbirds, Casper, and Glossier, have garnered success.

  • Long-time Gap Inc. CEO and President, Art Peck, is departing the company. According to a company press release, Board Chairman, Robert Fisher, has taken the job of interim chief executive, effective immediately. Peck’s exit comes just months before Old Navy plans to spin-off from the parent company. Previously, Gap Inc. had said Peck would take the reigns of the new Gap Inc. entity, which includes Gap, Athleta, and other small brands.

  • Fashion rental subscription service, Le Tote, has completed its acquisition of Lord & Taylor. With the deal now closed, Le Tote has become the first digitally native brand to acquire an established brick and mortar retailer. The company has assumed operations of 38 Lord & Taylor stores and the brand’s digital channels. Through its rental platform, Le Tote said it will offer shoppers access to the largest selection of styles and brands in the industry.

  • In a press release, Ralph Lauren announced the company is seeking growth through digital initiatives that will include, “rental, subscription, and resale models." Executives from the company said that will include a partnership with Urban Outfitters’ new rental effort, Nuuly. Ralph Lauren’s CEO said that digital initiatives including working with Nuuly and Rent the Runway in apparel rental, and Nordstrom’s Trunk Club in subscriptions, are essential to reaching younger consumers, which he indicated is a key growth tactic.


Express Launches DTC Brand, UpWest

Express introduced a new direct-to-consumer brand, UpWest. The brand will include casual apparel, loungewear, and sleepwear for men and women, according to a press release. The brand will also debut a mobile pop-up concept in major cities like Chicago, Nashville, and Austin.

The company’s new direct-to-consumer brand launch comes at a time when many online companies like Allbirds, Casper, and Glossier, have garnered success. According to a study that came out last year, 81% of people said they will make at least one purchase from a direct-to-consumer brand within the next five years. For Express, the new brand could be a way for it to diversify its offerings as many apparel retailers struggle.

Additionally, UpWest’s focus on comfort may play to its favor as athleisure continues to be a rare area of growth for retail apparel. Express CEO Tim Baxter said, “While our primary focus remains on returning the Express business to long-term, profitable growth, UpWest brings something new and exciting to the market."


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