Note to Readers: MBR News will be on vacation July 19-23, returning Monday, July 26.
Outside Acquires Cycling, Trail Mapping Titles
Axios: "Outside Media, home to dozens of outdoor enthusiast brands, is acquiring two new titles, Pinkbike and Cycling Tips, as well as Trailforks, a trail-mapping app. The deals will help further cement Outside’s coverage of cycling and bolster its mapping tools. Outside currently owns Bicycle Retailer, a cycling industry news site, and Gaia GPS, a mapping app for biking and outdoor activities. It also owns VeloNews, a cycling and race results magazine, Peloton Magazine, and Beta, a mountain biking magazine. Pinkbike, a consumer-facing digital brand, is considered the global leader in mountain biking, per a statement. Outside says that the outlet drives more than half of all page views in its category. Pinkbike recently acquired CyclingTips, a road and racing news site, and Trailforks. The company said that the core teams from Pinkbike and Trailforks will continue operating out of their offices in Squamish, British Columbia. “CyclingTips will maintain its office in Australia, and its U.S.-based staff will join the larger Outside team in the company’s headquarters in Boulder.” Outside recently completed a $150M fundraising round from Sequoia Heritage to help fuel its growth, including via acquisitions. With these new titles, Outdoors’ owned and operated media assets bow amount to nearly 30 brands. The company, which launched a membership program earlier this year called Outside+, is considered the leading digital brand for outdoor lifestyle content"...
iPhone Opt-Outs Hurting Facebook Advertising
9to5Mac: "With iOS 14.5 released to the public earlier this year, iPhone and iPad users now have the ability to easily opt out of cross-site and cross-app tracking and targeting. New data from analytics firm Branch indicates that just 25% of users are opting in to tracking, which is causing panic in the advertising industry. As detailed in a new report from Bloomberg... "Facebook advertisers, in particular, have noticed an impact in the last month. Media buyers who run Facebook ad campaigns on behalf of clients said Facebook is no longer able to reliably see how many sales its clients are making, so it’s harder to figure out which Facebook ads are working. Losing this data also impacts Facebook’s ability to show a business’s products to potential new customers. It also makes it more difficult to “re-target” people with ads that show users items they have looked at online, but may not have purchased." While Facebook declined to respond to Bloomberg’s report, data from Branch shows that roughly 75% of iPhone users are now running iOS 14.5 or later with App Tracking transparency and that just 25% of those users have tapped on “Allow” when they see the prompt. Facebook says that it is working on new features to help make up for the data lost due to App Tracking Transparency, including “new advertising features that require less data to measure an ad’s success.” The company is also reportedly exploring ways to deliver ads based on data stored on the user’s device.
Print Book Units Dipped 1.3% Last Week, Ending Long Run of Gains
PW: "The streak is over. The long run of unit sales of print books posting weekly sales gains over the comparable week in 2020 came to an end last week, with units falling 1.3% compared to the week ending July 11, 2020, at outlets the report to NPD BookScan. The decline is the result of continued pressure on nonfiction sales, particularly adult nonfiction, the industry’s largest category. Print sales fell 10.2% vs. a year ago in adult nonfiction. Last year at this time, books on race and social justice spurred by the #blackoutbestsellerlist campaign continued to sell in large numbers, taking up six of the top ten slots at the time. And John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened, which was #1 on the category bestseller list, sold nearly 57,000 copies in the comparable week last year"...
Newsroom Employment Down 26% Since 2008, Though Digital Jobs Rose
E&P: "Since 2008, newsroom employment has plummeted at U.S. newspapers while increasing in the digital publishing sector. Newspaper newsroom employment fell 57% between 2008 and 2020, from roughly 71,000 jobs to about 31,000. At the same time, the number of digital-native newsroom employees rose 144%, from 7,400 workers in 2008 to about 18,000 in 2020. Despite this sharp increase, the number of newsroom employees in the digital-native sector remained about 13,000 below the number in the newspaper sector in 2020.Changes in the remaining three industries have been less dramatic. Newsroom employment at broadcast TV stations has been relatively stable, hovering around 28,000 between 2008 and 2020, now just behind newspapers in total newsroom jobs. Newsroom employment also has remained relatively steady at cable TV stations, between 2,000 and 3,000 employees over the same period. Radio broadcasting, however, has lost 26% of its newsroom employees, dropping from about 4,600 workers in 2008 to about 3,400 by 2020"..
New Yelp Ad Option Lets National Brands Market On Web Sites
MediaPost: "Yelp today launched an ad offering — Yelp Audiences — that lets brands target consumers off its platform and across the web on publisher sites, such as The New York Times. Advertisers provide creative assets in compliance with the Interactive Advertising Bureau standards for display and video, and Yelp delivers the ads — based on the user’s purchase intent — on premium websites, mobile apps and streaming services through connected TV. Performance campaigns have always been available through Yelp. With this offering, the door opens to awareness campaigns for national brands that may not have a local presence or brick-and-mortar stores, according to Yelp SVP Tom Foran. “Restrictions and limitations of a brand needing a physical footprint goes away,” he said"...
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE:
Dollar General Plans to Hire 50K Workers
Grocery Dive: "Dollar General plans to hire up to 50,000 new employees by Labor Day, according to a press release. The company is looking for additional staff for its stores, distribution centers, trucking fleet and store support center. The hiring blitz comes as the dollar store retailer plans 1,050 new stores for fiscal 2021. Already the largest retailer by store count, according to the company, Dollar General is eyeing further growth as it covers the country with its multiple banners. So far in 2021, Dollar General has already opened, by leaps and bounds, more stores than any other brick-and-mortar retailer and accounts for roughly a fourth of all new stores this year, according to Coresight Research tallies. Today, Dollar General's store count stands at more than 17,400, serviced by 27 distribution centers. In March, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Owen said the company thinks it could add a total of 13,000 additional stores, which would nearly double the company's already voluminous store count. That represents an acceleration of past plans and comes after Dollar General's sales surged in the pandemic-defined year of 2020. That growth reversed in the first quarter of 2021, but only slightly. Compared to 2019 levels, Dollar General has made a significant leap from its pre-pandemic performance. That indicates it may have made permanent gains in customers and their purchases. Along with its traditional stores, Dollar General is also expanding its Popshelf concept — launched last year and targeting middle-income suburban women — as well as Dollar General Plus and its smaller footprint DGX format. Not every locality wants Dollar General and its peers adding stores. The sector has been criticized for killing off locally owned grocery stores and other retailers, and for being magnets for crime in low-income areas. Some cities have pushed back against dollar store expansion with laws aimed at slowing or limiting the stores"...
Amazon Sued by U.S. Product-Safety Agency
Bloomberg: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has sued Amazon, seeking an order determining that the largest online retailer is legally responsible for defective products sold in its sprawling third-party marketplace. The complaint filed on Wednesday says Amazon sold children’s sleepwear that failed to meet federal standards for flammability; some 24,000 carbon monoxide detectors that failed to activate when the harmful gas was present; and 400,000 hair dryers that risked shock and electrocution. Each of the products was sold by one of Amazon’s millions of third-party sellers, and all used a service called Fulfillment By Amazon, in which the company stores and distributes the products on behalf of its sellers. After the CPSC notified Amazon of the defects, the Seattle-based company removed some of the product listings, notified customers that their goods presented a hazard, and offered a refund, but the actions were insufficient, the agency said in its complaint. Amazon “did not want to have this be called a recall, and they did not want to be considered legally responsible for these products,” CPSC spokesperson Joe Martyak said. “That’s the deal-breaker here. We think you are responsible for this.” Amazon has faced a string of product liability lawsuits around the U.S. that seek to hold the company responsible for harm caused by items purchased on its marketplace. The company has argued it isn’t liable for the goods sold by outside vendors, saying it merely provides a service connecting buyers and sellers, and, in one case, likening itself to an auctioneer rather than a retailer"
Walmart Rolls Out Automation at 25 Distribution Centers
SN: "Following a multiyear pilot, Walmart plans to roll out warehouse automation from Symbotic to drive speed and efficiency at regional distribution centers (RDCs).Plans call for Walmart to implement Symbotic’s robotics technology in 25 of its 42 RDCs, Joe Metzger, executive vice president of supply chain operations at Walmart U.S., said in a blog post on Wednesday. The scalable system encompasses a fleet of fully autonomous robots and proprietary software to improve throughput while boosting warehouse capacity, according to Wilmington, Mass.-based Symbotic, which said its solution will cut the time it takes to unload, sort and stock freight in Walmart stores. Metzger described Symbotic’s system as “a game-changer” for Walmart. “This move will fundamentally alter how products get to stores,” he noted. “Now, product arrives at one of our regional distribution centers and is either cross-docked or warehoused until we need it. The products are moved or stored manually. When it’s time for the product to go to a store, someone is tasked with packing a 53-ft. trailer in a human game of Tetris for transit. When the truck arrives at a store, our associates unload it manually and get the items where they need to be,” Metzger explained. “The technology from Symbotic does things differently. This system uses a complex algorithm to store cases like puzzle pieces using high-speed mobile bots, operating with a precision that speeds the intake process and increases the accuracy of freight being stored for future orders. By using dense modular storage, it also expands building capacity. And by using high-speed palletizing robotics to organize and optimize freight, it creates custom store- and aisle-ready pallets, which take the guesswork out of unloading trucks""...
Kroger Banners in Calif., Georgia Sign New Union Contracts
Grocery Dive: "Kroger’s Food 4 Less and Foods Co banners in California have a new contract with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) that includes pay increases for roughly 7,000 workers at nearly 100 stores, according to a press release on Tuesday. Separately, Kroger announced on Monday that it reached new agreements with UFCW's Local 1996 that include “significant” pay increases for more than 22,000 associates at 170 stores in the greater Atlanta area and Savannah, Georgia. The pay bumps and added incentives in the new contracts come at a time when grocers are struggling to find and retain workers amidst a nationwide labor shortage"...
Cardenas Markets Personalizes Grocery Shopping With GetUpside
PG: "Cardenas Markets is teaming up with GetUpside to offer personalized cash-back incentives to customers. GetUpside is a retail technology company that uses personalized cash-back promotions to bring shoppers more value, and profits to brick-and-mortar retail. GetUpside connects customers with grocers and other businesses through a free mobile app and encourages them to transact using personalized cash-back offers"...
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE: