This is issue no. 227. The last issue had a 43.72% open rate with 6.72% reading up on How Amazon's Prime Wardrobe will affect department stores. Be on the lookout for these DNVB launches by BuzzFeed, they are quirky but they are on brand. Ralph Lauren brand takes their content game to the next level.

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Today's Top Intelligence (14 Reads)
What’s the Secret of a Successful Mall?
But aside from falling to e-commerce, the mall is also a victim of the urban revival of the last few years. Many of the middle-class people who would have moved to the suburbs a generation ago have begun moving closer to work, which, in turn, has started to have an effect on the glut of malls around the country. “A good mall is in a location that has got strong household income around it, positive demographic trends and it has limited competition,” said Lea Overby, a managing director of Morningstar Credit Ratings, a subsidiary of Morningstar

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The Takeaway: Part I explored how the internet fundamentally changed the playbook for building durable physical goods brands. Before the internet, mastering product, brand, distribution—signified as (product + brand + distribution)—was enough to make a brand defensible, specifically in the apparel, fashion, footwear, beauty, cosmetics, accessories and furniture space. Additionally, a small set of brands, usually in the luxury space, built their companies on (product + brand + distribution) x community. 
The Takeaway: The story underscores the culture clash between the 55-year-old, Arkansas-based brick-and-mortar stalwart and its young, e-commerce startup acquisitions, which favor Silicon Valley workplace environments designed to balance long hours of creative work with unconventional office amenities.

The Takeaway: Amazon is currently the leader in voice-powered devices, where it’s expected to control 70 percent of the market this year – well ahead of Google Home, Lenovo, LG, and others. If anything, its success played a role in Apple releasing its own Siri-powered device, the HomePod. Apple’s entrant aims to capture a portion of the market by attracting those who care more about the speaker’s quality than the virtual assistant that ships with it. But one thing Apple is not talking about – yet – is whether third-party developers will be able to create HomePod-compatible apps.

The Takeaway: CBL has transformed many of its properties by attracting new and varied tenants. Since 2010, CBL malls and retail centers have reduced the number of Sears locations from 72 to 45, cut JC Penney's store count from 73 to 52, trimmed Macy's stores from 47 to 33, reduced Ambercrombie & Fitch outlets from 96 to 44, and reduced Aeropostale stores from 76 to 44.
The Takeaway: Mobile and desktop load times taking from 6.5–13.6 seconds longer than the patience threshold that web users have for load times is indeed troubling. It is even more troubling when quantified in the report in terms of how slow site performance threatens conversion rates: The report stated that other studies have noted that every second of web latency results in a 7% loss of conversion.

The Takeaway: Now Charney’s starting over. He has a new venture — Los Angeles Apparel. At first blush, the company continues right where American Apparel left off. Charney’s essential approach remains unchanged, and he maintains the same unwavering confidence that young urbanites represent a niche market that will translate into hundreds of millions in apparel sales. But even the name of the company hints at some differences.
The Takeaway: Take two measures bottom-of-your-prep-school class, add one measure earnest goofball, stir, and garnish with a lacrosse stick. But the way to build a business around him isn’t as clear. This is a group who hates shopping and would happily wear the same pair of sweatpants every day if society didn’t frown upon it. So how do you get these guys to buy clothes? This is where Chubbies and its peers come in. Call them the brotailers.

The Takeaway: Patagonia’s clothing is inseparable from its aggressive environmental advocacy. It led the outdoor industry in using recycled nylon and polyester fabrics, and Patagonia’s chilled-out vintage vibe is rooted in the idea that its clothes are built to last for years, not just seasons. Beat them up, then pass them down to your little brother. That’s the spirit.

The Takeaway: The retail apocalypse, in other words, may be better understood as a great sorting out for those who haven’t adjusted to the present retail environment. As Filley and many others believe, the original mall and big-box model — wherein large chain stores essentially function as logistics companies with nice-looking warehouses — has already died. And the next phase of brick-and-mortar retail, born of pop-up shops, Etsy, and online commerce, is just beginning.

The Takeaway: We discovered that the closures were associated with a significant increase in crime in the blocks immediately surrounding a closed dispensary, compared with the blocks around dispensaries allowed to remain open. Our results demonstrated that the dispensaries were not the crime magnets that they were often described as, but instead reduced crime in their immediate vicinity. 

The Takeaway: With ad blocking still rife, it’s unsurprising that online pop-ups are the least trustworthy of all ads, with only 25 percent of Americans saying they’d make a purchase decision directly from that ad format, according to a U.S. study by Marketing Sherpa. Print ads still reign for most trusted form of advertising (shame they can’t save newspapers), with 82 percent of people saying they’re the most trustworthy for making purchasing decisions, with TV coming a close second at 80 percent, according to the same study.

The Takeaway: Audience growth and Instagram Stories have prompted BBC News to prioritize Instagram over Snapchat. BBC News’ Instagram Stories get an average of 100,000 views, said Mark Frankel, the publisher’s social media editor. BBC News incorporated Snapchat in its Brexit coverage, but didn’t use it to cover the U.K. general election.
The Takeaway: Nike, whose products are already sold on Amazon through third-party and unlicensed dealers, could build an additional $300 million to $500 million of revenue in the United States or 1 percent of its global sales through its expansion as a dealer on Amazon, Goldman Sachs said in a client note.
Taking Retail Private
If malls are another victim of urban revival, so are they younger brands who depend on a volume of foot traffic to elevate their brand. Some retailers are finding ways to counter quantity by courting quality.

Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at brands who've adjusted their brick and mortar retail KPI in innovative ways. You'll find interesting retail approaches, commentary from retail analysts, and commentary from DNVB executives.

Part 1: Brands that've successfully pivoted to retail in city clubs, athletic clubs, and country clubs - leaving traditional retail in the dust. Coming in Issue no. 268
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