McDonald's PLT Canada
McDonald's is teaming with Beyond Meat for its forthcoming McPlant menu.


We’ve survived yet another week of 2020! Much like the weeks prior, this certainly wasn’t an easy one, but regardless, we are very happy you’re here and pleased to present you with the latest in retail news.

We hope it may momentarily take your mind off the uncertainty of the US government and rising COVID-19 rates. (Ugh, sorry I mentioned it. Instead, take a look at this incredibly beautiful Taco Bell that’s going viral on TikTok!)

With that, I welcome you to the latest edition of Insider Retail, our weekly roundup of everything you need to know in the world of retail and restaurants. If you haven’t already subscribed, click here to get me, Bethany Biron, and my colleague, Shoshy Ciment, in your inbox every Friday. 

Alright, let’s get to it:

Supreme sells out in $2.1 billion acquisition by VF Corporation 

Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Hypebeasts were up in arms this week after New York-based streetwear brand Supreme sold to the VF Corporation — parent company of brands like Timberland, Vans, and The North Face — in a $2.1 billion deal.

Disgruntled fans took to social media to decry the acquisition, which many felt was "the ultimate sell-out move" for the counterculture company, wrote Shoshy. 

However, experts said there's no need to mourn the spirit of Supreme quite yet. The VF Corporation said the brand will still be permitted to collaborate with brands outside its portfolio, while still having access to the parent company's global resources. 

"What makes Supreme so appealing is the limited availability of their releases, and I think VF Corporation has a good understanding of that," said Amir Azarcon, sneaker and streetwear expert at luxury consignment retailer The RealReal.

Midwestern retailers are quietly flourishing during the pandemic 

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Áine Cain / Business Insider

While it's true that big-box retailers and e-commerce giants like Target and Amazon are thriving during the pandemic, so too are lesser-known chains beloved in Middle America.

Áine Cain spent some time in the Midwest recently to see firsthand how brands like Big Lots, Tractor Supply, and Harbor Freight Tools, among others, have fared during the pandemic. 

Harbor Freight Tools, for example, has seen massive growth. The company opened 87 stores already this year, and plans to open an additional 19 more before the end of 2020. Though the company is based in California, it has a significant presence in the Midwest. 

"As we grow our store teams, we're growing our corporate and supply chain teams as well," a Harbor Freight Tools spokesperson told Aine. "We have been able to attract great candidates because we offer very competitive pay and benefits as well as opportunities for meaningful career growth and advancement."

Virtual fitness companies are still booming as pandemic wages on

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With coronavirus rates on the rise, demand for virtual fitness remains higher than ever as Americans seek alternatives to gyms and studios.

Peloton recently reported a 232% increase in sales and demand is still so high that the company remains backlogged with orders. (Also notable: It just recently announced a massive partnership with Beyoncé.

According to Peloton CEO John Foley, the bikes are such a hot commodity that the company is uncertain it will have inventory to launch its much-anticipated rental and resale program. Rather than trade in old bikes for credits toward a new Bike+, riders have opted to hang on to both for use in second homes or to bestow to relatives, he said.

Meanwhile, a virtual fitness company not named Peloton are seeing demand, too. 

Mirror officially debuted in Lululemon stores this week, allowing shoppers to purchase the high-tech fitness system while also browsing leggings and sports bras. Seeking an opportunity to capitalize, parent company Lululemon is doubling down on marketing for Mirror, which is experiencing "explosive growth," Mirror CEO Brynn Putnam told me. 

Everything else you need to know: 

Steve Kornacki
Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
  • Sales of khaki pants at Gap doubled after MSNBC "chartthrob" Steve Kornacki donned them during election coverage.
  • Beyond Meat and McDonald's teamed up to create a special plant-based burger that will be part of the forthcoming McPlant menu.
  • REI employees spoke out against its paid day off on Black Friday, saying it's a mere 'marketing move.'
  • The Walmart website immediately crashed on PlayStation 5 launch day.
  • A self-taught teenage developer dishes on how his sneaker bot has made $380,000 in sales since April. 
  • Whole Foods is offering to refund the cost of your turkey if you mess up cooking it on Thanksgiving.
  • In more Thanksgiving news, Perdue debuted a limited batch of turkey nuggets that taste like stuffing and cranberry sauce. 
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