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Today In Retail: Amazon’s Big Plans For Big Stores; Home Improvement Retailers Compete For Contractors’ Wallets

In today’s top retail news, Amazon is reportedly planning to open department store-style retail locations in the coming years, while Lowe’s, Home Depot and other home improvement stores see an increase in professional traffic as consumers dig into bigger home projects. Also, new luxury brands are trying to make a name for themselves as the sector recovers from the pandemic, and Macy’s is bringing back Toys R Us ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Amazon’s Department Store Plans May Be Death Knell For Walmart’s Retail Lead

News of Amazon’s plans to open department store-style physical retail locations in the coming years likely came as little surprise to industry watchers who have seen the eCommerce giant steadily ramp up its in-store offerings over the past several years. An Amazon spokesperson told PYMNTS that the company does not comment “on rumors and speculation,” but The Wall Street Journal reported that the first Amazon department stores, expected to be located in Ohio and California, will be around 30,000 square feet — smaller than most department stores — and offer items from top consumer brands.

Lowe’s, Home Depot Court Big-Spending Pro Contractors As DIY Takes A Breather

Consumers may be returning to in-person shopping and social activities, but the desire to upgrade their living spaces has continued, as many offices plan to remain closed through the remainder of 2021. After months of do-it-yourself projects, though, consumers are now turning to professionals, leading home improvement retailers, to aggressively vie for their dollars. About 5 percent of Home Depot’s customer base is made up of professionals, though they account for 45 percent of the home improvement retailer’s sales.

New Luxury Brands See Opportunities To Expand Post-Pandemic

Even as many luxury retailers move online — online retail sales are expected to account for 25 percent of total luxury purchases by 2025 — Mehdi Raad, founder and CEO of Maceoo, said he’s focused on expanding his brand’s physical presence. The goal, he said, is to be “the Apple of the fashion world,” applying the principles of a tech company to clothing. “We don’t want to just sell a garment, we want to sell a solution — for your posture, for the way you carry yourself and your confidence.”

Macy’s Brings Back Toys R Us, Exceeds Q2 Expectations 

Macy’s is bringing the Toys R Us brand to its website and into more than 400 retail stores in 2022, part of a new partnership with WHP Global, which acquired a controlling interest in the toy brand earlier this year. The Toys R Us return is part of Macy’s exponential growth in the toy segment of its business in the past year.

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