The Weekly Closeout: Home Depot employees move to unionize and Nike launches recycling program on Alipay

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It’s been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week and what we’re still thinking about.

From Guitar Center teaching a ukulele lesson on a plane to holiday hiring ramping up, here’s our closeout for the week.

What you may have missed

Nordstrom Rack keeps growing

September has been a busy month for Nordstrom’s off-price Rack banner. The retailer this week announced that California will get three new Rack stores next year, in Anaheim Hills, Clovis and San Clemente; earlier this month the company said that three will open in the Pacific Northwest (in Union Gap and Olympia, Washington, and Salem, Oregon) next fall, and one will open in Delray Beach, Florida, next spring.

With the addition of the three California locations, Nordstrom will operate 57 Rack stores, 23 full-line stores, five Nordstrom Locals and one Asos | Nordstrom in California, according to a company press release. The move comes despite the struggles at Rack, which is faltering compared to rivals, in a segment that more broadly is unusually challenged these days.

Nike launches a shoe recycling mini program on Alipay

Nike announced on Monday that it partnered with Ant Group’s Green Energy Initiative to launch a program on Alipay to encourage consumers to recycle their shoes.

Chinese consumers can search the mini program “Recycle-A-Shoe” in the Alipay app and have their worn Nike shoes collected for recycling. The shoes will then be dismantled and reprocessed to make sustainable sports courts.

“In China, Nike continues to strive toward its goal of ‘Move to Zero’ and encourages the public to take part in environmental protection. The innovative cooperation with Ant Group allows Nike’s Recycle-A-Shoe program to reach more consumers through digital solutions on the Alipay platform and incorporates Nike’s sustainability efforts into daily life, which is our long-term commitment,” Stanley Chang, vice president of operations and logistics of Nike Greater China, said in a statement.

Home Depot employees file petition to unionize

Home Depot workers in Philadelphia this week filed a petition to form a union, according to a National Labor Relations Board filing. The petition — which includes 274 employees who work in merchandising, specialty and operations — lists the union as “Home Depot Workers United.”

The move comes as more retail employees push to unionize. In April, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island voted to unionizeand earlier this month, an officer with the NLRB recommended rejecting an objection made by Amazon in opposition to the union. And employees at outdoor retailer REI earlier this year successfully voted to unionize at its stores in Berkeley, California, and New York.

Sixty Home Depot delivery drivers in 2019 voted to join a unionwhich Teamsters at the time said were the first employees from the home improvement retailer to join the union.

Retail Therapy

Guitar Center partners with Southwest Airlines to create new version of hell on Earth

Giving customers the opposite of peace and quiet, Guitar Center announced on Saturday that it partnered with Southwest Airlines to “surprise” customers with an in-flight ukulele classper a press release.

Yes, that’s correct — Guitar Center and Southwest Airlines brought a nightmare scenario to real life. Customers on a flight from Long Beach to Honolulu last Friday were given Mitchell MU40 Soprano ukuleles, Road Runner carrying cases and a lesson, learning to play the song “Hello, Aloha. How are you?” during the flight, per the release.

To celebrate this joyous event that we all hope was consented to by flight customers, the companies are holding a sweepstakes for a chance to win round trip air travel on Southwest for a winner and a guest, and two ukuleles.

Athleta creates a new look

When Christian Dior debuted The New Look in 1947 it changed fashion history. This week Athleta debuted The Athleta Look, which is in no way similar.

Person dressed in a crop top, high-waisted leggings, and a quilted, sleeveless long vest.  And a hat.

Friend, it’s OK to just say you want to go outside wearing your pajamas and a blanket.

Courtesy of Athleta

The Gap Inc. brand unveiled a “unique styling formula” with an eight-piece capsule collection that promises to transition throughout the day “without compromising function or style.” The goal is to have a streamlined way of putting an outfit together by layering pieces.

Getting dressed in The Athleta Look has three parts:

  1. Starting with a performance layer “for morning yoga flow.”
  2. Adding to that base with an all-day active product “for those post-workout errands.”
  3. Adding an outwear layer for a “chic way to keep warm.”

The capsule collection is a way for shoppers to buy and build a look, and translates into 20 different outfits. Prices range from $54 to $229 and items are in sizes XXS to 3X, as well as petite and tall.

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