Mall Madness. The American Dream is an unfinished New Jersey megamall that is running out of money. There aren’t enough ways to metaphorically unpack that sentence, but taken literally, it’s the tale of a struggling project that is decades in the making. Days before the grand opening of multiple stores in 2020, the mall shut down because of Covid, and the hardships haven’t really let up since.
iPhone for business. Apple announced a tap-to-pay feature will be added for businesses to use on iPhones. It will be available on Stripe this spring.
More Sights & Sounds. TikTok is giving mall brands new life. Walmart is partnering with Angi to launch a home service program to compete with Lowe’s and Home Depot. Costco has named a new president, Ron Vachris. Shopware has raised $100 million in its first round of outside funding. Amazon is upping its max base salary to $350,000 and our creative director keeps joking that he is giving us his official resignation. Data is showing that retail ecommerce is slated to grow the most in the Philippines and India this year. Celebrities are into buying Bored Apes and other NFTs (yawn). And the plot thickens as the Dutch community solemnly swears to egg Jeff Bezos’ superyacht if the historic bridge dismantling project moves forward.
New Luxury / Hello Fellow Kids. This is a Steve Buscemi appreciation post. Kith clothing has announced its Spring 22 collection with the most beautiful of supermodels, Mr. Pink. If you didn’t think he was an icon before, this pretty much settles it. Steve Buscemi is cool again. We’re in the midst of a full-blown Buscemissance. Bask in its glory.
The Economy / Hyper-inflation in luxury. Chanel raised the price of its Classic Flap Bag three times last year, from $5,200 to $8,200, noting “we’ve seen absolutely no consumer resistance to any or the price increases.” HENRY gonna HENRY.
Editor’s note: a Veblen Good is an item that becomes more desirable the more expensive it becomes. Many have written pieces about how certain NFT projects track along this demand curve, but Chanel and other true luxury brands are the O.G. veblen articles. Price is, seemingly, irrelevant.
However, the rise of liquidity and stimulus means that more of the middle class have been buying into true luxury in recent years, especially in China. In that light, we wouldn’t consider these goods to be veblen, but rather, Giffen goods — where the demand for goods is sought by those who truly cannot afford them, specifically by those who are economically disadvantaged. Further reading on Giffen goods can be found in this Friday’s The Senses editorial.
CARLY + Anemoia / M’edibleverse. The hottest new dining experiences seem to be surrounding food that isn’t edible. Who needs Zuck when the metaverse is on a 22-year-old CD-ROM? The hottest new dining establishment is in The Sims, as reported by the NYT. If your M1 Mac doesn’t have a disc drive, not to fear. You can visit the all-felt grocery store. The calories don’t count if it isn’t digestible. Right?
Last-Mile / Phantom Foodstuffs. Simon, the company most of us know as the owners of shopping malls across the country, is getting into the ghost kitchen business. In collaboration with Kitchen United, they are launching “Grab Go Eat” to enable customers to order from multiple restaurants in one transaction for delivery or pickup in the mall.
Supply Chain Salvation? Almost billionaire, Ryan Peterson’s Flexport is meant to save us from the shipping crisis, but fellow industry experts are skeptical.