Episode 223
September 24, 2021

The Great American Mall Comeback

Everything old is new again, including the once long-thought-dead GAP. The collective GAP brands (Old Navy, Athleta, GAP, and Banana Republic) have made a dramatic turnaround in the past 18 months, and we break down how they did it, and what we can expect in the future. Listen now!

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this episode sponsored by

Bankruptcy and financial peril is the rite of passage for the Mall brand.

  • The return of mall brands is upon us. But how did they make the turnaround? By taking risks, for one. Partnering with Kanye could be a mistake, or stroke of genius to take the storied brand back into the premium category and pivot away from availability to scarcity.
  • “I actually see the partnership between Kanye and GAP as actually the start of the Gap turnaround. I mark that as the moment. From a cultural standpoint and brand standpoint, the partnership with GAP and Kanye was the turnaround. It marks the beginning for me.” -Brian 
  • Brands like Old Navy are making a comeback by being more size inclusive with their recent campaign, Bodequality: offering all sizes, 0-30, XS-4X for all the same price. 
  • “What Old Navy is doing is incredible and inclusive. It's the kind of thing that you need right now in order to make a turnaround. And in a time where I think, you know, folks are willing to spend money.” -Phillip
  • And yet another win for a GAP brand, an incredible execution in partnerships comes from Athleta. Their partnership with Simone Biles and Allyson Felix is timely and relevant to our culture. 
  • GAP is continuing to kill the game when it comes to partnerships. With recent news in getting Athleta partnered and being sold in REI. 
  • “I've seen retailers miss the mark in the past. The fact that these storied mall apparel retailers are doing such an amazing job at sort of reframing who they are for this moment in the culture is impressive. But can they keep it up?” -Phillip 
  • Malls aren’t dying, in fact they’re more alive than ever. With the recent trends of brand partnerships, malls will continue to make a comeback. 

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Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on Futurecommerce.fm, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!



Brian: [00:01:43] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about next generation commerce. I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:48] I'm Phillip, and it's the return of the mall brands. They're back.

Brian: [00:01:53] It's like, is this part three of Mall Wars?

Phillip: [00:01:58] Mall Wars?

Brian: [00:02:00] The return of the mall brands. Like Return of the Jedi. Are we like on to like The Last Jedi, the Last Mall Brand. I feel like that's maybe closer to where we're at.

Phillip: [00:02:11] I just saw a this like spectacular TikTok. By the way, I'm on TikTok now. That's how you know I'm having a midlife crisis. I own a Telfar bag and...

Brian: [00:02:27] That was so covered on the last episode.

Phillip: [00:02:29] And I'm doing endurance events and that's part of my midlife crisis.

Brian: [00:02:38] Where's your Vette man?

Phillip: [00:02:41] Oh, the Corvette? Oh, I would never buy an American car. I'm just kidding. That was like the douchiest thing I've ever said.

Brian: [00:02:47] I mean, also is the Vette going to come back at some point?

Phillip: [00:02:52] It might, actually, it's a really great Segway because everything is coming back again. This is the TikTok thing.

Brian: [00:02:58] Right, if the mall brand...

Phillip: [00:03:00] Wait, hold on. No, no. Wait, wait, wait.

Brian: [00:03:01] Oh OK.

Phillip: [00:03:01] We'll get there.

Brian: [00:03:02] Fine. Do it.

Phillip: [00:03:04] Everything is repeating itself. Like we are having coda after coda, after coda after code. It's like everything in a 20 year cycle is just happening over and over and over again to where like, I mean, there's another ship stuck in the Suez Canal. I feel like the writers of 2021, like they're just rehashing old stuff that was in the pilot. We had this already.

Brian: [00:03:28] Oh, hold on. I think that happened in 2021. That's actually...

Phillip: [00:03:33] I know. Now we've got it twice.

Brian: [00:03:35] Oh, that's twice in the same year, right?

Phillip: [00:03:36] Twice in the same year. We're just rerunning the same content. The other problem is is mall brands are back. But anyway, all these like world events are repeating, you know the Taliban, like, we're back to that again. Anyway.

Brian: [00:03:58] I don't want to talk about that.

Phillip: [00:03:59] Ok, so so it was a great TikTok. And that's sort of our way of getting back into this conversation of the return of the mall brand. I had this really... I had this like moment of clarity, so I took the kids to the mall two weeks ago, maybe on a Saturday, and it was 2pm. So it was like late in the afternoon. We had something that we wanted to go get, but they also hadn't had lunch yet, and so they wanted to go to the food court as you do at the mall. And I'm thinking to myself, is anything even going to be open?

Brian: [00:04:35] I mean, that's the main event at the mall, right? The main event.

Phillip: [00:04:37] Is it though? I don't know.

Brian: [00:04:40] For a while, I feel like the food court was the main event at the mall.

Phillip: [00:04:44] Maybe. The middle class mall in in West Palm Beach is called Wellington Green, the Mall at Wellington Green. And it used to be a fairly upscale mall. But the Nordstrom closed and when the Nordstrom closed about a year and a half two years ago now.

Brian: [00:05:05] Pause. Pause on this.

Phillip: [00:05:06] Yeah. Yeah, basically... Why is this?

Brian: [00:05:08] For a quick parenthetical statement.

Phillip: [00:05:11] Ok.

Brian: [00:05:11] We need to do a whole episode just on Nordstrom, like just on Nordstrom.

Phillip: [00:05:15] We're going to have to get someone else that knows about Nordstrom. I know nothing about Nordstrom. I can tell you my feelings about Nordstrom.

Brian: [00:05:21] They are the king of the mall, the queen of the mall. They are the royalty of the mall. So if they close down, it is chaos.

Phillip: [00:05:30] Oh, this is an interesting it's funny. I've often mentioned this on this show. I had a really interesting meeting with Brandon Hoffman, who used to be at Macerich, and he and I went on a tour of what he says is like the best mall in America, which is in Century City in LA. It's a Westfield. It's an outdoor mall. It's beautiful, actually beautiful, beautiful property. And it has a whole row of DTC brands and a whole, a whole wing that's, you know, just like fitness and sort of lifestyle. Just fantastic, fantastic property. And we've mentioned it many times on the show. If you want to hear a whole deep dive on that, I believe we did a deep dive not so long ago. I can actually pull up the... It was an episode called New Commerce, and that was episode I'm going to say 89. Oh, shoot, wow. Late 2018. So it was a long time ago now, but he enlightened me to the way that malls are built. And he also told me that when a tentpole property moves out, like a Nordstrom, that there are contingency agreements and leases for other properties in that mall that they can terminate their lease. And so when Nordstrom moved out of this middle class mall many years ago, now almost two years ago, I would say 15-20 percent of all the stores that the mall at Wellington Green all shuttered up at the same time.

Brian: [00:07:13] Yes.

Phillip: [00:07:15] Total like, totally like, almost decimated this mall, and it's been fairly empty ever since. Anyway, I'm setting the stage.

Brian: [00:07:21] So, so actually, just let me continue for a little longer and then we can finish. We can head back to your stage. So yeah, I read a book a while back called King Stakh's Wild Hunt, which is a Belarussian novel basically about an empty aristocracy and what it does to a region and how that empty aristocracy sort of inhabits but has no power. And I highly recommend if you do want to kind of understand where malls are at that you read this book because I think it will give you a very good look at...

Phillip: [00:07:55] Say more about that. That's really interesting to me. What are some of the plot devices that are used?

Brian: [00:08:00] It's been a long time since I've read this, but it's a lot of comment on human nature and what happens when the aristocracy has no power but still has their position. And so when that happens, it actually sort of it ultimately sort of turns to like chaos and bloodshed because there is no... And kind of creepiness too. The whole thing is kind of creepy. And I don't know if you've ever been like a mall that doesn't have a Nordstrom, but it's kind of creepy.

Phillip: [00:08:33] That's messed up.

Brian: [00:08:34] There's sort of an element. I've been in malls where I'm like, I kind of want out of here.

Phillip: [00:08:38] Brian, you are from the home state of Nordstrom. Like, very rare as the mall in Florida that has a Nordstrom. Very, I would say Nordstrom are plentiful where you are.

Brian: [00:08:52] Let me put it another way. Where a Nordstrom has closed...

Phillip: [00:08:54] That's what... OK. I agree with that. I agree with that.

Brian: [00:08:57] I have walked around in malls where the Nordstrom has closed and I want out. It's got a weird vibe.

Phillip: [00:09:02] You don't want to be there. This didn't. We didn't start this to be a Nordstrom stan podcast, but I guess that's where we are.

Brian: [00:09:10] I'm not even a Nordstrom stan. I just think it's interesting what happens when the mighty fall and even in malls where they still exist.

Phillip: [00:09:18] It's not just Nordstrom. There's a lot of problems. There's a lot of problems in...

Brian: [00:09:22] Yes, yes. Continue your story. So that was huge...

Phillip: [00:09:24] The over retailing of America. But long story short, so we are at this mall. I'm just trying to set up for why this mall ostensibly should have no one in it in COVID times in Florida at 2pm on a Saturday. And especially, you know, a few weeks after school had started. So like the other thing is, public schools started on August 6th in Palm Beach County.

Brian: [00:09:50] This blows my mind every time I hear it. I'm like, what is this? Kids don't get summer anymore?

Phillip: [00:09:57] There was no back to school shopping to be had in late August. This is, you know, two weeks ago now. So this was like the end of August. And it wasn't even like Labor Day. This wasn't like the buildup to Labor Day, where there's like a Labor Day weekend sale either. Ok, so it was a random Saturday.

Brian: [00:10:15] Midsummer, oh, we're back to school.

Phillip: [00:10:19] By the way, if I was listening to this show right now, I'd be screaming and be like, "Get to the freaking point, you guys." I think you all know what I'm going to say. This mall was freaking packed. In fact, so much so we went to the Chick fil A, praise Jesus for his chicken. And we went to the Chick fil A, and we had to wait for a table in the food court. And this food court was packed and it was a lot of young people and a lot of families. I was shocked. I took a panoramic picture, and I like tweeted it and I'm like, "What is up with the mall at 2pm on a Saturday. Like this should not be this way. Walking around packed. It wasn't just the food court, it's like everywhere you went. There was like people were out and they were at the mall. There were people inside of Abercrombie and Fitch like, when do people shop at Abercrombie anymore? It's crazy. And this happened to be in the same like handful of weeks, which were sort of bookends to announcements of what I'm going to call like the comeback the The Great American Mall comeback story. You heard it here first. I think between Express, Gap, and Brooks Brothers, who all have their own challenges, and I'm sure if we were to get someone who really understands private equity and retail debt and imperiled brands, it would be a really interesting conversation. We're not going to go that deep here. But if you just look at the announcements that these three have made and the investments that they're making in sort of changing it, changing themselves up and trying to acquire a new audience for a new era, there might be hope left yet for some of those malls mainstays.

Brian: [00:12:06] It's interesting because I actually do buy a lot from the Gap family.

Phillip: [00:12:13] But you were just complaining about this on Insiders not so long ago about the sort of the cost of a pair of pants, I think I remember.

Brian: [00:12:23] Yeah, this was a while back, I was probably 18 months ago and I agree. I still agree with this. Are people valuing the six dollar pair of pants that they purchase at the Gap outlet?

Phillip: [00:12:36] Of course not. It's disposable.

Brian: [00:12:37] It's disposable. Exactly. But I mean, I've got some great Banana pairs of jeans that I like a lot.

Phillip: [00:12:47] So the Gap brands these days are Athleta, Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. And that's kind of the the family.

Brian: [00:12:55] And I think Old Navy is doing some amazing things. I wear some Old Navy shirts.

Phillip: [00:13:00] Let's start. So let's actually let's talk about the return of Gap. So let's start with Gap.

Brian: [00:13:07] Because it leads us to something that I'm very excited to talk about, which is Gap's partnership with Kanye.

Phillip: [00:13:15] Oh, but see, this is the problem with two white guys, you know, giving a dissertation on Kanye. I admittedly own a bunch of Yeezys. He's a problematic figure.

Brian: [00:13:26] Let's not talk about Kanye as a problematic figure. Let's talk about Kanye as...

Phillip: [00:13:31] As really hard to separate the artist and the art from the artist. Do you know what I'm saying? Like, it's there are people that will listen to this who will tell us that like this is a strategic mistake on the behalf of Gap. I just want to like get both sides of the conversation.

Brian: [00:13:50] I agree. Mickey Drexler said that he told Kanye not to partner with Gap because he's not a corporate artist. That's what Mickey Drexler told Kanye.

Phillip: [00:14:04] And Mickey Drexler is the, you know, bastion of culture in America in 2021, too, as well. And according to Webb Smith, Mickey's son runs the most boring brand in all of retail. So there's that as well.

Brian: [00:14:20] Right, right. So there's that side of the story, if that's the side of the story you're talking about, then we can move on.

Phillip: [00:14:27] Well the side of the story is, I do think that there is something to be said about an exclusive partnership between, you know, apparel partnership with the Yeezy brand, put Kanye aside for a second, Yeezy brand and Gap. Dude, it is insane. They, you know, pretty much at this point you have only sold puffer jackets, but they've sold puffer jackets for an obscene amount of money for a fairly decent number of them. If I were to look right now, I think you can find them for resale right now for three hundred and fifty dollars.

Brian: [00:15:09] Yeah, so this was actually kind of the point that I wanted to get to. I actually see the partnership between Kanye and Gap as actually the start of the Gap turnaround. I mark that as the moment.

Phillip: [00:15:19] That was the beginning?

Brian: [00:15:20] I mark that as the moment. I really do. They did handle the pandemic from a dollars and cents standpoint, like I think it kind of started to hit them, and I think they found some ways to make it work. That's my understanding. But I think from a cultural standpoint and from like a brand standpoint, the partnership with Kanye was the turnaround. It marks the beginning for me.

Phillip: [00:15:51] I think so, too. So let's... This is interesting because it's going to tie into the conversation that we just had on the previous episode of this podcast, Fresh in my mind. So if we had to link up one touchstone piece that I think covers a lot of ground as to like the Yeezy partnership and some of the growth of Gap proper, it is an article in CNN which talks about the release of... The article is now two, two and a half weeks old, so it's a ten year partnership with with the Gap. It's the first piece in that collection was the jacket that we just mentioned. It's a puffer jacket. It's come out in two colors so far, I believe, like a red and a blue, and it retailed starting at two hundred dollars.

Brian: [00:16:49] Not a Gap price.

Phillip: [00:16:51] No. Which I think is really interesting, obviously Yeezy. You know, expensive and highly coveted pieces of merchandise, not just for like the Adidas Yeezy collaboration shoe line, which is, you know, made Kanye a billionaire, but even tour merch, which is printed on probably the crappiest Gildan, you know, T-shirts that you'll ever find in your whole life, you know, are going for one hundred and fifty dollars at the merch table. So much so that merch sales alone made Kanye's listening party of three tour stops for the release of Donda, the highest grossing merch sales of any North American concert tours in the history of ever. But so this is what's really interesting. So from this CNN business piece,  apparently... I'm trying to figure out who was quoted here. The CEO, Sonia Syngal, is basically quoted in this article over and over, basically saying 75 percent of the customers who bought the puffer jacket were brand new to the Gap brand, which I think also speaks to the fact that they are able to identify customers and know who they are firsthand, which means they have some sort of like CRM or CDP implementation, which is allowing them to like power some of these insights. And then she also mentioned that there's been a viral resurgence in the Gap hoodies, specifically vintage ones from TikTok. And I think that these two things for the Gap are driving a different kind of a customer to Gap, which had never had any kind of like childhood affiliation with Gap.

Brian: [00:18:46] No, no, no, hold on, wait. I think there might be an element of like...

Phillip: [00:18:53] Of nostalgia?

Brian: [00:18:55] Maybe not nostalgia, but, I don't know. There's a vibe.

Phillip: [00:19:00] The emptying out of the Gap in malls like all the Gap store closures, I think took place circa 2012 or 13 or something, right?

Brian: [00:19:10] So that would it be when, yeah, I guess you're right. You're right.

Phillip: [00:19:14] Eight or nine years ago.

Brian: [00:19:16] So it's not nostalgia.

Phillip: [00:19:17] I don't think it's nostalgia that's that's bringing people back. I really think that it's they're changing the playbook now. There are people who would refute what we're saying and tell us all the know reasons why this is never going to work. So that's Gap. Let's talk about Old Navy. Let's talk about what Old Navy is doing.

Brian: [00:19:34] This is why... Man, this is why I actually am kind of like bullish on the Gap because I feel like each brand is more distinct than they were before. This is another reason why I feel like Gap really struggled for a while, like the distinction between Old Navy, Gap, and Banana was not great. I had no qualms about buying something from Old Navy as much as I did from Banana Republic. That's how little I cared.

Phillip: [00:20:03] Sounds like for all of your banging on about Costco, sounds like you are an avid Gap family of brands purchaser. You're like single handedly bringing this company back from the grave.

Brian: [00:20:13] I am wearing a Gap shirt right now. I think. I might be wearing a Gap shirt. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:20:21] So let's talk about Old Navy. I'm trying to tee you up to talk about what Old Navy is doing so that I don't hog the mic the whole of this episode.

Brian: [00:20:27] No, no, no. I mean, Old Navy is making incredible moves. They're making smart partnerships. They've got their gender neutral line that they've they've introduced. They're being really thoughtful about addressing the new generation. I don't know if their branding shifted. Their commercial shifted in the past couple of years. Like everything about the Old Navy, to me sort of said, Hey, we're actually refocusing on younger generation and we are different.

Phillip: [00:20:58] CARLY, maybe.

Brian: [00:20:59] Yeah. To CARLY specifically. That's correct.

Phillip: [00:21:02] So the Can't Afford Real Life Yet (CARLY) consumer psychographic that we created.

Brian: [00:21:07] Has Nine by Nine come out yet? Will it have come out?

Phillip: [00:21:10] As of this recording, no. But when this releases, maybe. NinebyNine.report.

Brian: [00:21:15] Yes. NinebyNine.report get ready because there may be a few surprises in there and we might be tipping our hand a little.

Phillip: [00:21:25] We might be. But I mean, it's fair to say that maybe Gap Brands makes an appearance for a bunch of reasons. Let's keep going, though. Old Navy's BodEquality launch, I think, was the thing that really took me by surprise. And this is, you know, fairly recent. Again, August news. I feel like Gap could have spread out all of these PR pushes across the whole year, but decided to concentrate them all within, you know, the June, July, August sort of summer lull. But the BodEquality campaign is that they're offering sizes 0 to 30 and XS to 4x on all women's styles, with no price difference and not extended sizes available online as messaging. They will be available in store on the showroom floor. That...

Brian: [00:22:17] Next level.

Phillip: [00:22:18] I mean, that's incredible and inclusive. And the kind of thing that you need right now in order to make a turnaround. And in a time where I think, you know, folks are willing to spend money. I mean, if I could bring in my own personal story into this a little bit. I weighed 340 pounds at one point in my life about five years ago. And brother man, like just buying a pair of swim trunks, you know, I'm talking like, there was no mall brand with extended sizes available online that could fit, you know, my glorious rear end. I had to go to the DXL and do you know what a pair of swim trunks like some board shorts from DXL costs? It's like $90.

Brian: [00:23:09] Wow.

Phillip: [00:23:10] Ninety dollars. And to buy a size 48 or a size 50 pair of swim trunks from DXL, admittedly, you know, that's like seventeen yards of fabric. There's a lot there to cover, but people that have that kind of a body profile that are larger, have a harder time dressing themselves and therefore wind up having to spend more money to do so. And having a brand like Old Navy to sort of make the commitment that they're going to support this, specifically for women, is an incredibly inclusive move. And by the way, this doesn't make them much money. It's got to be incredibly expensive for them to make this kind of an investment.

Brian: [00:23:57] Especially if their pants are six dollars.

Phillip: [00:24:01] Well, I don't think that's going to go for a very, very long.

Brian: [00:24:04] No, that's not true.

Phillip: [00:24:04] Transitory inflation, Brian. We can just blame it on that. Supply chain costs, yada yada.

Brian: [00:24:08] Fair point. So no, and I think Old Navy, I think they're a bit of a cash cow, though, for Gap. They're the ones that sort of carried the brand through tough times.

Phillip: [00:24:20] Oh, yeah, that's for sure.

Brian: [00:24:22] And I think they're going to continue to be a big part of their play because they are accessible from a price point. They are accessible from a price point. And I think, it's interesting to look back on that article, and I think I was talking about devaluing what you do sell. But [00:24:40] when what you sell is like six dollars to begin with, and obviously whatever that number is, I'm not saying that six dollars is actually the number. But when you sell something at a price point that is affordable that people can access, that's not devaluation, that's understanding who you're selling to. [00:24:58]

Phillip: [00:25:02] Yeah, I think it's understanding, but I feel like they're opening their arms and they're trying to welcome new people into the fold. People who could not shop at Old Navy before. I was one of them because Old Navy didn't carry, you know, up to past the size thirty eight waist and I couldn't shop at Old Navy. Wouldn't that have been nice to be able to. You know where I had to shop, Brian, was Brooks Brothers. The minimum that I could shop was like a double XL shirt from Brooks Brothers would fit me.

Brian: [00:25:32] And then Brooks Brothers, they went under right. Am I wrong? They went under. Am I imagining this?

Phillip: [00:25:40] I think you're imagining it. Like Gap, I think they had to close stores. Gap closed about two hundred and thirty stores.

Brian: [00:25:45] Yeah, maybe they had a really big store closures.

Phillip: [00:25:48] You know what's funny? But I'm saying being forced into paying a premium price to have to move to a brand that does have inclusive sizing was only able to be afforded by brands who could command a margin out of seemingly more premium product at a higher price point to be able to afford the additional investment in buying that amount of inventory to carry that amount of inventory and the sizing required to have that kind of, you know, the depth of sizing. And that's an incredible investment for a brand. And to see Old Navy do it speaks, I think, to supply chain efficiency and speaks to operational efficiency. And it's interesting. There's an alternate timeline. I know you love the multiverse.

Brian: [00:26:45] I feel like this happens on every episode now.

Phillip: [00:26:47] It does. You brought this upon yourself. Yeah, there's an alternate timeline out there where the 2019 announcement that Old Navy would split from Gap went through. And what a sad that day that would have been because Old Navy was profitable. Gap, meanwhile, was not.

Brian: [00:27:05] I think hanging on...

Phillip: [00:27:07] Hanging on to the only thing that was working

Brian: [00:27:09] That may have saved Gap and Banana and Athleta.

Phillip: [00:27:11] And I think it did. And that's why we are where we are. Let's quickly touch on Banana Republic.

Brian: [00:27:16] Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. I just want to call something out. Brooks Brothers did go under.

Phillip: [00:27:21] They're still around as far as I'm concerned.

Brian: [00:27:22] They are. They went bankrupt. They went bankrupt.

Phillip: [00:27:25] Oh, great. That's probably a great move for them.

Brian: [00:27:29] They did. Now they're back, obviously. It wasn't like dead, dead and gone. It was they got acquired by Authentic.

Phillip: [00:27:36] I mean, are you even a mall brand if you haven't declared bankruptcy at some point?

Brian: [00:27:39] I think so. I think it's like a rite of passage recently.

Phillip: [00:27:41] It's a rite of passage at this point. It really is. Let's quickly touch on Banana Republic because I think the other real story is with Athleta. Banana Republic, under the astute leadership of Ana Andjelic...

Brian: [00:27:55] Great hire.

Phillip: [00:27:57] Author of Business of Aspiration.

Brian: [00:28:01] And On Your Shelf, right? It's On Your Shelf.

Phillip: [00:28:03] I have it right here. I could hold it up, although no one's ever going to see this video because we're not recording.

Brian: [00:28:08] I know I held up King Stakh's Wild Hunt earlier. I realized that and no one was going to see it.

Phillip: [00:28:13] Yeah, I would love to actually search here to see what she says about Banana Republic in this book of hers if it ever even comes up because she now works there.

Brian: [00:28:27] She's how like you pulled that book off your shelf, and I pulled King Stakh's Wild Hunt off my shelf. That's basically where...

Phillip: [00:28:36] I don't have a ton of Belarussian literature, but if you want a lot of self-help books around codependency, I've got you covered, my friend. Let me just say Banana Republic making what I think is a really interesting turnaround in two vectors. One, they're becoming more culturally relevant. They've been culturally irrelevant for the longest time.

Brian: [00:28:59] They meant nothing. They meant nothing.

Phillip: [00:29:01] They really did, and I think it's just because, well, there's a lot of reasons why and we won't go into them. The thing that's the shot in the arm was, well, one, they had a big drop, a big surprise drop around a classic line that was very safari sort of inspired and harking back to their their old... It was called BR Vintage and very premium price points for like vintage, khaki and sort of like old safari sort of like Outlander or expedition type aesthetic, like harkening back to old school Banana Republic vibes. That sold out same day. It was a drop that literally no one was anticipating. That was huge. Then they just recently redesigned their website. I don't know if you've been to their website. It just dropped this week.

Brian: [00:29:58] I have. Because apparently I'm a super avid Gap brand shopper. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:30:04] They have a whole new look, which is basically bringing that BR Vintage vibe to all of their new collections. So it's basically been totally overhauled. And if I have to say like one phrase that describes this is the cargo pant is back, baby, and it's dressed up for almost, I would say, like it's dressed up to be a high end look. I'm very surprised at the fact that I would even give a cargo pant two looks. And there's some really interesting... The site design, by the way, the new site design is just incredibly beautiful, and the film that accompanied the launch is incredible, but there's like aviator hats and just a whole bunch of like really deep, interesting expedition vibes that I think this is a big, big turnaround to their aesthetic. And then if you go in-store, in-store hasn't been overhauled yet, just digital. But if you go in-store, you'll find a tremendous amount of their in-store footprint is dedicated to workwear specifically, you know, activewear that is workwear. So very strong vibes around like, OK, Lululemon, but dressed up for work. And it's a lot of technical fabrics and performance fabrics at a more accessible price point than Lulu too.

Brian: [00:31:32] I'm super excited about the athleisure like cargo pants. That's for work. That's what I'm looking forward to. Are we there yet?

Phillip: [00:31:42] That's the triple collab. That's the triple threat.

Brian: [00:31:45] Are we there yet? I want to see that cargo pocket.

Phillip: [00:31:46] I'm super here for it. It's going to happen. I mean, isn't that what the... Do you remember Structure? Speaking of mall brands, did you ever have a Structure?

Brian: [00:31:56] No, I don't think so.

Phillip: [00:31:57] Structure became Express Men, but Structure had something called the X-Pants. Remember a Structure X-Pants?

Brian: [00:32:12] That's right out of the early 2000s.

Phillip: [00:32:15] They were basically kind of like drawstring performance fabric cargo pants that were basically what we're describing, what you've just described to me that you said you're really excited about.

Brian: [00:32:26] Oh yeah. Super excited.

Phillip: [00:32:27] If anything can make a comeback right now, I mean, X-Pants could easily make a comeback. And hey, maybe Banana helps bring that around. But anyway.

Brian: [00:32:37] You already said at the beginning of the episode that Abercrombie is back. So literally anything has a shot.

Phillip: [00:32:42] No, I said, who shops at Abercrombie?

Brian: [00:32:45] But you said people were doing it.

Phillip: [00:32:47] People are doing it. It's crazy. I don't get it. I think it's because they've made the store less horny. Like what was the deal with early 2000s horny Abercrombie and Fitch? It was very uncomfortable to shop in that store.

Brian: [00:32:59] It was a different land. It was a different time.

Phillip: [00:33:03] Yeah, crazy. I'm really glad that...

Brian: [00:33:08] Fierce {said with sarcastic expression}

Phillip: [00:33:11] {laughter} Anyway, the last of the Gap brands that I think really like signals turnaround here is Athleta.

Brian: [00:33:20] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:33:21] And if you have to credit them on anything, it's that they they took what, you know, they're certified B Corp, which is, I think, already, you know, a huge step in the right direction. But they also have these incredible partnerships and athlete partnerships that they've been that I think are incredibly timely for, especially in 2021. In particular Simone Biles and Allyson Felix, both Olympians. And Allyson Felix in particular, whose name may be familiar to to you. Allyson Felix was a Nike sponsored athlete who was put on medical leave and sort of delisted from active roster at Nike a couple of years ago in a bit of a scandal for being pregnant. And it was a bit of a scandal in that she actually actively left Nike and went and founded her own running shoe brand as in response and is now partnered with Athleta for apparel. And Simone Biles, you know, her very public struggle with mental health and support specifically of Naomi Osaka's choice to not compete due to mental health reasons in just before the Olympics and then her own choice to not compete in the Olympics due to, I would say what she had. There was a name for the condition and I can't remember what it is, but sort of your loss of body in space and sort of going through a bit of an athletic slump, but a lot of a terrible amount of anxiety, I'm sure, and mental health issues that sort of come along with that. But for Athleta to partner with these two women in particular is so incredibly timely and relevant to our culture.

Brian: [00:35:21] So here's another reason why...

Phillip: [00:35:23] And to have done it before the Olympics, when they were on a world stage, you know what a what an incredible execution in partnerships.

Brian: [00:40:07] I also think Athleta is doing something, and it may not be unprecedented for Gap, but it sure is being done in a way that I have not seen them do before, and that is their partnership with REI.

Phillip: [00:40:22] Oh, really?

Brian: [00:40:23] Oh my gosh. Athleta is now in REI. That is Gap looking at channel.

Phillip: [00:40:31] Is that news?

Brian: [00:40:33] That is news. That is news. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:40:35] Oh yeah. That's as of this week. It's a new partnership. How impressive it that?

Brian: [00:40:41] Yes, this is Gap saying, wait a minute. We are a brand We stand on our own two feet. We do not have to own our channel to own our brand.

Phillip: [00:40:54] Yeah. Oh, I mean, for Athleta to basically like pilot away from direct to consumer to now be sold at retail. And what an interesting partnership, too, with REI.

Brian: [00:41:06] Right. That's like, I mean, if there is any retailer out there that that you know, I would want to partner with if they're not called Costco, it would be REI.

Phillip: [00:41:17] All right. Where is REI located, Brian?

Brian: [00:41:20] Seattle.

Phillip: [00:41:20] Okay.

Brian: [00:41:22] We're hitting on all my favorites today.

Phillip: [00:41:24] I'll tell you, there's something happening here. Ok, we promised that we would also touch on Brooks Brothers and we, you know, I think aside from their debt restructuring and their bankruptcy, they also launched a brand new look book this week, which I think is even more daring. Like it goes further than the Banana Republic, you know, harkening back to its old roots. I would say, and I'm going to probably get hammered for this. There are a couple looks in this brand new Brooks Brothers look book that you could be forgiven for mistaking as Aime Leon Dore. There's a few looks that pair a houndstooth blazer, a big, chunky houndstooth blazer along with a like New York Yankees looking hoodie. And that look is a look. You know what I'm saying?

Brian: [00:42:32] Hmm mmm.

Phillip: [00:42:32] And the fact that this is coming out of Brooks Brothers is basically, and I don't know if this is insensitive, I've heard this as insensitive, but it's a Hail Mary. This is like they have to do something that is culturally relevant because they cannot get by with the sort of business casual business workwear weekender garden party look. That's what got them into the position they're in is the three for one hundred and seventy nine, you know, never ironed shirt,

Brian: [00:43:08] We're like an upmarket JoS.A.Bank.

Phillip: [00:43:14] An upmarket what?

Brian: [00:43:15] Whatever that retailer is called, I don't even know.

Phillip: [00:43:18] I didn't even understand what you said. Say it again.

Brian: [00:43:19] We're an upmarket Men's Warehouse. How's that?

Phillip: [00:43:24] Well, yeah, it was an upmarket Men's Warehouse, and you're going to hate your look, I guarantee it.

Brian: [00:43:28] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:43:29] Or was that was JoS.A.Bank? I don't know.

Brian: [00:43:31] Yes, JoS.A.Bank. That's who I was trying to say thank you.

Phillip: [00:43:34] Ok. Listen, all I'm saying is we've seen these sorts of big swings in the past from storied retailers that they think something is going to be culturally relevant. I think of the we covered it not so long ago, but there was I want to say, JCPenney live stream with Shaquille O'Neal. That was one of the cringiest things I have ever seen in my life. It was like announcing that JCPenney now does live stream commerce. But in reality, the live stream commerce was the lowest production value thing I've ever seen. Like TikTok-ers do a phenomenal job. They didn't even get this person like a nice camera or lighting. It was sad to watch, and [00:44:23] I've seen retailers miss the mark in the past. The fact that these storied mall apparel retailers are doing such an amazing job at sort of reframing who they are for this moment in the culture is impressive. But can they keep it up? [00:44:38]

Brian: [00:44:40] I think it's also like maybe, I think actually maybe you're on to something really interesting here, which I didn't think about before, which is mall retailers used to be really good at copying up market players. They used to be really good at it. They used to be so good at it that people like actually wanted their stuff.

Phillip: [00:45:04] You mean like taking elements of...

Brian: [00:45:08] Of luxury, of things...

Phillip: [00:45:10] Luxury fashion and bringing it in like diffusing down to mass.

Brian: [00:45:14] Yes. And bringing it and making it available to the masses. Yeah, that's right. And so maybe you've actually stumbled upon something here, which is really interesting. Maybe they just got good at it again. Maybe they kind of sucked at it for a while.

Phillip: [00:45:26] I mean, it wasn't Gap the, and I might be... I'd have to go and look and try to pull it up to see if... Because I feel like I wrote about this. I can't remember. I feel like I wrote about this at some point. But at one point in time, Gap had all the jeans... Remember in the the Kate Moss era of gap sort of being that like with the black and white adds. Do you remember those with like Kate Moss in a pair of jeans? I remember that in the nineties and they were like a hundred dollar jeans. The Gap itself used to be a premium brand.

Brian: [00:46:10] That's like five hundred dollar jeans now, isn't it?

Phillip: [00:46:12] I mean, whatever. Well, yeah. Based on inflation. One hundred dollars in 1998. I'm going to go look at it.

Brian: [00:46:23] Exaggeration, but...

Phillip: [00:46:26] Yeah, I've got to plug this in and find out the value of...

Brian: [00:46:32] It's not five hundred, but it kind of feels like it.

Phillip: [00:46:36] Yeah, it's it's one hundred and sixty seven, eighty three.

Brian: [00:46:39] I mean, that's a lot. That's a lot for a pair of denim.

Phillip: [00:46:41] It's actually, you know, what's really funny, it's not... I mean. You could always find a cheap pair of jeans anywhere, but one hundred and sixty seven dollars pair of jeans is a thing that you can pretty easily find today.

Brian: [00:46:52] Of course. Of course, you can also find...

Phillip: [00:46:55] But you're not finding it at the Gap.

Brian: [00:46:55] No, and I believe, I believe this is true that 80 percent of jeans that are purchased in America are purchased, I believe it's under 30 dollars.

Phillip: [00:47:04] I mean, I believe that. I believe that to be true. We are 40 minutes talking about mall retail. Mall retail. Gap, Brooks Brothers, Express had a... Just as a footnote. Express had a recent relaunch of a digital capsule collection called The Edit, which I thought was what's the word?

Brian: [00:47:31] Did you say, Express?.

Phillip: [00:47:34] I said Express.

Brian: [00:47:35] All right.

Phillip: [00:47:36] That's a mall brand.

Brian: [00:47:37] Yeah, I'm like, I'm kind of skipping past it.

Phillip: [00:47:40] Saddled in in mountains of debt. But you know what I think? But they do a tremendous amount of revenue and digital revenue in particular, and they're looking to drive, according to the press release I read, digital could be a billion dollar channel for them inside of two years at Express.

Brian: [00:48:00] I'm like blown away. I'm like blown away by that.

Phillip: [00:48:03] And you should be. Sorry, I misread 2024. So that's three years. But you know, that's not...

Brian: [00:48:11] Well, ok. I know where I'll be in three years.

Phillip: [00:48:11] I mean, ok. But you don't start at zero and in three years into a billion. Yeah, I wonder where we'll be in three years. But that's impressive.

Brian: [00:48:22] Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Phillip: [00:48:26] I think having a capsule collection too, again, could be a really interesting, modern approach to trying to say, like, literally anything from this collection mixes and matches perfectly. Buy this collection, and you have an entire wardrobe for multiple seasons that will... I mean, Everlane was doing this. Alex Mill is doing this. Lots of folks have launched, I would say lots of brands have launched capsule collections, and those brands are more culturally relevant than The Express, right?

Brian: [00:48:58] Again, this gets back to the point I was just making of copycatting. Like the copycatting.

Phillip: [00:49:05] Copycatting. That's right.

Brian: [00:49:06] It's happening actively. I don't know how well Express will deal with this. I haven't seen the new capsule yet, so I don't know. I don't know what my thoughts are on it. But right now, I'm so skeptical. Every bone in my body is skeptical of Express, and I could be totally wrong about that.

Phillip: [00:49:25] You're bringing in some baggage.

Brian: [00:49:27] I am. I am bringing baggage. It's called the early 2000s and everything that happened thereafter. But then I think you're right, this is part of the mall train. This is the mall brand train that we're on right now.

Phillip: [00:49:45] What are some other mall brands that could make a comeback?

Brian: [00:49:48] Hmm. I mean, Claire's. Just kidding. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:49:52] I mean, wasn't there a recent story about who's doing piercings now?

Brian: [00:49:58] Studs?

Phillip: [00:50:01] No. Studs. Don't they have like two stores?

Brian: [00:50:04] Oh, they've got more. They've got more than that, I think. Maybe like 10.

Phillip: [00:50:10] I don't know. So I don't think that that's true. Maybe that's true.

Brian: [00:50:14] I think they have a few more than two.

Phillip: [00:50:19] I think it was, was it CVS? I'll have to look.

Brian: [00:50:23] CVS is doing piercings?

Phillip: [00:50:25] No, it wasn't CVS. I will find it by the end of this episode. Someone just launched piercing.

Brian: [00:50:30] Medical grade piercings. That's what we're talking about here.

Phillip: [00:50:37] What are you talking about?

Brian: [00:50:39] I don't know. CVS doing piercings. It's like part of their new pharmacy program.

Phillip: [00:50:47] I don't know. Yeah, I don't know. This is going to drive me crazy. I don't know who.

Brian: [00:50:56] There are other mall brands. I mean, would you consider J.Crew a mall brand?

Phillip: [00:51:02] Absolutely. Of course there are. I think there are. I mean, there were a catalog brand as well, right?

Brian: [00:51:07] Yeah, yeah. J.Crew. Thumbs up. Thumbs down. Where you at there?

Phillip: [00:51:15] Could J.crew come back? I mean, J.Crew could make a comeback. There was a recent news article that I read. Let me see if I can pull it up here in the midst of while we're chatting. J Crew. That's right, J. Crew was doing a New Balance launch, which was really interesting. Also, they just launched a a watch, which I thought was really interesting. And I guess it's with the Marathon watch company. Yeah. I mean, it's 380 dollars for what it's worth. It's sort of similarly styled to something you might see from Shinola. So yeah, maybe J.Crew could come back, but I feel like it's not as big of a swing, and they're not coming from having fallen from as high of heights.

Brian: [00:52:23] Yeah, they are. They they were at the top. They clothed America and then they went bankrupt. Like J.Crew is the ultimate swing.

Phillip: [00:52:34] I'm saying the move of Gap to come back up and be culturally relevant after so long is a bigger hill to climb.

Brian: [00:52:43] Yeah, that's probably true.

Phillip: [00:52:46] You know what store has never gone away? Bath and Body Works. That freaking place. It was the only place, even in pandemic Florida, where it's like people waiting outside. There's a line outside of Amazon 4-Star, the only other store in the entire middle class mall that has a line outside of it is Bath and Body Works. People must have soaps and candles.

Brian: [00:53:08] Here's a question for you, and this is based off of like one of your first Insider's articles ever. This staple of mall brands Victoria's Secret. Thumbs up, thumbs down?

Phillip: [00:53:22] That's I think it's a thumbs sideways. Don't discount the fact that it's an insane amount of revenue even... I don't know. That's something to the tune of, it's almost two billion. So Victoria's Secret was spun out of, I think, L Brands. Is that correct?

Brian: [00:53:49] They were. They were being spun out. I'm not sure if did it finish? I'm not sure if it finished.

Phillip: [00:53:53] According to a Forbes article in August, yes. They were spun out.

Brian: [00:54:00] Officially.

Phillip: [00:54:00] Yeah. So they had a reported overall revenue of 1.6 billion. That's a lot of money. Someone's buying that.

Brian: [00:54:12] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:54:12] Compare that to, I don't know, compare that to anyone. How much do you think?

Brian: [00:54:18] You can't come back when they have 1.2 billion dollars or 1.3 billion dollars in revenue, whatever you just said.

Phillip: [00:54:25] I mean, they're going to have to make... Again yet another example of a brand that's not culturally relevant and sort of missed any kind of... They're just being undermined left, right, and center by all of these upstarts that are well capitalized, none more important, probably than the Aerie brand under American Eagle. But how much revenue do you think, and I'm going to put you on the spot because I know the answer. How much revenue do you think that ThirdLove drives?

Brian: [00:55:00] Oh, man, I'm going to guess 40 million.

Phillip: [00:55:08] Oh, it's much higher than that. It's about 120 million.

Brian: [00:55:11] Ok, it's not that much higher when we're talking billions.

Phillip: [00:55:14] Three x brother, I don't know.

Brian: [00:55:15] Fine. Fine.

Phillip: [00:55:16] What's 120 million? 140 million? What was the number? It's 114. Sorry. What's 114 million, you know, in light of 1.3ish billion?

Brian: [00:55:30] Yeah, but when you add up ThirdLove and Lively and...

Phillip: [00:55:34] Lively, let's do Lively. How much do you think Lively revenue is?

Brian: [00:55:40] I have no idea. Forty million. I'm going to say 40 million for all.

Phillip: [00:55:47] You're going to say, 40 million. That's the number you're sticking with? It's about 67 million.

Brian: [00:55:51] Ok, so start to add these up, right?

Phillip: [00:55:53] So it's not going to touch one point six, not even close. Parade.

Brian: [00:55:56] Lively. Parade is like 10, right?

Phillip: [00:56:00] We saw that that was supposedly 10, according to Charm data, it's around 20.

Brian: [00:56:07] Ok, then you've got Cup, then you've got... What are some of the other ones?

Phillip: [00:56:17] Cup is about forty five.

Brian: [00:56:21] Ok. So my 40 guess was good somewhere.

Phillip: [00:56:21] But you're adding 40s and 60s and you've got to get to a thousand because a thousand million is a billion. Like forties and sixties are plugging away. You've got to go through five hundred and eight hundred and nine hundred, a billion to get to one point six. What I'm trying to say is even in...

Brian: [00:56:40] A lot of these. If you add Aerie in there...

Phillip: [00:56:42] There are a lot of them. But I don't think there's any total market... Aerie is a good one, actually. Aerie revenue might be giant.

Brian: [00:56:50] And then the whole Soma brands...

Phillip: [00:56:54] This is either the best or the worst episode of this podcast that we have ever done. Apparently, Aerie, according to a WWD article in March of 2021, shoot, surpassed a billion in revenue.

Brian: [00:57:13] Ok, so that's like that doesn't even count. Like, you can't add that in. That's already like the main...

Phillip: [00:57:18] Well you do. You add it in. You put that with ThirdLove in the rest and maybe you get to one point six eventually. Yeah, to answer to the question, can Victoria's Secret make a turn around? Yeah, and I outlined in a very early Insiders piece all the things that they're going to have to do to make a turnaround. One is, have a completely different... Rethink its aesthetic, and it's important in the culture specifically around like centering around what standards of beauty are now versus what they were in a bygone 80s and 90s era. And but also, I think this message around youth and in community and being about something right, not just about, I don't know sexuality? But being about inclusivity. Look at what all of these modern brands are doing and they all make a dramatic appearance in our forthcoming Nine by Nine, which you can get at NinebyNine.report, by the way.

Brian: [00:58:25] By the way, you said youth and inclusivity. I actually think there's a huge play for all of these brands to actually go after older generations.

Phillip: [00:58:34] Well, Aerie in particular, being the biggest one is focused on whom?

Brian: [00:58:38] Right. Youth. Absolutely.

Phillip: [00:58:38] Right. Yeah, right. But I think. Yeah, great point, though. Long story short, being about something other than sexuality and probably, you know, being more inclusive, size inclusive, is a great start.

Brian: [00:59:05] I think what I'm hearing as that malls begin and end with lingerie brands. Is that what we've come to?

Phillip: [00:59:16] Is that really it?

Brian: [00:59:16] Or they end with them. That's sort of what we just ended with.

Phillip: [00:59:20] Certainly end with it. What are some? Do you ever go to the mall, Brian?

Brian: [00:59:24] I hardly ever go to the mall.

Phillip: [00:59:28] Costco is your mall.

Brian: [00:59:29] Costco is...

Phillip: [00:59:31] You frickin love a good Costco run.

Brian: [00:59:33] I do. I love a good Costco run. I'm happy sticking with that in many ways. No, I occasionally will pop into a mall. The last time I was at a mall, I think for some reason I had to walk through a Macy's because I was trying to get to another part of the mall, and I was with my family and my wife looked around and she's like, "Yeah, I just I don't don't really miss this."

Phillip: [01:00:05] Really? Oh my gosh, we are so on the opposite spectrum. I love going to the mall. I love it.

Brian: [01:00:13] No, no, no. Macy's in particular. Sorry.

Phillip: [01:00:15] My kids love going to the mall.

Brian: [01:00:17] The mall itself was fun. We had a good time. It was Macy's.

Phillip: [01:00:20] Macy's is the problem. We went to a Macy's not so long ago because my kids had to use the bathroom. And that's just like you having to pass through Macy's to get to where you're trying to go. That's about all you have to say about a Macy's these days.

Brian: [01:00:32] Yeah, no. I think that was that was her point was like, this is old. This feels old. It doesn't feel like where we're at. The mall itself was actually pretty good. It's the Bellevue Mall, which is like this...

Phillip: [01:00:45] Oh, that's upscale.

Brian: [01:00:46] It's the centerpiece of all malls, because one, it's in the Seattle area and Bellevue is sort of the pinnacle of the Seattle area.

Phillip: [01:00:55] Bellevue is the Brooklyn of Seattle, right?

Brian: [01:00:59] Yes.

Phillip: [01:01:01] Is it? I don't know.

Brian: [01:01:01] No. It's like Manhattan plus Brooklyn with no culture.

Phillip: [01:01:09] Ok, so we spent fifty five flipping minutes talking about Gap mostly, but also mall brands. I think there's a segue way to another episode in a future date, which is what are the new digital equivalents of malls and why are they not marketplaces? I don't believe that Amazon or any other type of marketplace, even vertical like niche marketplaces, they are not malls, right?

Brian: [01:01:47] They're not. In fact, [01:01:48] I think there's probably a whole series we could run on the future of malls, department stores, and marketplaces and how they're going to interplay together because I believe that there is a sort of future hybrid model of marketplaces and like basically 1P and 3P. Sort of the Amazon model, but in a much more niche context where marketplaces play into 1P situations, the 1P situations are sort of the content side of things. The 3P side is like the assortment, and there's a lot there [01:02:33]. There's a lot there. I do want to run a whole episode on this, at least.

Phillip: [01:02:36] If we were to, at some future point, maybe, and we saw a lot of, you know, M&A activity from big mall operators in the United States, Westfield and Simon Properties grabbing up some of these imperiled brands that are their tenants. In particular, who was it that was...? There are there are a few that were acquired. I can't remember. It's getting late. Wouldn't it be interesting if the Westfield's of the world become sort of the like digital proto mall?

Brian: [01:03:23] Yup. That's what I'm getting at.

Phillip: [01:03:23] Where having a place that is a marketplace of marketplaces to be able to engage in experiential brand discovery where the brands can operate store and store on that digital property. That would be a really interesting parallel and an analog of the real world in the digital space that I don't think really exists. And perhaps maybe none of that will ever come to being because Web3 and NFTs and smart contracts will decentralized all this.

Brian: [01:03:59] That was going to be like half of our episode.

Phillip: [01:04:02] Yeah, I wanted to get here. We're not going to get here. But, you know, perhaps the future is, you know, in a decentralized future, it takes us further away from, you know, this idea of being able to centralize all retail activity. How does discovery happen in a decentralized world? How do you find and shop and engage in commerce in a world that's increasingly trustless and decentralized?

Brian: [01:04:31] I'm going to tip my hands right now. I believe in tastemakers. I believe they still exist. I think they will be a big part of this.

Phillip: [01:04:40] Curation is what will make. That's what separates OpenSea from like Rarible.

Brian: [01:04:45] Correct. That's right. That's right.

Phillip: [01:04:48] One is the strip mall or it's not the strip mall. One is like, it's just like a smorgasbord, and the other one is like a highly curated, you know, highly curated...

Brian: [01:05:01] We got to do a whole episode on this. I just want to keep commenting on this.

Phillip: [01:05:05] We will do a whole episode on this in the future. Yes, you know, what would be really fun is we should bring someone in who knows a lot about NFTs and Web3, a Taylor Holiday or a Chris Cantino or someone that would be a lot of fun to chat with people of such ilk far beyond our stature in life. Great. This has been great. Final word, Brian.

Brian: [01:05:28] Malls aren't going anywhere.

Phillip: [01:05:33] No, they're not.

Brian: [01:05:33] They're going to be just fine.

Phillip: [01:05:34] We didn't even talk about how they may change. I mean, we only talked about the tendency that...

Brian: [01:05:42] We talked about mall brands. We didn't talk about malls.

Phillip: [01:05:45] Yeah, we didn't talk about malls. But some aren't going... Even the ones that are dying. If you want to be very depressed, you should do what we did on Black Friday this past year, and we watched Jasper Mall, which is on Amazon Prime Video, one of the more depressing examples of even dying or dead malls still have to be kept alive to some degree.

Brian: [01:06:09] But not as depressing as Amazon shopping on Black Friday. {laughter}

Phillip: [01:06:19] There's nothing more depressing than that. Ok, that's it. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce. Go check out our most recent report. Our, you know, probably the most expansive deep dive into what makes a brand meaningful that we've ever published. And that is our Nine by Nine report. It's an annual report around these parts. And it's either just come out. I can't remember...

Brian: [01:06:44] It's not out yet.

Phillip: [01:06:46] It's maybe, probably. But it might be, and you could be the first to read it. Go to NinebyNine.report and I get an advance copy and get it. Read it before anyone else does. And subsequently, you should also subscribe to the Future Commerce Insiders newsletter, and that gives you an essay, a long form essay of something that is deep and insightful and something that will help spur you to have a train of thought, to think about something in a new way and see the world differently than you saw it before and hopefully take that original thought and that insight and use that to impact your business. We touch on everything from art and culture to activism and psychology and even maybe a little bit of poetry about the current state of retail, eCommerce, direct to consumer, and marketplaces. And all of that happens every week over on Future Commerce Insiders. You can get it by going to FutureCommerce.fm/subscribe and get it. And you can find other episodes of this podcast at FutureCommerce.fm or wherever podcasts are found. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Future Commerce. Remember, the future is what we make of it. Let's build it together because we feel like commerce can change the future, and we can affect the world around us by making a difference in commerce. Thanks for listening.

Brian: [01:08:06] Muwah, muwah, muwah.

Phillip: [01:08:08] What is that? Kisses?

Brian: [01:08:09] I don't know. Yeah, it was kisses.

Phillip: [01:08:11] Oh, it's very, very fun.

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