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Unilever walks away from GSK deal, Instagram tests paid subscriptions, Amazon to open clothing store

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Brian Sozzi and Julie Hyman analyze the top news this week as Unilever walks away from a $68 billion deal, Instagram tests letting U.S. content creators charge subscriptions, and Amazon launches its first physical clothing store in Glendale, California.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Unilever has walked away from its potential deal with GlaxoSmithKline, saying it will not increase its offer for $68 billion. This move comes as analysts and investors were voicing their concerns on the price and strategic fit of that proposed deal. Unilever reportedly made three proposals for Glaxo's consumer unit last year, which the company rejected because it, quote, "fundamentally undervalued the business and its future."

Instagram is starting a trial of a new subscription service that will allow creators to charge for exclusive additional content. Meta Platform launched this feature in the US on a limited basis, saying that subscriptions are the best way for creators to have a predictable income. Pricing of those subscriptions from $0.99 to $99.99 with options in between.

And Amazon is opening its first ever physical clothing store, Amazon Style, in Glendale, California. That store is going to feature men's and women's clothing, shoes, accessories, with a wide range of prices. Shoppers can browse the store through their smartphones, selecting things on display that they like and then having them added to the fitting room or a pickup counter. The store is going to be the size of a typical TJ Maxx. It will not offer any special discounts for Prime subscribers, unlike folks who shop at a Whole Foods, for example.

Brian Sozzi, you and I have been around the retail block for quite a while here. We've seen a lot of concept stores, I think safe to say, in our time, a lot of different technologies that people try to apply to these stores. And Amazon, to be fair, there was a lot of stuff at the wall to see what's going to stick. So we don't know if there's going to be a wave of Amazon-style stores across America five years from now or if this is one and done. But I don't know. What stands out to you about this store and whether you think it's going to have any staying power?

BRIAN SOZZI: I love what stories like this imply, Julie, that all of a sudden, Amazon is going to open up 700 stores that have all of these giant iPads all over the 30,000 square foot location. Macy's going to go out of business. Bye-bye, Dillard's. Nordstrom, forget you. I'm going to go to this Amazon-style store. The bottom line is this.

At least for me shopping-- and I think I'm somewhat of a normal shopper, not normal in many other ways-- but when I walk into a store, I don't want to check into an Amazon app. I do not want to hold my phone and scan a QR code so Amazon is getting more information on me, and that can blast my email account with Whole Foods offers. I just want to go in and shop.

Now, secondarily, this is another company trying to push it forward in terms of the fitting room experience. Apparently, you can press a button or log into an app in the fitting room and get clothes handed to you, that if things don't fit, you can ask the workers to bring you more items. I, for one, am not standing butt-naked inside of a new Amazon store, waiting 12 minutes for one of the two employees on the floor to bring me new clothes. I want to get in, I want to get out. So I appreciate all the pretty photos floating around the internet on this. It's just not for me. I will-- I'll go to Macy's. I have been critical, but I like going to Macy's.

JULIE HYMAN: This raises so many questions about how you try on clothes in a store, Brian Sozzi, and what you're--

BRIAN SOZZI: We can keep it moving. We can keep it moving.

JULIE HYMAN: --trying on, but I'll leave that aside for a moment. I mean, the other thing is that the Amazon style apparently is just going to have, like, one of an item out on the floor. It won't have multiple things for you to have to sift through. I mean, I appreciate the idea of trying to remove some of the pain points in retail. In other words, the idea that you do have to look through a bunch of stuff to find your size, the idea that you are in the fitting room trying to get somebody's attention.

But to your point, it's hard to see that the so-called throughput will be improved by adding a layer of technology where you're going to have to enter it in to get your next size. It is tough to see that that's going to improve things.

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, I'm not revealing my fitting room experience. And real quickly, Julie, you know who has an opportunity just to redo the fitting experience? It's Lululemon. They spent $500 million to buy Mirror. And there, you can see a photo. I was in the Los Angeles Lululemon store. These Mirrors are just sitting there, collecting dust in these Lululemon stores. They're not even on. They have nobody at the stations telling people what the heck this thing even is. And that is me taking a picture of myself in a Mirror. I think Lululemon would be better served to put these things in the fitting rooms and try to reinvent the fitting room experience inside their own stores because currently, not a lot of people are buying these things.

JULIE HYMAN: Two things I love, Brian Sozzi. One is that you bring up this picture of yourself whenever the opportunity arises, whenever Lululemon comes up. The other is that you call it Mirror. Is that, like--


JULIE HYMAN: --with the Long Island accent? Mirror.


JULIE HYMAN: I don't know what that is, but I like it. And just a reminder for folks as we're talking about Lululemon, it's one of the worst performers in the NASDAQ since it reached its high.


JULIE HYMAN: And we have seen this correction, although it's up today. Look at that. We'll see if they, you know-- we'll see if more stores of the future can come out.

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