retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From Bloomberg:

"At Chili’s and Maggiano’s, the buzz is about their booming new side hustle—It’s Just Wings. Same at Applebee’s, where its startup, Neighborhood Wings, is doing a brisk business.

"Both are online-only ventures that the chains quickly set up in hundreds of their kitchens—fresh takes on a business that the industry likes to call digital restaurants. The push into this model was tepid for years, but the pandemic created an urgent scramble to find new customers and put idle kitchen staffs back to work in a bid revive a sector among the hardest hit by months of social-distancing and rolling lockdowns."

According to the story, "Early indications are that the businesses are doing well. While there's little publicly-available data on sales and profits, executives at some of these chains have already seen enough promise to pledge further investments in these new businesses. Chili’s and Maggiano’s, both owned by Brinker International Inc., launched It’s Just Wings out of 1,000 locations in June. It’s already on pace to hit $150 million in sales in its first year, which would account for about 5% of annual revenue."


•  Zoom Video Communications - which has become a go-to technology with both personal and business applications, making meetings possible in a pandemic era - "reported sales of $777.2 million in the latest quarter, up from $166.6 million a year earlier, as it posted a profit of $198.4 million," the Wall Street Journal writes.

The story notes that "Zoom has been providing some of its services free to users, including to now more than 125,000 K-12 schools that began the new academic year largely teaching remotely. That weighed on its profitability, Zoom said Monday. Gross margin for the quarter fell to 67%, down from 71% in the prior three-month period, as the company spent heavily on cloud-computing service to facilitate all its users."