Bath time

Trimming wicks at Bath & Body Works

Good morning, aroma artisans. This is your Stock Market Rundown for March 4th, 2024. Thanks for joining me for another week of finance fun. Let’s dig in:

TODAY’S TOP STORY: THE SCENT OF THE MALL

Warm Vanilla Sugar, Strawberry Pound Cake, Champagne Toast. While they sound fattening, there are no calories involved: they’re all best-selling fragrances at Bath & Body Works.

As America’s biggest mall beauty brand, Bath & Body Works has had female shoppers captivated since 1990. It introduced consumers who’d grown up using Irish Spring, to the idea that every shower could be a fragrance adventure.

Starting with one store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Bath & Body Works has expanded to over 1,700 stores nationally. The retailer makes 40% of its annual sales during the holiday period. That’s probably because soaps and candles are the perfect Christmas gift for her—easy to regift, and never the wrong size.

Bath & Body Works grew by creating products in-house and keeping price points at an “attainable indulgence” level. Some of the store’s scents have been on the shelves for decades, and provide major nostalgia value to diehard fans, who exchange scent recommendations in the Bath & Body Works subreddit.

Newly-hired employees were told of the founder, “Kate”, and how she grew up on a farm in the midwest making her own beauty products. Cute story, but complete fiction. In actuality, there was no “Kate”. Apparently, if you don’t have a relatable female founder to trot out, you can just fabricate one.

Recently, Bath & Body Works forecast sales and profit for 2024 that missed expectations. With inflation squeezing household budgets, consumers are spending less on the little indulgences, like 3-wick candles in Frosted Cranberry or Vanilla Bean. Maybe they could spice up their candle line with some scents especially for men, like Smoked Bacon or Italian Hoagie.

Have you ever tried any Bath & Body Works products? Did they result in any rashes or sneezing? Let me know in the comments:

SO WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
  • Domino’s beat estimates as millions of customers signed up for its loyalty program. Folks, I love pizza too, but if you’re signing up for the fan club, you may want to cut back on your weekly orders. 

  • Luxury outerwear brand Moncler, the uniform of stylish billionaires skiing in Aspen, reorganized its corporate structure to become more attractive to potential acquirers. Major luxury houses like LVMH, Richemont, and Kering will be trying this potential deal on for size.

  • A drug company’s stock shot up when it announced a trial of its implant helped obese mice lose weight in a trial. If somebody kept me in a cage, fattened me up on lab kibble, and then did weird surgeries on me, I’d probably lose weight too.

  • Best Buy beat expectations as consumers joined its $49.99-per-year membership plan. For that price, I hope it includes a free haircut and scalp massage from my choice of employee.

That’s it for today, my friends; catch you back here at the usual time tomorrow morning. Yours in capitalism, The Axe

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