This week, a legacy toy retailer has staged an improbable comeback and Uber Eats announced that it expects to drive $10 billion (you read that correctly) in food deliveries this year.

That's a lot of burritos, burgers, and well, cheddar.

In addition, we explore how markdowns can wreak havoc on the retail supply chain, costing retailers more than $3 billion a year, and the former Snap exec who is building a retail startup he hopes can take on Amazon.

From retail to technology, here's the top stories we're reading this week:
🎉 Toys R Us Makes Comeback
🔮 Predictive Retail: What Lies Ahead?
📈 Moderate Growth Expected For Retail
🤔 Most Retail Workers Don't Work 9-5, And It Hurts
🛒 Markdowns Cost Retailers $3B A Year
🤔 Former Snap Exec Taking On Amazon
🌍 Bill & Melinda Gates: 9 Things They Learned This Year
🌯 Uber Eats Expects To Deliver $10 Billion In Food

Top Stories From This Week

Bankrupt Toys R Us Aims For Retail Revival | Via:

  • Toys “R” Us is being resurrected as a brand under 'Tru Kids,' with the liquidated chain's chief of merchandising at the helm. Tru Kids announced that it became the parent company of Toys “R” Us, Babies ”R” Us and Geoffrey brands last month, and while the new company didn't lay out a launch plan, it says there's still a gap between supply and demand for toys that needs to be filled.

  • The news comes as Toys R Us is going strong in Asia, where there are plans to open 60 new locations throughout the region this year.

  • Even with the liquidation of Toys R Us operations in the U.S., Australia and the U.K., parts of the business in other regions are still active and purchase goods as well as pay royalties to Tru Kids.

  • With such a revival, the brand could have pop-up shops, eCommerce or brick-and-mortar stores -- the types of out-of-the-box strategies that have eluded many of the legacy retailers and big-box stores that have shuttered recently.

Predictive Analytics For Retail: What Lies Ahead? | Via

  • Although data modeling has been used quite extensively in certain industries (weather predictions based on specific historic models and key indicators, insurance estimates and actuarial tables, etc.), the concept of applying similar science to retail holds incredible, unrealized potential.

  • Imagine aligning store navigation intelligence, shopper loyalty data and neighborhood demographics to consider how to attract others within the area by enhancing navigation and department placement to match their needs.

Moderate Growth Trend Expected For U.S. Retail Spending | Via:

  • Although it reflects a softer gain from the previous month's 0.2% rise, the implied one-year trend outlook for December indicates an uptick to 4.2%, a touch faster vs. November's year-over-year advance.

  • According to this estimate, sales are on track to increase 4.4% for the year through December, modestly above the 4.2% gain in the previous month.

  • Although that's down from Q3's 3.4% rise, the numbers generally continue to point to a softer but still healthy tailwind, and Thursday's retail sales data for December is expected to fall in line with that analysis.

Most retail employees don’t work 9 to 5 — and it’s making their lives miserable | Via:

  • Many employees would trade anything just to have a reliable work schedule.
    Workers who had more than two weeks’ notice of their schedule had a nearly 75% likelihood of experiencing happiness.

  • People who work on an on-call basis were 9.2 percentage points less likely to report feeling happy.

  • There is a chance that the workers surveyed would be less happy or get less sleep regardless of their schedules.

  • The researchers found that a worker seeing their pay increase from $7.25 per hour to $11.25 per hour was 1.4 percentage points more likely to be happy.

Markdowns cost retailers $300B last year | Via:

  • Non-grocery retailers last year missed out on $300 billion in revenues — that's about 12% of total sales — due to markdowns, according to research from retail think tank Coresight and inventory optimization firm Celect.

  • "We continue to believe that inventory levels across the US landscape have been worse than they appeared, with the full-price channel finally catching up to the elevated levels seen at off-price over the past year," analyst Simeon Siegel wrote in comments emailed to Retail Dive last month.

  • The historical return rate for goods from in-store purchases is about 8%, while the rate for online purchases ranges from 15% to 30%, depending on the merchandise category, according to a report from commercial real estate services firm CBRE emailed to Retail Dive late last year.

  • The share of fashion spending over the web (20%) outpaced online spending in retail overall (13%), according to that report last year.

Snap former top exec taking on Amazon with his new start-up? | Via:

  • Imran Khan, a former top exec at Snap, has some ambitious plans -- he wants to go after Amazon .

  • Though details are still scarce, Khan's new retail company, called Verishop, said Monday in a post on Medium that it plans to launch an e-commerce platform for vetted brands that brings back to customers the "joy of discovering something new that you truly love" on the internet.

  • Businesses that have already agreed to sell on Verishop include beauty retailers Ursa Major and Indie Lee, bedding maker Primary Goods, and apparel brands J.O.A., Finders Keepers and N:Philanthropy, according to a person familiar with these partnerships.

Bill & Melinda Gates: 9 Things That Surprised Us | Via: &

In a tradition made popular by luminaries such as Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos, Bill and Melinda Gates -- on behalf of their foundation -- sent their annual letter today.

They shared nine of the things they learned this past year:

  1. Africa is the youngest continent.
  2. At-home DNA tests can help prevent premature birth.
  3. The world will build an entire New York City every month for 40 years.
  4. Data can be sexist.
  5. You can learn a lot about processing your anger from teenage boys.
  6. There’s a nationalist case for globalism.
  7. Toilets haven’t changed in a century.
  8. Textbooks are becoming obsolete.
  9. Mobile phones are most powerful in the hands of the world’s poorest women.

Uber eats expects to deliver $10 billion worth of food this year | Via:

  • That’s a lot of cheddar (and tacos, burgers, and other amazing food). Uber Eats is available across the globe and now expects to deliver more than $10 billion worth of food this year.

  • That projection is above the $6 billion delivered last year.
    Food delivery may have been an afterthought at the time of the transit company’s conception, but now Uber Eats is one of the most successful services in the business.

  • When Uber was pitched to investors more than a decade ago, the transportation startup's ability to morph into delivery was something that wasn't mentioned until the last two slides.

  • Today, Uber takes a 30% cut and a delivery fee, then pays drivers, suggesting that Uber Eats could generate at least $1 billion in revenue this year, or an estimated 7% to 10% of the total. That means Uber Eats is already among the planet’s largest food-delivery services and ranks second in the U.S. behind rival Grubhub (likely $1 billion in 2018 revenue) and ahead of competition like Caviar, Postmates and DoorDash.

  • According to a post shared by Postmates: As a whole, Americans spend about $70,000 each on takeout and delivery per lifetime. Now, that's a lot of cheddar, indeed.