From Sears to Whole Foods, here's the stories we're reading about the world of commerce, retail and work this week:

🎣 Whole Foods Reels In Shoppers
🔥 Retail Rises From Sears' Ruins
📈 Skyrocketing Rents for Millennials
⛓ Burden of Student Loan Debt
🍩 Dunkin' Drops the 'Donut'
🌩 Apocalyptic Retail Architecture of the 1970s
🚨 Decoding Tariff Impacts on US Electronics Manufacturing
🚰 Thirsty, Much?

News ⚡️

🎣 Whole Foods Reels In Customers
A year after Whole Foods acquisition, numbers are showing that the acquisition piece is bearing the fruits of Amazon's labor.

According to metrics by Sense360, a consumer smartphone data-tracking company, Whole Foods is not only bringing in customers via discounts and its Amazon Prime program, they're also luring customers from other grocers including Trader Joe's, Walgreens and even Dollar Tree. Now, keep in mind that the grocer market has always been "ripe" for disruption, it will be awhile to see if these numbers pan out for rural and Middle American shoppers. It's also going to be interesting to see how other competitors tackle the challenge. Aldi is currently adding hundreds of new products and refreshing all of its American stores. While other traditional markets like Walmart are currently holding their own, signs of a larger market-wide disruption of the grocer industry seems far off.

But, it's just a matter of when. Sense360 Chief Executive Officer Eli Portnoy says national grocers aren’t hurting yet but says Amazon is getting traction at the “micro” level. “We’re at the very beginning stages, and these things take time,” he says. “These findings show there will be an impact.”

🍏 Hungry for more knowledge? Read more about how Whole Foods is changing the 'market' at Bloomberg.

🍩 Dunkin' Drops the 'Donut'
What happens when you change the name of a beloved brand?

Well, people freak out.

That's happening today, as Dunkin' Donuts revealed a new rebrand including refreshed store designs, signage, and product like nitro coffee and digital ordering stations. This isn't an entirely new change as the first store rolled out the changes last year in Quincy, Mass. By the end of 2018, 30 Boston locations and 20 additional nationwide locations will have seen the brand refresh as part of a corporate test to see how consumers react. So far, some seem a bit confused.

☕️ Grab a coffee and read more at Business Insider.

⛓ Burden of Student Loan Debt
The burden of loans from higher education has blown past $1.5 trillion even though the amounts borrowed have been falling for the past decade. Students who carry debt are increasingly struggling to make their payments as relief programs are not sufficiently easing the burden but rather stretching the amount of time borrowers have to make payments. According to a report by S&P Global, aggregated debt has grown by $500 billion since the 2010-2011 academic year. The typical student borrower takes out $6,600 a year, averaging $22,000 by graduation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

💰Learn more about how student loan debt is impacting the economy at Quartz.

The Big Idea 🤔

🔥 Retail Rising From Sears Ruins
Is Sears greatest asset its property?

Three years ago, Sears sold about 235 stores to Seritage Growth Properties, a spinoff company that was created to convert Sears and Kmart locations — which Sears also owns — into more valuable uses like offices and restaurants. The struggling retailer, in return, got a $2.7 billion infusion of cash.

The real estate play, put in motion by Edward S. Lampert, a hedge fund manager with a large role in both companies, is simple. As Seritage works to redevelop some of Sears’s best locations into more profitable uses, it is also collecting rent from Sears for stores still in operation.

Seritage shares are going up, and at the same time, Sears announced this week the closure of 46 additional locations (including both Sears and Kmart). This brings up interesting questions about the conflict of both retail and property investment.

ℹ️ Read more in The New York Times

📈 Skyrocketing Rents for Millennials
Thanks to skyrocketing costs, student debt is more of a burden for millennials than it was for any previous generation just starting out. Prices for health care, child care and real estate pose more of a problem. And that's not all: According to a new analysis from Rent Cafe, the generation that largely hasn't been able to buy homes has also had to deal with way higher rent prices.

Rent Cafe's report found that younger millennials are paying a median rent total of $97,400 in 2017 dollars between the ages of 22 and 29, and those who are now 30 paid a median rent total of $93,400 in that eight-year span.

Gen Xers, by contrast, only paid the equivalent of $81,400, while baby boomers paid even less. When today's septuagenarians were in their 20s, their rent amounted to $66,900.

📖 Read more about how insane rents are getting for younger workers at CNBC.

Heard From Around The Web 💬

🚨Decoding Tariff Impacts on US Electronics Manufacturing
There have been a lot of discussions recently about the impacts of the recently proposed tariff changes by the US Administration on Chinese goods. As we approach the up-and-coming implementation date of July 6th, 2018, MacroFab looked at the questions they were getting from customers about the impact on their products have increased quite a bit. They examine what types of materials are impacted and the effect they may have on individual products and the market as a whole.

Of particular interest, are items that impact the electronics industry, including capacitors, relays, and switches.

📖 Read the report at [MacroFab](

🚰 Thirsty, Much?
You can lead a consumer to water/bubbles/coffee/brews/soda, but you can't make them drink.

If you feel bombarded by the availability and surplus of new drink options, you are most certainly not alone. New and emerging drink categories are bubbling up every week, from craft brews to coconut water as brands look to keep up with ever-changing consumer tastes.

In the last few months alone, we've seen:

  • Alcohol companies, competing with soda brands and coffee makers as two major companies -- Coca-Cola and PespiCo have entered the fray with dairy, tea, coffee, juice, soy milk, and bottled water.
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev is now selling ice tea and --you're reading this correctly -- organic caffeinated sparking water. We're actually not even sure how to write that out correctly. We thought there were commas involved.
  • PepsiCo last week, announced their purchase of SodaStream.

💦Drink up and read the news at Wall Street Journal.

🌩Apocalyptic Retail Architecture of the 1970s

Let's take a trip to retail past.

Do you recall a store by the name of "Best Products?" If you answered yes, it may be due to the fact that they garnered press and eyeballs with their odd, interesting post-apocalyptic take on store architecture and design.

From 1972 to 1984, Best Products collaborated with the design firm SITE to transform many of its stores into stunning and bizarre works of art. These special showrooms, as they were called, generated fanfare, admiration, and controversy across the United States. They were hotly debated in architecture circles, and ultimately became textbook examples of postmodern architecture—playful and critical, providing mass appeal while challenging assumptions about how “serious” art should look, and where it should be found.

✈️ Take a trip to the past with this fascinating read from Atlas Obscura.