Are you as excited as us for the NRF EXPO in New York? With dozens of sessions to attend and industry speakers, your time is at a premium. To prep for the Big Show in the Big Apple, we’ve curated a must-watch list of some famous incumbents and brilliant upstarts that are bringing a fresh take to retail in 2019. Odds are you’ve heard of every company on the list, but take time out of the conference to meet with these amazing brands!
1. Levi, Strauss & Co.
Mainstay fashion retailer Levi’s is an American icon, but that’s not stopping President & CEO Chip Bergh from building the brand up and out. After all, maintaining brand awareness, quality and style as the #1 blue jean retailer take a top-down effort from the whole company. Join Chip in his fireside chat on constructing a strong company culture in a Sunday afternoon Session.
With a long history as one of the most established national pet retailers, Petco’s constant focus on innovation for their target customer has set them apart. Even with heavy competition from online-only retailers, Petco has met the needs of an evolving market by broadening their in-store offerings, from pet grooming, pet sitting, and even veterinary services.
3. Newell Brands
Newell’s brand portfolio covers a wide range of products any American household is near guaranteed to own; from Rubbermaid to Sharpie to Yankee Candle. Boasting over a century of experience as a home goods brand, Newell is also an early adopter of Smart Home tech with products such as the Onelink smart smoke alarm.
Chewy hit the ECommerce scene in 2011 as a pet food & medicine retailer. As one of the premier online pet brand retailers, their customer relations strategies are making huge waves to disrupt online shopping and customer loyalty!
5. Gap, Inc
With a trendy portfolio including Old Navy and Banana Republic, Gap, Inc brands have dressed Americans for almost fifty years. With over 3,500 retail stores and a big push into emerging markets, Gap is proving they know how to stay ahead of the clothing retail curve.
6. Hallmark Cards Inc.
Hallmark revolutionized how we give gifts, such as modern wrapping paper and greeting cards. Hallmark shows that putting their audience’s thoughts and feelings first never goes out of style.
7. The Hershey Company
Kisses, Reese’s, Peanut Butter Blossoms – all icons of this billion-dollar brand and one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world. What Hershey can teach others about successful brand awareness extends far beyond the world of candy. Strong social media presence and now famous holiday advertising ensure Hershey’s brands are always on your mind at the corner store or the supermarket.
8. Under Armour
NBA Superstar Steph Curry’s favorite shoemaker & athletic brand Under Armour will a terrific one to watch at NRF 2019. With a meteoric rise over the last two decades to the forefront of the athletic clothing business, we can only wait to see what their plans are in the new year, and who will be repping UA. Successful influencer-driven marketing in 2019 starts on social media, and 4 million #underarmour hashtags include posts from The Rock, Vin Diesel, Steph, and thousands of loyal Under Armour fans.
Another maker of every household brand you’ve ever heard of, Unilever’s commitment to remaining a staple in the home is stronger than ever. As the millennial generation grows up and looks for more sustainable products, Unilever is refocusing on eco-friendly packaging, carbon-neutral production, and driving positive change through their supply chains.
10. Walmart, inc
Walmart is taking on Amazon at online shopping. Amazon. An aggressive push for 2-day shipping and Walmart’s healthy supply chain make the online shopping frontier a safe bet for next year. Keep an eye on Walmart’s unveiled plans for co-opting some much-needed competition in Amazon’s market space.
11. Lululemon Athletica
Yoga pants wearers unite! Lululemon is certainly the last word in yoga/athletic apparel, but with an ever-crowded yoga apparel market, we’re looking forward to some hot (but maybe not Bikram hot) concepts to stay #1.
12. Tailored Brands
Tailored Brands’ holdings, including Jos. A. Bank & Men’s Wearhouse, keep American Men looking sharp for work every day. With a steady rise in sales despite increasing pressure from online-only competitors and discount suit outlets, Tailored Brands is clearly on the right track to another successful year.
13. Benefit Cosmetics
A mainstay cosmetics brand in brick & mortar makeup powerhouses such as Ulta and Sephora, Benefit’s popularity spreads over 30 countries since its start in cosmopolitan San Francisco. With this kind of retail presence in the ever-evolving cosmetics market, Benefit constantly innovates and adapts to the latest styles via aggressive social media campaigns.
As the world gets smaller, TUMI is making sure we stay outfitted. As a leading luggage and backpack designer, we’re excited to see some new product lines that we’ll pack into on our 2019 vacations.
15. Nike, Inc
What sport doesn’t Nike make equipment for? With some of the country’s premier brand sponsorships (Including the NFL, MLB, and College Football), and a no-holds-barred approach to advertising, Nike remains a leader to watch in 2019.
The Adult in us is eyeing the sectionals – but the kid in us is about to pick up one of their Giant Beanbag. Their innovative and fun product lines are a conversation starter and are a hit with Gen Z and Millenials.
17. Cole Haan
We do love a smart set of Oxfords for the work week, but Cole Haan seems to keep bringing us back with fashion-forward weekend shoes as well. Cole Haan uses UGC to keep an audience focus on their website and to help drive more sales.
18. Stuart Weitzman
Premier designer Stuart Weitzman keeps their designs fresh and harnesses the power of celebrity influencers as Beyoncé and Taylor Swift flaunt their styles. The power of influencers of all sizes can help many retailers but is especially impactful for fashion.
Guess? is paving the way for retailers by using Artificial Intelligence to provide a better, higher-converting user experience for their customers. Hear directly from Edward H.J. Park, SVP, North America, Guess?, Inc. at NRF as he delves into the ways AI is already being used to transform retail.
As a one-of-a-kind startup picture framing company, Framebridge has promised custom framing for less. With how this company has grown, they appear to connect with their audience well. What’s more, we can send in photos to frame via their app, marrying convenience that millennials crave with the authenticity of a physical object.
So what ties this list of creative brands together? A standout approach to innovation, brand awareness and customer appeal that consistently keeps these brands in the top lists of their retail markets.