Four truths and a lie from this year’s ShopTalk

Once again ShopTalk proved itself to be the must-attend retail event of the year. The 4th annual conference was both bursting with people and content, having grown to more than 8,000 attendees, five tracks and a solid number of prominent main-stage speakers across four action-packed days. Most presentations and panels that I attended were strong. … Continue reading Four truths and a lie from this year’s ShopTalk

Macy’s and JC Penney earnings offer evidence of the stall at the mall

On the basis of early results (and specious or unreliable indicators), many industry observers predicted this would be the best holiday season in a long time. It turns out, eh, not so much. In fact, at least one guy was pretty skeptical all along. But you don't have to be some sort of retail savant (I'm not) … Continue reading Macy’s and JC Penney earnings offer evidence of the stall at the mall

Sears lives to die another day

Against the odds—and over the objections of most creditors—Eddie Lampert has "saved" Sears, with a federal bankruptcy court judge approving the sale of the once-storied retailer to the billionaire hedge fund king. At one level, we should admire the resilience of the former Sears CEO (and its principal shareholder, though ESL Holdings). Part Energizer bunny, part Michael Myers from the … Continue reading Sears lives to die another day

Dead brand walking: Sears is going out with a bang

In the weird irony that is often part of retail (and life in general), Sears Holdings recently announced its first quarter of comparable sales growth in many years—and I believe only its second or third since I left the retailer in 2003! It turns out that the liquidations sales being held in the many Sears and Kmart locations that … Continue reading Dead brand walking: Sears is going out with a bang

The critical question for struggling retailers: Too much store or not enough brand?

I suspect hardly anyone is surprised when an ailing retailer announces plans to shutter locations en masse. Across the last several years we've seen dozens of once mighty chains close hundreds of stores in hopes of staving off a trip to the retail graveyard. Last week, having already closed some 120 stores in a bid … Continue reading The critical question for struggling retailers: Too much store or not enough brand?