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
This is a big earnings period for retailers. As the reports roll in, it's increasingly clear that it's both the best of times and the worst of times for retail. While performance overall is, on average, much better than a year ago, what continues to come into sharper relief are three inescapable conclusions. First, as I have been… Continue reading Retail earnings: The best of times, the worst of times
The teasing announcement that IHOP (the brand formerly known as the International House of Pancakes) would change its name to IHOb sent the interwebs wild. In the days leading up to what some seemed to take as earth-shaking, potentially vortex-shifting, news speculation was rife as to what the "b" stood for. Bacon? Breakfast? Burrito? Bohemianism? Blockchain?… Continue reading Is IHOb a big nothing burger?
It's been a long sad slog for J.C. Penney. In 2011, after more than a decade of (at best) mediocre performance, the company brought in Ron Johnson from Apple as its new CEO. In what some saw as a bold attempt at transformation — and others saw as a misguided Hail Mary pass — retail's latest savior changed just about everything… Continue reading It’s just about time for full-on panic at J.C. Penney
Nearly two weeks ago Macy's beat quarterly sales and earnings expectations and many on Wall Street promptly lost their mind. Same story with Dillard's. Then Kohl’s followed up with a similarly surprising upside report that led some to conclude that maybe, just maybe, the long-beleaguered department store sector might be seeing a resurgence or—dare we say it out loud?—the beginning of… Continue reading Is this the beginning of a department store renaissance? Eh, not so much.
It turns out that most retailers that find themselves at--or edging ever closer to--the precipice have much more of a revenue problem than having expenses that are fundamentally too high. And yet so many relentlessly focus on cutting costs, often leading to a further reduction in customer service. It turns out that when the major lever… Continue reading Choosing the race to the bottom
Please join me next Wednesday February 14th at 1pm US Eastern for a free 30 minute webinar on the future of omni-channel retailing. I'll be joined by Rob Poratti from IBM Watson Commerce. You can pre-register here. In other news, I'll be heading to Melbourne, Australia at the end of the month for InsideRetailLive. I've… Continue reading Upcoming webinar: “Omni-channel is dead. Long live omni-channel.”
2017 was one of the most transformative years for the retail industry that I can remember. 2018 is likely to be just as wild and woolly, albeit in somewhat different ways. Here's my attempt to go beyond the obvious and go out on the limb just a bit. Physical retail isn't dead. Boring retail is. A… Continue reading A baker’s dozen of provocative retail predictions for 2018
Earlier this year I had the honor of joining Forbes as a retail contributor. As is my tradition, I'll publish my top ten list from my blog right after the New Year. For now, here are my most popular articles on Forbes during 2017. One thing is for sure: folks were interested in hearing me… Continue reading My top ten Forbes posts of the year
By all accounts this holiday shopping season looks to be pretty solid overall--perhaps the best since 2010. Aggregate sales will likely be up between 3.5% and 4.0%. E-commerce year-over-year growth will come in around 17%. Retailers' inventories seem to be generally in good shape, which should allow most to deliver strong gross margin performance. And despite the silly… Continue reading Holiday 2017: The fault in our stores