Shares of Sears Holdings spiked last week on news that the beleaguered retailer had expanded its tire partnership with Amazon. Once again, the optimism — or is it outright gullibility? — of some investors astonishes me. Over four years ago, I wrote (admittedly more than a little bit provocatively) that Sears investors would do far better with a liquidation of the company than with … Continue reading Here’s what investors are missing about the Sears-Amazon partnership
As much attention as both the growth and disruptive nature of e-commerce receives, few observers seem realize that often the economics of selling online are terrible (what I often refer to as "the inconvenient truth about e-commerce"). The fact is only a handful of venture capital funded "pure-plays" have (or will ever) make money and most are … Continue reading Unsustainable Customer Acquisition Costs Make Much Of Ecommerce Profit Proof
Last week the Wall St. Journal featured a story on Tiffany & Co's "midlife crisis." The piece highlighted the jewelry brand's struggle to regain its "cool" and improve recently tepid sales and profits. A few days later they announced the hiring of a new CEO. Yet Tiffany is hardly alone in dealing with what I have coined … Continue reading Tiffany seeks to execute the ‘customer trapeze’
Amidst all the pain that most of the retail industry has endured during the past few years, the "off-price" sector has been one of the few shining stars. While most retailers struggle to eke out any top-line growth, the segment's big four--TJX, Ross, Burlington and Nordstrom Rack--have delivered solid growth. While many retailers are closing … Continue reading Is off-price the next retail sector to go off the rails?
J.C. Penney recently announced its fourth quarter earnings as well as plans to shutter as many as 140 stores. To say the least, the announcement was a decidedly mixed bag. On the good--or at least improving--side, earnings were a bit better than anticipated. Moreover, Penney's comparable stores sales fell "only" 0.7%, materially better than their direct competitors, … Continue reading JC Penney: The good, the bad and the ugly.