Physical stores: Assets or liabilities?

Of course the obvious answer is "well, that depends." As the intersection of economic feasibility and consumers' willingness to adopt new technology hit a tipping point, for retailers that had invested big bucks in the brick-and-mortar distribution of music, books and games, the answer changed rather dramatically. Today's retail apocalypse narrative is nonsense. But it wasn't so long … Continue reading Physical stores: Assets or liabilities?

The de-schlepping of retail

Millard "Mickey" Drexler, the former CEO of J. Crew Group and Gap, is many things. Shy and retiring is not among them. To be sure, Drexler's had his ups and downs, his victories and defeats. But he's always interesting. In my only conversation with him (by phone when I was a responsible for strategy and … Continue reading The de-schlepping of retail

Retail at the precipice

Some have called it the retail apocalypse. Others refer to it the great retail meltdown. And while hyperbole is the best thing ever, these pronouncements serve as better clickbait than sound analyses. Worse, it makes it sound like every retailer is struggling and that physical retail is doomed. Nevertheless, it's hard to ignore the dramatic rise … Continue reading Retail at the precipice

Omni-channel is dead. Long live omni-channel 

"Omni-channel" has been one of retail's favorite buzzwords for years now. At last week's excellent ShopTalk conference, several speakers challenged the relevance of omni-channel. This conversation is long overdue. The shift from a "multichannel" strategy--being active in multiple channels such as physical stores, catalogs and e-commerce--to omni-channel, suggested some form of profound change. It created … Continue reading Omni-channel is dead. Long live omni-channel 

Stop blaming Amazon for department store woes

Given Amazon's staggering growth and willingness to lose money to grab market share it's easy to blame them for everything that is ailing "traditional" retail overall--and the  department store sector in particular. In fact, with announcements last week from Macy's to Kohl's and Sears to JC Penney that could only charitably be called "disappointing" many … Continue reading Stop blaming Amazon for department store woes