It’s just about time for full-on panic at J.C. Penney

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

Is this the beginning of a department store renaissance? Eh, not so much.

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.

Retail’s new fork in the road: Understanding ‘buying’ vs. ‘shopping’

As I pointed out in my last piece, it is all too easy to be misled by high-level statistics and narratives that paint an incomplete picture of the retail landscape. Similarly, many fail to appreciate the underlying dynamics that (increasingly) separate industry winners from the losers and that which will ultimately determine when online shopping starts to … Continue reading Retail’s new fork in the road: Understanding ‘buying’ vs. ‘shopping’

ShopTalk 2018: Lessons in hope, reality and denial

With my time at the ShopTalk 2018 gathering in Las Vegas now behind me, I decided to forego my original plan to write a more detailed summary of "key" take-aways. For one thing, there are a number of excellent summaries out there already. Like this one. Or this. Or CoreSight's thorough recap of each day. Also, it's a fair amount of … Continue reading ShopTalk 2018: Lessons in hope, reality and denial

Physical retail is not dead. Boring retail is.

It may make for intriguing headlines, but physical retail is clearly not dead. Far from it, in fact. But, to be sure, boring, undifferentiated, irrelevant and unremarkable stores are most definitely dead, dying or moving perilously close to the edge of the precipice. While retail is going through vast disruption causing many stores to close — and quite a few … Continue reading Physical retail is not dead. Boring retail is.