Last week Cowen and Co. retail analyst Oliver Chen downgraded Nordstrom shares, and the stock promptly tumbled. Among the concerns he cited were declining comparable store sales at both Nordstrom's full-line department stores and the Rack off-price division. There's a real risk to misunderstanding what is really going on. One of the things were going to need … Continue reading Nordstrom and retail’s growing urgency to rethink performance metrics
For a couple of years now pundits, analysts, journalists and various other retail observers have been advancing the "retail apocalypse" narrative. A typical story or opinion piece warns of the "death of the mall," points out how "e-commerce is eating the world," and generally suggests that "traditional" retailers are toast. Alas, facts are stubborn things, as I … Continue reading These brands apparently did not get the ‘retail apocalypse’ memo
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.
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’