A really bad time to be boring · Harmonized · Retail

Four truths and a lie from this year’s ShopTalk

Once again ShopTalk proved itself to be the must-attend retail event of the year. The 4th annual conference was both bursting with people and content, having grown to more than 8,000 attendees, five tracks and a solid number of prominent main-stage speakers across four action-packed days. Most presentations and panels that I attended were strong.… Continue reading Four truths and a lie from this year’s ShopTalk

A really bad time to be boring · Being Remarkable · Retail

Macy’s and JC Penney earnings offer evidence of the stall at the mall

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

Digital Disruption · Retail · The Amazon Effect

Despite a booming stock price, Wayfair is no Amazon

Wayfair.com, the leading purveyor of home furnishings online, recently delivered what many on Wall Street saw as a blockbuster quarter, reporting sales growth of more than 40%. Of course they also lost $144 million for the quarter, which about doubled the loss from the year earlier. For the entire year they lost a cool half… Continue reading Despite a booming stock price, Wayfair is no Amazon

Innovation · Memorable · Retail

Barneys and MedMen hope ‘high’ fashion will be a big hit

Two retailers are seeking to really put the high into high fashion. Last week Barney's New York, which operates 15 luxury department stores and outlets in the US, announced it would open "The High End" in its Beverly Hills flagship. Deemed a "luxury cannabis lifestyle shop" the new concept will be tucked away on the fifth floor… Continue reading Barneys and MedMen hope ‘high’ fashion will be a big hit

A really bad time to be boring · Death in the middle · Retail

Sears lives to die another day

Against the odds—and over the objections of most creditors—Eddie Lampert has "saved" Sears, with a federal bankruptcy court judge approving the sale of the once-storied retailer to the billionaire hedge fund king. At one level, we should admire the resilience of the former Sears CEO (and its principal shareholder, though ESL Holdings). Part Energizer bunny, part Michael Myers from the… Continue reading Sears lives to die another day

Reimagining Retail · Retail

Why are some retailers only now realizing they have way too many stores?

Last month, Chico's announced it plans to close 250 stores. Recently, H&M decided to shutter 160 locations. Last week, Charlotte Russe said it will close nearly 100. Of course, this is hardly a new phenomenon. In recent years, dozens of chains have concluded that a meaningful percentage of their stores are suddenly superfluous. I'm not talking about the… Continue reading Why are some retailers only now realizing they have way too many stores?

Embrace the blur · Harmonized · Retail

The stores strike back

Amidst all the retail apocalypse nonsense it turns out that physical retail isn't dead after all.  Last year some 3,000 new stores were opened and physical retail continued to have positive growth in most major global markets. One of my 14 predictions for retail in 2019 is the notion that, despite the presumed death of physical retail, quite… Continue reading The stores strike back

Retail

Retailers’ pointless pursuit of the promiscuous shopper

I'm not sure who said it first, but it's certainly true that great brands don't chase customers, they attract customers to them. But I think it goes deeper than that. This week, as many retailers close their books for the fiscal year, those that remain stuck in the boring middle are very likely to experience weakening margins--or margins that… Continue reading Retailers’ pointless pursuit of the promiscuous shopper

Retail

Out on a limb: 14 predictions for retail in 2019

Last year I started making annual retail predictions--some more provocative than others. For a first-timer I must say I think I did pretty well. Undaunted, I'm now back with my 2019 list of (mostly) bold predictions. Here goes... Apocalypse? No. Yes 2018 was yet another year of massive store closings and retail bankruptcies. And while I expect the pace to moderate… Continue reading Out on a limb: 14 predictions for retail in 2019

Retail

Blake Nordstrom: Gone too soon, but his impact on retail will long be remembered

I met Blake Nordstrom, co-president of the namesake retailer, only one time, and it was way back in 2005. I was an executive at Neiman Marcus, and many of us on the senior leadership team were attending the grand opening of our new store at the Shops of La Cantera in San Antonio, Texas. About an… Continue reading Blake Nordstrom: Gone too soon, but his impact on retail will long be remembered