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
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
'Tis the season for annual retail predictions and, fear not dear reader, I will be sharing mine early in the New Year. Yet amidst all the prognostication nary a modern day Nostradamus gets fact checked on how well-honed their gift of prophecy actually turns out to be. I don't want to be that guy. So here's… Continue reading My 13 ‘provocative’ retail predictions for 2018: So how’d I do?
I suspect hardly anyone is surprised when an ailing retailer announces plans to shutter locations en masse. Across the last several years we've seen dozens of once mighty chains close hundreds of stores in hopes of staving off a trip to the retail graveyard. Last week, having already closed some 120 stores in a bid… Continue reading The critical question for struggling retailers: Too much store or not enough brand?
At the beginning of the year I published "A Baker's Dozen Of Provocative Retail Predictions For 2018." In No. 11, I opined that the industry's problem with returns would soon start to get the attention it deserves. For awhile now I have seen the growing rate of costly product returns as a ticking time bomb—particularly as e-commerce garners greater share.… Continue reading We’ve created a monster: Retail’s growing returns problem
After learning that Amazon might open up to 3,000 Go stores by 2021, the industry was still catching its collective breath when the retail behemoth opened an entirely new format in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood last week. Amazon 4-Star is the latest move into physical retail on the part of the once online-only retailer, joining Amazon Books and Whole Foods.… Continue reading Will Amazon 4-Star live up to its reviews?
It's hard to underestimate the success and increasing power of Amazon. Their market cap hovers just under $1 trillion. Their growth rates have been astounding. By most estimates Amazon now accounts for nearly 50% of all US e-commerce revenues, roughly 5% of all retail and is significantly bigger than their next 10 competitors combined. One study has some 55%… Continue reading Plot twist: Amazon’s future may soon be tied to physical stores
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?
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
Voice-activated shopping—and Amazon's anticipated dominance of the platform via Alexa-enabled devices—has been touted as one of the next big things in retail. In fact, a simple Google search with any combination of the relevant keywords reveals a large number of bold predictions about the revolutionary nature of the technology. Go ahead and give it a try.… Continue reading Sorry, Alexa: Voice shopping is still mostly hype