Is off-price the next retail sector to go off the rails?

Amidst all the pain that most of the retail industry has endured during the past few years, the "off-price" sector has been one of the few shining stars. While most retailers struggle to eke out any top-line growth, the segment's big four--TJX, Ross, Burlington and Nordstrom Rack--have delivered solid growth. While many retailers are closing … Continue reading Is off-price the next retail sector to go off the rails?

Should Hudson Bay Buy Neiman Marcus? The Case For And Against.

Tuesday morning the Neiman Marcus Group reported another quarter of disappointing financial results and announced that it was going to "explore strategic alternatives." To be sure, some of Neiman's problems are idiosyncratic, largely owing to a botched systems implementation and a now crushing debt load taken on in a 2013 private equity buyout. Yet the brand's continuing … Continue reading Should Hudson Bay Buy Neiman Marcus? The Case For And Against.

E-commerce’s pesky little profitability problem

Online-only retailers have attracted huge amounts of investment capital during the past decade. Flash-sales sites such as Gilt and RueLaLa have collectively raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Rather small, but rapidly growing, specialty players like Bonobo's, Warby Parker, One Kings Lane and Birchbox have all recently raised tens of millions of dollars and now … Continue reading E-commerce’s pesky little profitability problem

Taking Pitches

In baseball we often see a batter "take a pitch."  In other words, before the ball is thrown the batter decides he's not going to swing regardless of how good the pitch is.  Sometimes this is a tactic to tire his competition--the pitcher--out.  Sometimes it's an attempt to draw a walk because that's the best … Continue reading Taking Pitches

Members only? Or “Members Only” jacket?

A powerful component of customer engagement is providing scarce, exclusive and relevant experiences that reinforce your brand positioning. "Members Only" or "By Invitation Only" marketing programs can be compelling messages that tell your customer that you truly appreciate their business.   For years leading luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's have feted their best … Continue reading Members only? Or “Members Only” jacket?