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

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

Nordstrom: No good deeds go unpunished

Nordstrom--not only one of my favorite places to shop but also a brand I regularly feature in my keynotes on remarkable retail--recently reported strong quarterly operating performance and raised its outlook. So, naturally the stock promptly got whacked--and continues to be caught up in the market downdraft. To be sure, a non-recurring $72MM charge related to credit card … Continue reading Nordstrom: No good deeds go unpunished

Retail earnings: The best of times, the worst of times

This is a big earnings period for retailers. As the reports roll in, it's increasingly clear that it's both the best of times and the worst of times for retail. While performance overall is, on average, much better than a year ago, what continues to come into sharper relief are three inescapable conclusions. First, as I have been … Continue reading Retail earnings: The best of times, the worst of times

JC Penney goes back to the future, but it’s likely too little, too late

At one level, the announcement that JC Penney was going to stop wooing younger customers in favor of focusing on baby boomer moms seems to make a lot of sense. During the devastating Ron Johnson era, Penney's was practically driven out of business by trying to execute what I call the customer trapeze way too quickly while simultaneously … Continue reading JC Penney goes back to the future, but it’s likely too little, too late