A slightly better version of mediocre will not be Macy’s salvation

On one level, I get the attention paid to retailers’ quarterly reports. So when Macy’s missed on sales expectations and cut its full-year profit outlook recently, it wasn’t surprising that many analysts glommed on to how it was the iconic retailer’s first same-store sales decline in seven quarters, or to CEO Jeff Gennette’s lame weather-related excuses. Yet whether … Continue reading A slightly better version of mediocre will not be Macy’s salvation

Retail’s new rush to rent

While the overwhelming majority of retail involves a transfer of ownership from seller to consumer, renting products is hardly a new concept. The so-called rent-to-own industry is large and well-established, led by companies like Rent-A-Center. This market sector mostly focuses on lower income and highly transient populations, while featuring big-ticket items like appliances, home electronics and … Continue reading Retail’s new rush to rent

Retail predictions for 2019: A midyear status report

In January I went out on a limb with my 14 Predictions For Retail in 2019. So how are things looking so far? Apocalypse? No. The retail apocalypse narrative continues to be part of the zeitgeist, and it looks like we could see a record number of store closingsthis year. Yet thousands of stores will open, dozens of … Continue reading Retail predictions for 2019: A midyear status report

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