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

Is this the beginning of a department store renaissance? Eh, not so much.

Nearly two weeks ago Macy's beat quarterly sales and earnings expectations and many on Wall Street promptly lost their mind. Same story with Dillard's. Then Kohl’s followed up with a similarly surprising upside report that led some to conclude that maybe, just maybe, the long-beleaguered department store sector might be seeing a resurgence or—dare we say it out loud?—the beginning of … Continue reading Is this the beginning of a department store renaissance? Eh, not so much.

Better is not the same as good for department stores stuck in the middle

As most U.S. department stores reported earnings recently, a certain level of ebullience took hold. Macy's, Kohl's and even Dillard's, for crying out loud, beat Wall Street expectations, sending their respective shares higher. J.C. Penney, which has failed to gain any real traction despite Sears' flagging fortunes, continued to disappoint, suggesting that I probably need to revisit my somewhat hopeful … Continue reading Better is not the same as good for department stores stuck in the middle

Department Store Shares Are Up. Your Hopes Shouldn’t Be.

Amidst reports that holiday spending was up nearly 4.9%, some optimism about the American moderate department store sector has started to creep back in. In fact, right after these reports shares of Macys, Dillards, Kohls and JC Penney spiked. It's all a bit baffling. On the one hand, if I were a betting person, I expect … Continue reading Department Store Shares Are Up. Your Hopes Shouldn’t Be.

Retail reality: It’s death in the middle

I first pointed to what I called "retail's great bifurcation"literally two years ago today. Though it wasn't the first time that I had observed what I saw as the impending collapse of the middle. I began writing and speaking about that during 2011. As we emerged from the financial crisis it seemed clear to me that retail brands … Continue reading Retail reality: It’s death in the middle