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

The critical question for struggling retailers: Too much store or not enough brand?

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?

Gee, I thought you were in the mattress business?

In my current keynote, I make the observation that many retailers have gotten themselves into trouble watching the last decade or so happen to them. Primarily for this reason, No. 8 in my "Essentials of Remarkable Retail" is the need to be "Radical" and to embrace a culture of experimentation. Clay Christiensen, Gary Hamel and many others have highlighted how legacy … Continue reading Gee, I thought you were in the mattress business?

Will Macy’s ignite a new era of legacy retailer innovation?

The moderate department store sector has been struggling for some two decades; first losing share to category killers and discount mass merchants, then to off-price retailers and now, increasingly, to Amazon. Since 2008, department stores' share of total retail has sunk from 2.8% to about 1.7%. Over 1,000 stores have been shuttered during the past … Continue reading Will Macy’s ignite a new era of legacy retailer innovation?