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?

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.

Is Amazon finally getting serious about retail profitability?

There seems little doubt that Amazon.com AMZN -0.27% is crushing it and Macy's is flailing. So who has the best profitability? Well, it's not even close. Macy's operating margin is just over 6%. In recently reporting what was widely seen as a blowout quarter, Amazon is just now approaching a whopping 2% in its non-Amazon Web Services business. By just … Continue reading Is Amazon finally getting serious about retail profitability?