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?

Macy’s acquires Story: Game changer or much ado about nothing?

Last week Macy's announced it had acquired Story, a New York-based concept store, and appointed founder Rachel Shechtman to be its new "brand experience officer." And, for the most part, enthusiastic gushing ensued. Let's simmer down, people. As I regularly write and speak on retailers' need to innovate and embrace a culture of experimentation, I would be a complete hypocrite if … Continue reading Macy’s acquires Story: Game changer or much ado about nothing?

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