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

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