Retail Focus 12/8/17 – AutoZone Continues New Initiatives; the Reputation of Retail Brands

December 9, 2017

Although we begin our show looking at Big Lots’ latest earnings results and finish with Teavana and Duluth news, we spend time glancing at AutoZone’s recent push to expand their megahub program, and how that plus commercial sales may boost future revenue for the company. Our guests on this show are Mark Lange and Bradley Null with, who discuss their recently released study on retail brands’ reputation amongst consumers.


Retail Focus 12/1/17 – Kroger’s New Policy & an Earnings Beat; Micro-Influencers & Retail

December 2, 2017

We not only summarize early data from Thanksgiving weekend retail sales on this podcast, but we look at two strategic changes at Kroger and how their third quarter earnings bested expectations. Sears Holdings is losing slightly less money, Toys “R” Us executive compensation is under a microscope, and Albertsons partners with Instacart. Our guest is Gatsby CEO Brett Bernstein, who discusses micro-influencers, their importance to retailers, and the genesis of the company.


Retail Focus 11/24/17 – Thanksgiving Weekend Sales, Dollar Tree Improves Across the Board

November 25, 2017

In this Black Friday edition of the Retail Focus Podcast, we begin by discussing both survey data and anecdotal accounts in attempting to determine just how robust Thanksgiving Weekend sales may have been. Then, we look back to third quarter earnings calls from prior in the week, as Lowe’s continues positive home improvement retail momentum, Dollar Tree crushes it while boosting margins, and DSW blames hurricanes and weather for sub-optimal results.


Retail Focus 11/17/17 – Walmart, JCP, Home Depot Crush Expectations; A Different E-Commerce Perspective

November 17, 2017

It’s a podcast of optimism and positivity, as three major retailers all beat analyst expectations during earnings calls this week. JCP reduces the burden of inventory, Home Depot continues their hot streak, and Walmart posts increasing sales in nearly every facet of their business. Our guest is Anthony Ferry, CEO of PriceSpider, who discusses e-commerce from a manufacturer’s perspective, including evaluation of minimum advertised price agreements and customer feedback.


Retail Focus 11/10/17 – Pharmacy Grows, Front-Store Shrinks at CVS; Unifying Customer Data

November 12, 2017

We begin with CVS, as the pharmacy giant’s earnings call gave us several things to ponder. Additionally, we look at the gradual improvement plan and right-sizing of the retail base at Crocs, what may be the final HSN earnings call, and Kroger’s misgivings about using AWS. Our guest is Eric Keating, VP for Marketing at Zaius, who discusses the importance of unifying customer information across all platforms for retail companies.


Retail Focus 11/3/17 – Under Armour Scuffles, Customer Engagement in Grocery

November 4, 2017

Our lead is Under Armour, who for the first time as a publicly traded company showed shrinking sales in their most recent quarter. We also cover Lumber Liquidators (and more one-time legal expenses) and Albertsons’ latest real estate initiatives. Our interviews in this episode both explore grocery: Kelly Podzemny, who was the first social media coordinator for United Supermarkets, and Diego Maniloff with Unata, whose firm has developed voice ordering technology for independent grocers.


Retail Focus 10/27/17 – Big News for Walgreens & CVS; JCP Revises Estimates Downward

October 28, 2017

The retail pharmacy sector plays heavily in the Retail Focus Podcast this week, with Walgreens showing a large bump in pharmacy sales, and rumors swirling around a possible CVS acquisition of Aetna. We also discuss JCP’s downward revision of their profit estimates and whether the market is overreacting to said news. Our guest is Racked Senior Reporter Chavie Lieber, who discusses eBay’s initiatives to reclaim market share among online marketplaces.


Retail Focus 10/20/17 – eBay Draws Mixed Reviews; Use of Holograms in Retail Stores

October 21, 2017

After eBay released earnings this week, analysts and retailers seemed mixed in reaction, with no one quite sure what lies ahead for the e-commerce giant. We cover another proposed acquisition by SuperValu, job cuts at Blue Apron, teen shopping trends, and Sketcher’s international growth as well. Our interview guest is VNTANA CEO Ashley Crowder, who discusses the use of holograms in retail stores both now and in the future.


Retail Focus 10/13/17 – To C-Store Or Not To C-Store; E-Commerce Fraud Prevention Dynamics

October 14, 2017

Once again, Kroger is back in the news—this time, as they ponder the possible sale of their convenience store holdings. From there, we move on to Big Lots finally unveiling their new store design in Arizona, and Ikea’s potential partnerships with third-party e-commerce sites. Our interview guest is Michael Reitblat, CEO of Forter, who discusses e-commerce fraud prevention dynamics and why retail companies may actually be too cautious when it comes to online payment processing.


Retail Focus 10/6/17 – Acquisitions for Walmart and Office Depot; Retail Tech at Adobe and LogMeIn

October 6, 2017

Walmart is back into the acquisition game, picking up potential last-mile service Parcel, while Office Depot builds their portfolio by seeking to acquire CompuCom and Sprouts lays forth a growth plan. Our interview guests, recorded at, are Michael Klein (Director of Industry Strategy for Adobe) and Dave Campbell (VP of Product Marketing at LogMeIn), who discuss the various technologies the tech giants are working on to assist retailers in both the brick-and-mortar and e-commerce realms.


Retail Focus 9/29/17 – Live From Connecting Physical & Digital, Holiday Promotional Initiatives

September 30, 2017

In a podcast recorded live at in L.A., we lead with former Macy’s CMO Martine Reardon, who discusses merging the physical and the digital in today’s retail landscape. We’re also joined by Chelsie Baugh of RetailMeNot, who gives us a look inside the 2017 holiday shopping promotional push. In between, we discuss retail news from Disney, ascena, and how one store chain’s leftover real estate may spur growth in an upstart farm & home retailer.


Retail Focus 9/22/17 – Finally, Walgreens-Rite Aid Clarity; Seeking a Better E-Commerce Gifting System

September 22, 2017

We lead with the clarity everyone’s been waiting for regarding the Walgreens-Rite Aid deal, as it storms towards the final stages. Also discussed are tepid earnings from Bed, Bath & Beyond, more news surrounding the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy, and possible positive news ahead of the holiday shopping season. Our guest is Monika Kochhar, founder and CEO of SmartGift, who discusses her company’s data-driven mission to change e-commerce gift-giving for the better.


Retail Focus 9/15/17 – Kohl’s Latest to Strike Amazon Partnership, Target Plans Hiring Spree

September 16, 2017

Kohl’s got a nice boost this week, after it was announced that they would enter a limited partnership with Amazon to sell the e-commerce giant’s devices in ten stores. Additionally, Vitamin World files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Target bolsters their seasonal hiring plan, and Kroger unveils their latest pilot venture in Kentucky. We finish with a quick evaluation of Nordstrom, and the apparent increased likelihood the company is taken private.


Retail Focus 9/8/17 – Amazon Seeks Home for HQ2, Buying Habits of Greek Organizations

September 9, 2017

Amazon once again dominated retail headlines this week, as they announce their intention to open a second headquarters. Meanwhile, Duluth Trading Co and Restoration Hardware both crush expectations, and Toys “R” Us mulls options to restructure their debt. Our interview guest is Stephanie Talmadge, newsletter editor at Racked, who discusses her recent story about buying habits of Greek organizations on college campuses and how retailers market to them.


Retail Focus 9/1/17 – Best Buy Urges Caution After Success, Ollie’s & Five Below Flex Muscles

September 3, 2017

Despite an excellent quarter, Best Buy implores analysts to proceed with caution as they see the potential for shrinking margins in the future. No such messages were given this week by off-price retailer Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, as their management outlined their future runway to growth. After talking Finish Line, we discuss how Five Below continues to ride consumer trends to success, and how a pending legal issue between Simon and Starbucks could impact future retail closures.


Retail Focus 8/25/17 – Whole Foods Price Cuts, Sears Struggles, How Mom-&-Pops Use E-Commerce

August 26, 2017

We begin by discussing Michaels’ recent earnings beat, and how vertical integration in their picture framing efforts has helped them along. Then, obligatory coverage of both Whole Foods’ price cuts and Sears’ continued decent, including more store closures. We close with positive news from a revitalized Family Dollar under Dollar Tree. Our interview guest is Sydney Anselmi, a small business consultant who discusses how small mom-and-pop retailers are using e-commerce to grow the reach of their existing brick-and-mortar establishments.


Retail Focus 8/18/17 – Target & Walmart Surge; How Digital Tools Assist Retail Buyers

August 19, 2017

Both Target and Walmart see massive increases in e-commerce sales, but also increases in store traffic; we discuss how each retailer is managing to grow sales against tighter competition. We talk off-price retail with news from TJX of a new store banner, and we’ll look into how the elimination of swimwear hindered L Brands’ most recent quarter. Our interview guest is Amy Zhou, COO of Brandboom, who discusses how digital and e-commerce elements have changed the way retail buyers source their products.


Retail Focus 8/11/17 – Finding Optimism for Kohl’s & Macy’s; Branding of E-Commerce Lifestyle Startups

August 12, 2017

While most news outlets have come down pretty hard on department stores, we take deep looks into earnings calls from Kohl’s, Macy’s, and JC Penney to find reasons for optimism heading into the third quarter. We also discuss potential retail ramifications of Oregon’s new scheduling law and talk to Racked senior reporter Eliza Brooke about the branding of e-commerce’s lifestyle startups. Our podcast is sponsored by Lightspeed’s speaker series; find out more at


Retail Focus 8/4/17 – Lumber Liquidators & Boot Barn Rebound, the Story of Saddleback Leather

August 4, 2017

We start by discussing Lumber Liquidators’ return to profitability, as they stun the industry with stellar earnings. Then, on to western wear retailer Boot Barn, as they bounce back from a rough holiday season. Our interview guest is the CEO and founder of Saddleback Leather, Dave Munson, who discusses his company’s growth from the back of a pickup truck to an e-commerce giant. Additionally, we talk Party City’s business initiatives, and Under Armour’s adherence to strategic change. Our podcast is sponsored by Lightspeed’s speaker series; find out more at


Retail Focus 7/28/17 – Kimco’s Portfolio Shines, Pet Supplies Boost Tractor Supply

July 29, 2017

Kimco earnings lead off our show, and for good reason—not only do their financials underscore a successful brick-and-mortar retail portfolio, but they also give us a tiny glimpse into the success of Albertsons. We look at how pet-related sales are helping TSC’s revenues, how O’Reilly might have hit the brakes on the auto parts skid, and why Aaron’s might be hoping for an economic downturn. Our sponsor for this podcast is Lightspeed’s speaker series; find out more at