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


Retail Focus 7/21/17 – Jana Partners Earns Big Payday, the Role of the Dietitian in Grocery Retail

July 21, 2017

After first discussing Lidl’s response to Kroger’s trademark infringement lawsuit, we turn our attention to activist investor Jana Partners, who sells off their stake in Whole Foods at a handsome profit. We take on a recall at Justice and liquor delivery for Meijer after our interview with Leah McGrath, Corporate Dietitian at Ingles Markets, who discusses the evolving role of the retail dietitian. Our sponsor for this podcast is Lightspeed’s speaker series; find out more at


Retail Focus 7/14/17 – Obligatory Prime Day Coverage, the “French Girl” Trope in U.S. Retail

July 14, 2017

Aside from looking into numbers from Amazon’s most recent Prime Day, we take a glance at the ripples it made throughout the e-commerce world, boosting sales at other online retailers as well. We discuss the potential of a True Value sale, Albertsons’ delayed IPO, back-to-school retail dynamics, and are joined by Racked senior writer Eliza Brooke, who discusses her recent article about the prevalence of the “French Girl” in U.S. retail.


Retail Focus 7/7/17 – Quiktrip Expands, Kroger’s Lawsuit, Drawing Families Back to the Mall

July 7, 2017

Convenience store operator Quiktrip announces their largest round of expansion in some time, entering into the Austin and San Antonio markets.  We discuss this and the potential eight-point test judges may use in the trademark violation case brought against Lidl by Kroger. Our interview guest is KidZania’s U.S. CEO Keith Rubenstein, who talks of the company’s goal to fuel traffic increases in malls through experiential learning opportunities for youth.


Retail Focus 6/30/17 – Clarity on Rite Aid-Walgreens, Building an Energy-Positive Retail Store

July 1, 2017

After over 18 months of waiting, we finally get a new Rite Aid-Walgreens deal altogether--and fred’s gets left out of the mix.  We discuss Target’s trial run of next-day delivery, Staples’ potential deal to go private, and Pier 1 Imports earnings as well. Our interview guest is Aaron Moulton, Director of Design at TreeHouse, who joins us to discuss the construction and opening of the first energy-positive retail location in the U.S.


Retail Focus 6/23/17 – Walmart & Amazon Duke It Out, The State Of Retail Labor in U.S

June 23, 2017

Walmart and Amazon appear to be at odds again, as Walmart reportedly places pressure on vendors to move away from AWS platforms. We discuss that, another sporting goods retail rescue, and possibilities of a REIT spinoff at Hudson’s Bay. Our interview guest is Sarah Jaffe, who published an extensive article on this week regarding the current state of the U.S. retail employee.


Retail Focus 6/16/17 – Pundits Lose Minds Over Amazon-Whole Foods, Another Walmart Acquisition

June 17, 2017

We lead off our show with perhaps the biggest story in retail so far in 2017, as Amazon acquires Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion dollar deal. As we wade through the hyperbole, we assess Kroger’s tough week (at least on the stock market) and Walmart’s new e-commerce acquisition in Bonobos. Our interview guest is Mlive business reporter Shandra Martinez, who sheds light on Meijer’s new small footprint store concept in Grand Rapids.


Retail Focus 6/9/17 – Why Market May Be Misguided On Duluth, At Home Blitzes Expectations

June 9, 2017

Although the stock market hammered Duluth Trading Co. earlier this week, we take a deep glance into why there are still plenty of reasons for optimism surrounding the up-and-coming retailer. At Home storms past expectations and reveals their future brick and mortar growth plans, Tailored Brands releases financials that aren’t as bad as expected, and Nordstrom explores possibilities of going private.