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.


Retail Focus 6/3/17 – Walmart’s Bold New Last-Mile Plan, the Dollar Express Saga Continues

June 4, 2017

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet leads our show as they once again surpass expectations in many financial categories. We then explore Sycamore Partner’s claims against Family Dollar and Dollar Tree after Dollar Express failed to achieve independence before looking at an ambitious new last-mile delivery plan Walmart unveils at their annual shareholders’ meeting—and the kinks that they may need to smooth out prior to nationwide adoption.


Retail Focus 5/27/17 – New Strategy Produces Positive Results at The Container Store & Best Buy

May 28, 2017

We begin the show by addressing notable earnings from The Container Store, as they beat analyst expectations on the back of strategic changes. The same seems to be taking place at Best Buy, and we discuss exactly how they continue to grow most segments of their business. Additionally, we discuss proposed SNAP changes and their possible effects on retailers, and how Lowe’s latest earnings report really wasn’t as bad as the market made it out to be.


Retail Focus 5/20/17 – Two Mall Retailers See Sales Growth, Home Depot Builds Future Expectations

May 20, 2017

We go beyond the clickbait headlines about the death of mall retail to find two mall retailers who continue to have success in Old Navy and Foot Locker, and find out why the market may have overreacted to earnings from the latter. We also take on Home Depot’s continued success and their future path to growth, new strategic initiatives at Target, and the tale of two off-price retailers going in different directions.


Retail Focus 5/13/17 – Wayfair’s Sales Numbers Increase, Mother’s Day & Retail

May 14, 2017

Despite remaining unprofitable, Wayfair’s top line sales increased during the last quarter, and we take a glance at initiatives that might drive future profitability. We cover department store earnings with Macy’s and JCP, another bankruptcy in the grocery space, Whole Foods’ attempt to get back on track, and how Mother’s Day as a holiday impacts retail.


Retail Focus 5/6/17 – Lumber Liquidators Bounces Back Slightly, Floor & Décor’s IPO

May 7, 2017

After a rough last two years, Lumber Liquidators shows signs of a bounce back but is still experiencing bottom-line struggles. A major LL competitor in Floor & Décor cashes in on a rare retail-related IPO, while Coach gives the premium retail segment good news. We close with news of Central Grocers’ bankruptcy and a potential market overreaction to Tuesday Morning’s earnings.


Retail Focus 4/29/17 – Rumors Surround Whole Foods, How 99¢ Only Stores Can Reduce Costs

April 30, 2017

We begin by connecting the dots surrounding the speculation regarding a possible Albertsons-Whole Foods deal, and assessing whether Kroger have their eyes on Whole Foods instead. With earnings season kicking off, we cover three reports—O’Reilly’s Auto, 99¢ Only Stores, and Supervalu—and discuss successes and challenges for each.


Retail Focus 4/21/17 – GNC’s Turnaround Slower than Expected, Target’s New Partnership

April 22, 2017

Investors and analysts balk somewhat at GNC’s slower-than-anticipated turnaround and lackluster e-commerce sales—we take a closer look at the struggles “One New GNC” will need to overcome. Later, we discuss Target’s new partnership with Accompany, Bass Pro/Cabela’s acquisition news, Kate Spade’s continued look for a buyer, and a U.S.-based footwear company that is exploding internationally.


Retail Focus 4/14/17 – Toys “R” Us Becomes More Efficient, Looking Ahead in Gaming Retail

April 14, 2017

Although the headlines dwell on reduced sales for Toys “R” Us, we find ways in which the retailer appears positioned for continued organizational improvement. We also discuss merger and acquisition news from the beauty and grocery sectors, and a disappointing first quarter for Tractor Supply. Our interview guest (ThatOneAndrew from Around the Gaming Block) joins us to discuss gaming retail dynamics, and why the Nintendo Switch may not be enough to save GameStop’s sales numbers.


Retail Focus 4/11/17 – 7-Eleven Grows Store Count Through Acquisition, More Walmart Layoffs

April 12, 2017

We begin with big news out of the convenience store space, as 7-Eleven’s parent company reaches an agreement to purchase over 1,100 retail locations from Sunoco. Meanwhile, Walmart follows through on more layoffs—this time in information systems—and Costco’s retail sales continue an upward trend.  We also discuss Rue21’s possible bankruptcy and Fanatics’ latest acquisition.


Retail Focus 3/31/17 – Ollie’s “Best Year Ever,” True Value Keeps Pace with the Giants

March 31, 2017

To start the show, we take on Ollie’s continued ability to beat analyst expectations, and whether the concept’s growth can be maintained in their next fiscal year. We discuss potential issues with Amazon’s various grocery programs and underlying numbers that serve as a cause for concern for RH before discussing how True Value’s unique store model enables them to keep up with Home Depot and Lowe’s.


Retail Focus 3/24/17 – Boutique Retailer francesca’s Surges, More Success at Five Below & Duluth

March 24, 2017

A rarity in the fashion and/or mall segment, francesca’s beats expectations in nearly every category during their latest earnings call. We discuss them and two other retailers continuing upward momentum in Five Below and Duluth Trading Company. We end our show with a glance at the rumor mill, as Albertsons may make a play for Sprouts Farmers Market and Payless may close a significant number of locations.


Retail Focus 3/18/17 – Analyzing Dollar General’s Year, Sporting Goods Retail with Dick’s and Hibbett

March 18, 2017

Dollar General exceeded expectations, and we begin this week’s show by discussing reasons why possible “price war” effects on DG may be overblown. We discuss troubled times at Christopher & Banks and Pottery Barn, and surging sales at West Elm. Finally, we discuss new sporting goods retail initiatives by Dick’s and Hibbett Sports.


Retail Focus 3/13/17 – Three Retailers Struggling in Different Ways; Gordman’s Bankruptcy

March 14, 2017

We delve into the stories of three struggling retailers, and in what ways the troubles of Sears Holdings, Staples, and Express differ—and whether better times are ahead for any of the three. Better times are not ahead for off-price chain Gordman’s, who will most likely liquidate…we discuss them along with yet more news from the proposed Walgreen’s-Rite Aid deal.