The Retail Focus Podcast
Retail Focus 5/24/20 – JC Penney’s Potential Suitor; Walmart & BJ’s See Robust Q1

Retail Focus 5/24/20 – JC Penney’s Potential Suitor; Walmart & BJ’s See Robust Q1

May 24, 2020

We begin with JC Penney, as we discuss their recent bankruptcy filing and rumors that Amazon may be interested in part or all of the legacy retailer. From there, we look at the high sales from Walmart and Sam’s Club in Q1, followed by the even higher sales at BJ’s Wholesale Club. Finally, we bid farewell to Pier 1’s brick-and-mortar stores and look at a regional grocer in Missouri entering the natural grocery space through a former Lucky’s location.

Retail Focus 5/18/20 – Customers’ Spending Plans; the Review Culture & Retail

Retail Focus 5/18/20 – Customers’ Spending Plans; the Review Culture & Retail

May 20, 2020

In a special episode of the podcast, we’re joined by two interview guests. The first, Karl Haller, is the global lead for IBM’s Consumer Center of Competency. He’ll discuss IBM’s recent study that speaks to how consumers expect to spend in the coming months, and the changes that we can expect to see from retailers when we transition to a new normal. We’re also joined by Derek O’Carroll, CEO of Brightpearl, who talks about the rise of the review culture now that consumers are shopping via digital now more than ever, and what retailers can attempt to do to prevent negative reviews in the future. Finally, we look ahead to the news we’ll cover on the next podcast, including Walmart earnings.

Retail Focus 5/9/20 – Frozen Foods Star in Grocery Retail; Retail Rents Data from CBRE

Retail Focus 5/9/20 – Frozen Foods Star in Grocery Retail; Retail Rents Data from CBRE

May 10, 2020

We begin with a deep dive into an area of grocery that is oft ignored by media in frozen food—data from AFFI suggest that it might be a future area of opportunity for many retailers coming out of panic buying patterns. We also discuss Office Depot’s pleasantly surprising first quarter numbers, a snapshot from Connex regarding retail facilities maintenance, and a few updates from Kimco. Our interview guest is Meghann Martindale, the global head of retail research at CBRE, who talks about some of their most recent data regarding retail rents and traffic surrounding various types of retail centers.

Retail Focus 5/2/20 – Non-Essential Retailers Look to Reopen; eBay’s Earnings

Retail Focus 5/2/20 – Non-Essential Retailers Look to Reopen; eBay’s Earnings

May 4, 2020

We spend the first half of the show discussing the reopening plans for several non-essential retailers who must now strike a tenuous balance while following local regulations. Additionally, eBay releases their earnings, Walmart unveils an accelerated last mile plan, and Forrester projections cast a shadow. Our guest is Paul Cohen, the national sales director for CREXi, who discusses the current general state of retail real estate.

Retail Focus 4/26/20 – O’Reilly’s Comps Fall; Target’s Update; Personalization vs. Segmentation

Retail Focus 4/26/20 – O’Reilly’s Comps Fall; Target’s Update; Personalization vs. Segmentation

April 27, 2020

We start with our quarterly check-up on the auto parts retail sector; while O’Reilly's sales went up organizationally, they saw comps fall as a result of stay-at-home orders. We also discuss a potential fallout of the deal between Sycamore Partners and L Brands, Target’s latest business update, and retailers taking a pass on paying rent. Our interview guest is Nicole Amsler, VP of Marketing at Formation, who discusses, among other things, the difference between personalization and segmentation and how retailers seeing a flood of traffic during stay-at-home orders can maintain top-of-mind awareness.

Retail Focus 4/20/20 – Rite Aid’s Recent Numbers, the State of Consumer Behavior in 2020

Retail Focus 4/20/20 – Rite Aid’s Recent Numbers, the State of Consumer Behavior in 2020

April 21, 2020

We hit the ground running with Rite Aid, whose earnings call gave us a look into the potential momentum they are seeing through the first few months of the year, even if their bottom line looks less than stellar. We also discuss Neiman Marcus’ saga, a partnership between a footwear retailer and a regional grocer, and Bed Bath & Beyond selling One Kings Lane. Our interview guest is Bobby Marhamat, CEO of Raydiant, who discusses their report on the state of consumer behavior in 2020.

Retail Focus 4/13/20 – Grocery Developments; Tractor Supply Co. Sales; Running a Dispensary During COVID-19

Retail Focus 4/13/20 – Grocery Developments; Tractor Supply Co. Sales; Running a Dispensary During COVID-19

April 14, 2020

Grocery is on everyone’s minds right now, and we cover four grocery-centric stories from the past week to lead the show. We also discuss Tractor Supply Company’s first quarter sales updates, Whole Foods running behind, and potential positives and negatives surrounding the immediate future of retail garden centers. Our interview guest is Kristine Aslanyan, manager of the Good Dispensary in Mesa, Arizona, who discusses the complexities of running a dispensary during COVID-19 restrictions.

Retail Focus 4/5/20 – Sales Updates From Dollar Tree; Tools for Dispensaries in the COVID-19 Era

Retail Focus 4/5/20 – Sales Updates From Dollar Tree; Tools for Dispensaries in the COVID-19 Era

April 6, 2020

We get an intriguing update from Dollar Tree this week regarding sales at both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar through March. We look through those details and discuss potential supply chain issues in the dairy and produce industries and why they may impact retail stores during panic buying. Our interview guest is DataOwl co-founder Dan Hirsch, who joins us to discuss the current landscape in dispensary sales, as well as some unique tools that dispensaries are using to serve their customers in a time of both heightened and relaxed restrictions.

Retail Focus 3/30/20 – Consumer Trends in the Age of COVID-19; Retail Layoffs & Furloughs

Retail Focus 3/30/20 – Consumer Trends in the Age of COVID-19; Retail Layoffs & Furloughs

March 31, 2020

As we fight to keep up with the now rapid-fire changes in the retail landscape, we start our show with retailers releasing information on what consumer purchase trends look like in the era of coronavirus. From there, we discuss the disappointing (but likely inevitable) news of retail furloughs and layoffs, what the CARES Act may mean for small retailers, and how consumer (and retail real estate) attitudes may change once all is said and done.

Retail Focus 3/22/20 – Writing for E-Commerce; Where Does Retail Go From Here?

Retail Focus 3/22/20 – Writing for E-Commerce; Where Does Retail Go From Here?

March 24, 2020

In this free-flowing episode, we scrap the rundown and discuss observations surrounding the drastically altered retail landscape, as well as retailers that stand to potentially improve their image post-coronavirus. Our interview guest is Karly Caylor, a performance content writer at VMLY&R, who discusses the research and approach necessary to effectively write for an e-commerce site.

Retail Focus 3/8/20 – Coronavirus & Retail; Dollar Tree’s Initiatives, the Importance of Q1 Customers

Retail Focus 3/8/20 – Coronavirus & Retail; Dollar Tree’s Initiatives, the Importance of Q1 Customers

March 9, 2020

We begin the show discussing the potential impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on retail, including our discussion with retail store managers and what we’ve heard on various earnings calls. From there, we discuss Costco’s latest earnings, Dollar Tree’s goals for 2020 surrounding different initiatives, and Kroger’s Q4 call. Our interview guest is Cardlytics CMO Dani Cushion, who discusses their data that suggests customers that come back to a retailer in Q1 could be the most important.

Retail Focus 3/1/20 – Home Depot Gears Up for Spring; the State of Gift Cards in Retail

Retail Focus 3/1/20 – Home Depot Gears Up for Spring; the State of Gift Cards in Retail

March 2, 2020

Home Depot leads the show, after they release not only earnings but some interesting merchandising initiatives for their outdoor product lines. We also discuss the new Amazon Go Grocery store and Lumber Liquidators’ year-end earnings report. Our interview guest is Alex Barseghian, author and former head of retail for Blackhawk Network, who joins us to discuss the current state of gift cards in retail and some developments to keep a watchful eye on over the next year-plus.

Retail Focus 2/23/20 – The Year That Was for Walmart; 360° Photography on E-Commerce Sites

Retail Focus 2/23/20 – The Year That Was for Walmart; 360° Photography on E-Commerce Sites

February 23, 2020

As Walmart closes out their fiscal year, we take a look back at some of the initiatives they started during the last 12 months, and look at their sales forecasts for the next 12 months. Additionally, we discuss Floor & Décor’s dramatic growth plans, and how SpartanNash’s numbers suggest strengths in independent grocery. Our interview guest is Jeff Hunt, founder and CEO of Snap36, the leading provider of 360° product photography on major e-commerce sites, who discusses the logistics and technology behind their operations. Our sponsor is Start From Zero; check them out at startfromzero.com/retail.

Retail Focus 2/16/20 – Positive Signs at Food Lion & CVS; The Creation of Anchor Shops

Retail Focus 2/16/20 – Positive Signs at Food Lion & CVS; The Creation of Anchor Shops

February 16, 2020

We start with positive news from Ahold Delhaize (as Food Lion showcased solid comps) and CVS (as their front-store comps were up yet again). We also discuss the largest point-of-sale provider in the U.S. in NCR, Quiktrip’s expansion into Alabama, and the shuttering of Brandless. Our interview guests are Shlomo Chopp and Ryan Wolfe of ShopFulfill, who talk about the background behind Anchor Shops, a new brick-and-mortar retail concept and fulfillment mechanism developed to assist e-commerce pureplays and direct-to-consumer brands.

Retail Focus 2/9/20 – Boot Barn’s Continued Success; the Learning Curve for CBD & Retail

Retail Focus 2/9/20 – Boot Barn’s Continued Success; the Learning Curve for CBD & Retail

February 9, 2020

We begin with a rare deep dive on the latest from Boot Barn, as they ride their loyal customers to continued sales growth but are endeavoring to draw new customers through exclusive clothing lines. From there, it is on to Natural Grocers, Earth Wise, and pleasant numbers from Simon that show retailers in their malls may be busier than previously thought. Our interview guest is Colby McKenzie, Principal at Enlighten Wellness (enlightenwellness.io), who discusses the retailer and consumer education surrounding the introduction of CBD and alternative wellness products to stores.

Retail Focus 2/2/20 – Tanger Outlets’ High Occupancy; the Experience Economy & Retail

Retail Focus 2/2/20 – Tanger Outlets’ High Occupancy; the Experience Economy & Retail

February 2, 2020

After following up on the newly announced Lucky’s Market bankruptcy, we dive into reasons behind Tanger Outlets’ industry-leading high occupancy rates and whether they will continue into 2020. We also discuss Amazon’s earnings call, Stein Mart potentially going private, and Kohl’s commitment to smaller footprints. Our interview guest is Andrew Park, VP of CX Strategy at InMoment (inmoment.com), who joins us to discuss dynamics of the experience economy as it pertains to retail and gives case studies on why retailers should broaden their understanding of the customer experience.

Retail Focus 1/26/20 – Lucky’s Market Closures & Natural Foods Retail; Location-Based Retail Tech

Retail Focus 1/26/20 – Lucky’s Market Closures & Natural Foods Retail; Location-Based Retail Tech

January 27, 2020

We lead off with sad news from the natural food retail space, as Lucky’s Market announced closures of over 75% of their store base this week. After discussing potential ramifications, we move on to New York City’s new cash requirements for retail and food outlets, and Mars Retail Group announcing an expansion of their M&M’s retail concept. Our interview guest is Marianne Slamich, Head of Marketing at Pointr, who discusses their progress in bringing location-based retail technologies to U.S. retailers.

Retail Focus 1/19/20 – Gap Calls Off Split; Place-Based Retail & the Future of Sampling

Retail Focus 1/19/20 – Gap Calls Off Split; Place-Based Retail & the Future of Sampling

January 20, 2020

 A few big news stories headline our show, including Walmart’s continued rollout of robotics for both the back and front of the store, and Gap calling off their planned split of Old Navy. We also discuss Amazon’s backtrack regarding FedEx Ground, and an investigation at Best Buy. Our interview guest is Marci Weisler, Chief Commercial Officer of Vengo Labs, who discusses bringing retail to non-traditional retail locations and the future of in-store sampling as a retail marketing tool.

Retail Focus 1/13/20 – Mark Tritton’s Restoration Project; Using Effective Design to Re-Think Retail

Retail Focus 1/13/20 – Mark Tritton’s Restoration Project; Using Effective Design to Re-Think Retail

January 14, 2020

We start the show with holiday sales updates, which came out en masse last week. We talk in some depth about Mark Tritton’s first earnings call as Bed Bath & Beyond CEO, and we look at a deal that could enable grocer Save A Lot some flexibility as they search for stability. Our interview guest is Michael Hurst of Starch Creative (whatsyourstarch.com), who discusses the new frontier of retail design, including changing in-store layouts to have a more open dialogue with customers.

Retail Focus 12/29/19 – Annual Top & Bottom 5 Retailer List; Taking Market Share from Closing Stores

Retail Focus 12/29/19 – Annual Top & Bottom 5 Retailer List; Taking Market Share from Closing Stores

December 31, 2019

Although we cover some brief news from Amazon and Kroger, we spend the bulk of this episode ranking our top and bottom five retailers for calendar year 2019. Who makes the list for the first time, and who takes the number one spot? Our interview guest is Cardlytics CMO Dani Cushion, who joins us to talk the data behind taking market share from distressed or closing retailers.