It begins as a podcast of positivity, with Target and Kohl’s both releasing holiday sales updates that outpace most expectations. In addition, Kohl’s looks to repurpose some square footage, Sam’s Club’s reasons for shuttering 63 stores seem suspect, and Five Below displays same-store gains. We also take a deep dive into one state’s retail real estate report, which provides several surprises and also some optimism for brick-and-mortar.
After starting with a note about Walgreens’ most recent earnings call, we launch into our annual year-in-review episode. We count down our rankings of the five most- and least-successful retailers of 2017, and hear from frequent podcast guests about their own lists. In closing, we briefly discuss even more closings for Sears Holdings, and what we see as positive holiday sales numbers for JCPenney.
We begin with the most optimistic retail news of the week: several surveys find that 2017 might be the most robust holiday shopping season in several years. Meanwhile, Home Depot makes one acquisition and eyes another, Kroger continues project rollouts, and Hobby Lobby inks several notable real estate deals. Our guest is BIM Networks CEO Adam Frisch, who discusses who retailers can drive revenue using a payment processing system, all while reducing the burden of swipe fees and processing charges.
After taking a look at some of Bed Bath and Beyond’s seemingly contradictory initiatives, we are joined by Dani Cushion, CMO at Cardlytics, who discusses how their research suggests holiday spend of the last-minute shopper might be larger than meets the eye. Additionally, Justine Santa Cruz of Satisfi Labs joins to discuss Mall of America’s recent A.I. investment, and we glance at the latest surrounding the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy.
The big retail news this week is Target’s agreement to purchase grocery delivery service Shipt, and we discuss the knowns and the yet-unknowns from the deal. C-store giant Casey’s continues to grow despite disappointing earnings, and GGP shoots down a potential acquisition bid. Our guest is Rebecca Herson, VP of Marketing at Anodot, who discusses the costly nature of glitches on e-commerce sites, and ways in which sites can minimize the resulting damage.
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 Reputation.com, who discuss their recently released study on retail brands’ reputation amongst consumers.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Shop.org, 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 Shop.org: Connecting Physical & Digital, Holiday Promotional Initiatives
In a podcast recorded live at Shop.org 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
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.
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.
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.
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.