Content about Editorial

March 4, 2014

Think brick-and-mortar retail is doomed in an increasingly digital world? Visit Sephora, where consumers line up to sample the dizzying array of beauty products. Watch as a bunch of excited kids go through the rounds at Build-A-Bear-Workshop. Listen as a pharmacist at Walgreens gives some advice to a harried mom whose kids are coming down with something. Stop in at H-E-B, Whole Foods Market or some other great supermarket and breathe in the tantalizing aromas. Fool around with the latest gadgets at Apple or one of the new generation of AT&T and Verizon stores.

January 7, 2014

Increased immersion in technology — and increased questions about its effect on people’s lives and privacy. A rise in consumer expectations for speed. A shift to a visual vocabulary and the rise of telepathic technology. These, according to one trend forecast, will be among the main drivers of consumer behavior in 2014.

August 27, 2013

In retail, as in life, experience is everything. Whether it’s online, on a smartphone or in the store, it really doesn’t make a difference. A bad experience will turn off customers, while a good one will build brand advocates. It’s always been like that, of course. But today’s technology-enabled shoppers have changed the rules of the game by upping the stakes considerably.

March 15, 2013

Is it just me, or does it seem like the past two months or so have seen an unusually high level of turnover at the top? It's gotten so that you need a scorecard to keep up with all the comings and goings, as chief executives are forced out, jump ship, retire or move on.

This year's changing of the guard is bittersweet because it includes the retirement of two veteran retailers, Steve Burd of Safeway and Maxine Clark of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

November 27, 2012

Uptown, downtown and all over town, New York had an influx of new stores during the past 12 months. While it was hard narrowing down the choices, here’s my annual 10 Best list:

• C. Wonder: The brand’s second Manhattan location is even more whimsical and colorful than the first. With decor that includes polka-dot horses, multicolored striped zebras and 6-ft. logo teddy bears, the 8,000-sq.-ft. store personifies C. Wonder’s fun, upbeat personality. (Shops at Columbus Circle, 18 Columbus Circle)

October 25, 2012

As we head into November, I find myself inundated with holiday surveys, with experts weighing in on everything from the busiest shopping days of the season to the impact of smartphones. To be honest, all of the data seem to blend together after a while, leaving me dizzy with projections and predictions.

September 21, 2012

The leaves haven’t even turned yet in my part of the country, but the holiday onslaught is already well under way. Specifically, the annual deluge of forecasts and predictions as retail consultants, analysts, economists and others try to read the tea leaves with regards to the upcoming holiday season.

September 19, 2012

Whole Foods seems to have figured out that a mall setting shouldn’t be a real estate deterrent. In fact, it might be a real asset.

Whole Foods seems to have figured out that a mall setting shouldn’t be a real estate deterrent. In fact, it might be a real asset.

The grocer has been stretching its site-selection wings over the last couple of years, but has positively taken flight with its latest opening – a 32,000-sq.-ft. store at the Fashion Island regional shopping center in Orange County, Calif.

August 15, 2012

The Annual State of the Industry Report is the centerpiece of this issue of Chain Store Age, and it’s a great read. It’s also very timely.

May 24, 2012

As retailers and shopping center executives returned to their respective home bases following their biggest show of the year – RECon – they did so with talk of recovery echoing in their ears.

Las Vegas -- As retailers and shopping center executives returned to their respective home bases following their biggest show of the year – RECon – they did so with talk of recovery echoing in their ears.

This year’s event – the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon convention, held May 20-23 in Las Vegas – was a platform for discussions about expansion and freer capital, albeit tempered by what industry experts are calling a new discipline in the way we all do business.

May 17, 2012

Does J.C. Penney have time on its side? Or to put it another way: How long will investors wait for J.C. Penney’s transformation? Because, based on the chain’s awful first quarter, it doesn’t appear to have even taken root yet. I’m not surprised.

Does J.C. Penney have time on its side? Or to put it another way: How long will investors wait for J.C. Penney’s transformation? Because, based on the chain’s awful first quarter, it doesn’t appear to have even taken root yet. I’m not surprised.

May 9, 2012

That’s not a bad headline leading into RECon 2012 next week in Las Vegas. Not that I can take credit for the verbiage; “Regional malls alive and kicking” is a report issued by SNL Real Estate, Charlottesville, Va.

According to SNL’s information, despite stalled growth in household income, regional malls have held their own, boosted by ongoing consumer interest in luxury items. In fact, occupancy levels at domestic regional malls owned by U.S. REITs moved to 93.2% by the end of 2011, from 91% at the end of 2009. That’s recovery for you.

April 5, 2012

First, who said technology coverage has little to do with retail real estate commentary?

First, who said technology coverage has little to do with retail real estate commentary?

And second, who said the Millennials aren’t wise beyond their years?

For the record, I never said either.

February 22, 2012

How much is a brand worth? If the brand in question happens to be Walmart, the answer is an eye-popping $139 billion, according to Interbrand Design Forum’s ranking of the top 50 U.S. retail brands by brand value. The study calculates the financial net worth of retail brands based on three metrics: the brand’s financial performance, the role the brand plays in driving consumer selection, and the ability of the brand to secure the delivery of expected future earnings.

January 10, 2012

Well, the holidays are finally over and the verdict is in: Retailers reported a 3.5% year-over-year sales increase in December — that’s better than I thought we would see — and a 3.3% increase overall for the season.

Well, the holidays are finally over and the verdict is in: Retailers reported a 3.5% year-over-year sales increase in December — that’s better than I thought we would see — and a 3.3% increase overall for the season. While slightly more than some analysts anticipated (myself included!), it wasn’t the happiest holiday for everyone. Certain sectors (electronics) and brands (Macy’s, Nordstrom) did better than expected, while others (Target and J.C. Penney) did worse.

December 6, 2011

From charming boutiques to sleek global flagships, the New York retail scene was rocked by an influx of newcomers this past year. So many, in fact, that it was hard narrowing down the choices for my annual 10 Best list. After much deliberation, here are my picks:

October 27, 2011

The fashion and retail blogospheres went into overdrive with complaints about how Target botched the launch of its latest and exclusive limited time collection, Missoni for Target.

The fashion and retail blogospheres went into overdrive with complaints about how Target botched the launch of its latest and exclusive limited time collection, Missoni for Target. And shoppers across the nation took to Facebook, Twitter and other sites to share their frustrations. The folks who seemed to be the most put-out were those who ordered goods online.  After experiencing long delays and going through any number of hurdles before they were even able to place an order, many are now being told that their orders would be delayed or, even worse, canceled.

August 22, 2011

If you’re peeking at the news between slats in your fingers, scared to see where the S&P 500 sits or what’s happening with the NASDAQ, the Dow and the price of oil, you’re quite obviously not alone.

If you’re peeking at the news between slats in your fingers, scared to see where the S&P 500 sits or what’s happening with the NASDAQ, the Dow and the price of oil, you’re quite obviously not alone. Each day is a frightening new one, and no one – not even economists – are quite sure what’s going to happen next.

August 22, 2011

The annual State of the Industry Report takes the spotlight in this issue of Chain Store Age, and it makes for some terrific — and illuminating — reading. It’s chock full of great insights and fascinating updates from around the globe. 


June 20, 2011

For a couple of years running, I devoted my July column to a summer retail-reading list.

For a couple of years running, I devoted my July column to a summer retail-reading list. But over time, the new books seemed more or less interchangeable with the ones from the previous year, so I moved on. 


This summer, I decided to bring back the annual list. I did so because of two titles that caught my eye. Literally. On a surface glance, they couldn’t be more different. But each is fascinating in its own way — and each addresses some very timely concerns. So start reading — it’s already July!


June 20, 2011

My husband loves Apple. In fact, I cannot remember one single trip to Mall of Louisiana (Baton Rouge) that hasn’t included a stop-in at the Apple store.

My husband loves Apple. In fact, I cannot remember one single trip to Mall of Louisiana (Baton Rouge) that hasn’t included a stop-in at the Apple store. There, he plays with the gadgets -- iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, iMacs, iPods -- and wanders the store, as content to browse the high-tech aisles as I am to shop the designer shoe department at Dillard’s.

April 19, 2011

I’m not much of a follower of astrology and the signs of the zodiac, but I do know that 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit on the Chinese calendar.

It seems somehow fortuitous that speed and agility define a year that is all about economic recovery. And retail is moving forward at a rate that, while not exactly hare-like, is at least faster than the proverbial tortoise.

March 7, 2011

A flurry of good news during the past several months has given the retail industry newfound confidence that the worst is finally behind them.

A flurry of good news during the past several months has given the retail industry newfound confidence that the worst is finally behind them. They aren’t the only ones. At press time came word that U.S. consumer confidence had risen to its highest level in three years, coming in at 77.5 on the closely watched Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan overall index on consumer sentiment. That’s up from 74.2 in January, and is the highest reading since January 2008. 


October 31, 2010

Smart retailers learned an important lesson during the economic downturn, one that also will...

Smart retailers learned an important lesson during the economic downturn, one that also will serve them well as they plan long term: Excellence in operations can be an important competitive advantage.

“Store operations issues are always important, but in the unprecedented economic conditions experienced over the last 18 months, these issues became critical to survival,” said Dean Hillier, a partner at the global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

September 30, 2010

Smarter. Leaner. Cautiously optimistic. That’s the picture of the retail industry that emerges from...