Retail Focus 3/9/19 – Target & Kroger Earnings; Dollar Tree’s Family Dollar Question

A big earnings week for the retail world, and we discuss how Target is bearing fruits from their trials two years ago, while Kroger is hoping to bear fruits in two years from their trials today. We also discuss the state of airport retail after a superb Retail Dive article on the subject, what Dollar Tree could or should do with Family Dollar, and whether Walmart’s new returns initiative might actually take hold.

Retail Focus 3/2/19 – JCPenney and Lowe’s Beat Slightly on Earnings; An Upstart Dallas-Based Retailer

After talking about two brief stories—Amazon’s new grocery concept and Gap’s plan to spin Old Navy off—we dive into JCPenney’s latest earnings and initiatives under new CEO Jill Soltau. We then turn attention to JCPenney’s former CEO (Marvin Ellison) and his latest earnings call at Lowe’s before looking at a potential up-and-coming retailer from the Dallas area seeking to expand. We close our show by peering at how earnings from one pet food company may suggest people are changing their pet-related buying habits.

Retail Focus 2/21/19 – Walmart Earnings; Advance Auto’s Place in Auto Parts Retail

We discuss Walmart’s latest earnings, along with their initiatives on the table for 2019, to lead the show. Then, it’s a deep dive into Advance Auto Parts—despite their comp store sales going up, we revisit how they seem to be losing market share to their two main competitors. We close by discussing Samsung’s retail foray, a retail-centric REIT, and the long-term potential of CVS.

Retail Focus 2/15/19 – Clarity on Sears Deal, JCPenney Pivots Away from Appliances

A few weeks after an initial deal, we get clarity on Eddie Lampert’s deal to save Sears—at least for now. We discuss Under Armour’s latest earnings call, which largely beat analyst expectations but left something to be desired in U.S. sales figures. From there, we discuss JCPenney’s big move, an abrupt about-face for Amazon’s HQ2 in New York, and a potential slew of store closings from Payless that may have a ripple effect on retail real estate.

Retail Focus 2/5/19 – Amazon Continues to Invest; Simon Shows Mall Trend Isn’t All Downward

We lead with Amazon—because we have to—but from there it is on to discussing Simon and their most recent occupancy rates numbers. Then, we discuss Tuesday Morning’s second straight positive earnings call and their potential return to long-term profitability, and Mastercard’s record-breaking numbers. We close by looking ahead at potential H&M store closures and Natural Grocers’ choice to open stores in less-populated areas.

Retail Focus 1/28/19 – Signet Jewelers May Scale Back, Big 5 Shows Signs of Rebound

In an area of retail we don’t discuss often, Signet Jewelers updates holiday sales, and the poor showing leads to management suggestions regarding scaling back brick-and-mortar. From there, positive signs at Big 5 Sporting Goods after a strong December sales showing, and a potential bankruptcy at Things Remembered. We wrap up with fresh credit card data, Shopko’s pharmacy suitors, and Google Express. Our podcast is brought to you by Blinkist—start a free seven day trial by visiting

Retail Focus 1/15/19 – Sears Gets Another Short Lease on Life; Early December Sales Results

We begin with an abrupt about-face in the retail news cycle, as Sears Holdings goes from doomed to liquidation to still alive (just barely) in the span of a few days. From there, it’s on to early December sales tallies for Kohl’s and Macy’s, earnings for Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sprouts seeking to expand their footprint by three more markets.

Retail Focus 1/7/19 – Mall Occupancy Rates Stabilize; Fleet Farm Heads West In Expansion

In a podcast looking largely at macro trends, we discuss a retail real estate report that suggests that mall occupancy rates are stabilizing heading into 2019, and the potential impact of a slew of minimum wage increases. After discussing Amazon/Whole Foods, we take a deep dive into Fleet Farm’s westward expansion, and their buildout of existing stores to include new product categories.

Retail Focus 12/31/18 – Early Holiday Sales Numbers; Top 5 & Bottom 5 Retailers of 2018

In our final podcast of the year, we detail early numbers from Mastercard that suggest holiday sales may have been even better than estimates. We spend the bulk of the episode counting down our picks for the top five and bottom five retailers in terms of 2018 performance, before covering a potential shift in retail real estate purchasing habits with interest rates rising.

Retail Focus 12/21/18 – Costco’s Margins; the State of Dairy in Retail; Designing a New Grocery Store

We begin with Costco, whose earnings call revealed continued growth but was not up to analyst expectations by the slimmest of margins. Additionally, we talk a notable purchase in the pet retail space and the state of dairy in retail stores in 2018. Our interview guest is Kevin Kelley of Shook Kelley, who was responsible for leading up the design of the newest Gelson’s Markets store in California.

Retail Focus 12/8/18 – Shopko Shrinks; Kroger’s Non-Food Initiatives; Michaels Earnings

Shopko leads off our show, as the regional general merchandise retailer announces a slew of closings…we discuss what this means for both the company and rural retail in general. We talk earnings from At Home and Michaels, and do a deep dive into Kroger’s many initiatives to boost margins even after price investments on the food side threaten to erode their bottom line. Finally, we look ahead to a change of leadership at Sprouts and whether or not ESL Investments can save Sears.

Retail Focus 12/1/18 – Increased Trucking Costs Snare Ross & Dollar Tree; Cyber Monday Numbers

We begin the show with two earnings calls—first Dollar Tree, to see if potential rising costs of goods might pose a risk to their future bottom line, then Ross, to see how they are stacking up against their off-price competition. From there, we look to early Cyber Monday data from Edison Trends to see which businesses saw a boost over last year (hint: Sears did not), and fresh data from YouGov that suggests a positive change in perception surrounding Victoria’s Secret.

Retail Focus 11/23/18 – Black Friday Edition with Target, Best Buy, and Retail Data Dives

For this special Black Friday edition of the Retail Focus Podcast, we look into Target and Best Buy earnings, as Layton visited both retailers during the shopping rush and endeavors to discuss implementation of management initiatives. We also talk Kroger’s new warehouse plans with Ocado, and are joined by Cardlytics CMO Dani Cushion and CBRE Senior Economic Advisor Spencer Levy, each of whom discuss their firm’s respective retail holiday data reports.

Retail Focus 11/17/18 – Legacy Department Store Earnings; Walmart Impresses Again

We stick to legacy retailers to begin this podcast, as Macy’s and JCPenney both release earnings, with one a bit in front of the other in their turnaround execution. Walmart crushes it again, to no one’s surprise—but how long can they keep up their e-commerce growth? We also discuss more layoffs (and struggles) by way of Blue Apron, and a precursor to bankruptcy for David’s Bridal. Our podcast is brought to you by Blinkist; visit for a seven-day free trial.

Retail Focus 11/12/18 – More Black Friday Plans Revealed; No Celebrations At Party City

After looking at GNC’s seeming lack of progress in terms of driving sales, we take a glance at Walmart and Target’s recently revealed Black Friday brick-and-mortar plans. From there, we discuss why Party City threw the wrong kind of surprise party after tariffs and attempted inventory controls handcuffed their retail side during the third quarter. Finally, we briefly mention Amazon’s big announcement (which broke towards the end of our recording) and more holiday shopping projections.

Retail Focus 11/3/18 – Sam’s Club Goes Cashier-Less; Hibbett Sports Attempts City Gear Purchase

We begin this week’s podcast with news from Dallas surrounding details of Sam’s Club’s latest attempt at new store technology with the rollout of a new, smaller, cashier-less pilot location. From there, we look at the how and why of Hibbett’s attempted acquisition of City Gear, Retail Properties of America’s recent earnings call, and reasons why Lumber Liquidators now can’t seem to get out of their own way.

Retail Focus 10/27/18 – Amazon Finds Increased Profitability, Tractor Supply Crushes Earnings

Amazon released earnings to much fanfare this week, and despite market negativity, we find reasons on the retail side to be pleasantly surprised by the call. We break down Agree Realty, who discloses plans to purchase and develop even more retail properties in the next 12 months. Additionally, CVS-Aetna gets a tentative go-ahead, and Tractor Supply Company looks to e-commerce and product selection to blister past expectations. Our podcast is presented this week by Blinkist.

Retail Focus 10/20/18 – REITs’ Plans for Vacated Sears Locations, Walmart & Advance Team Up

After Sears’ announcement this week, both Kimco and CBL waste no time in discussing their plans for the Sears Holdings locations remaining in their real estate portfolios. From there, we discuss The Tile Shop’s latest earnings call (and why analysts are concerned about tariff impacts on the company) and Sonic’s potential final earnings call as a public company. We wrap up our show with Walmart, who announced a new partnership with Advance Auto Parts and also revealed plans for saving money with—of all things—floor wax. Our podcast is presented this week by AdRoll, the e-commerce growth platform (visit for more information).

Retail Focus 10/14/18 – Dominoes Finally Fall at Sears Holdings, C-Store Purchasing Trends

The story we’ve been anticipating for over two years finally comes to fruition, as Sears Holdings headed into the weekend on a crash course with bankruptcy. In more positive news, we discuss Walgreens’ earnings beat and Walmart’s Canadian investment. Additionally, we dive into a c-store trends report from Koupon Insights. Our podcast is presented this week by Blinkist and AdRoll, the e-commerce growth platform (visit for more information).

Retail Focus 10/8/18 – Costco Makes E-Commerce Strides; Stitch Fix Shows a Profit

We begin with Costco, who showed impressive fourth quarter e-commerce growth against a backdrop of rising wages. From there, we cover two struggling retailers seeking answers--Mattress Firm and Barnes & Noble. We finish by discussing Stitch Fix, who showed remarkable growth (and a profit) in their fourth quarter and unveiled a few new initiatives for their next fiscal year. Our podcast is presented this week by Blinkist and AdRoll, the e-commerce growth platform (visit for more information).