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).

Retail Focus 9/29/18 – Bed Bath & Beyond Falls Flat; the Changing Dynamics of Fulfillment

Bed Bath & Beyond takes a step back in terms of sales, but management hopes doing so will set them up for future probability--we discuss this as well as the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association's annual report about what we can expect to see in 2019 from a retail maintenance perspective. After our interview with Jennifer Sherman, SVP of Product & Strategy at Kibo (who discusses changing retail fulfillment dynamics), we talk a big move for Michael Kors and ascena retail group earnings. Our podcast is presented this week by AdRoll, the e-commerce growth platform (visit for more information).

Retail Focus 9/22/18 – AutoZone Starts Next-Day Service; Potential Credit Card Fee Settlement

AutoZone takes center stage on our podcast this week, with not only their fourth quarter earnings call but also the official unveiling of a next-day delivery program to 80% of the U.S. We also discuss Deloitte's bullish holiday retail forecasts, the Amazon Go news from an anonymous source, and a potential credit card fee settlement for some--but not all--retailers. Our podcast is presented this week by Productsup, and AdRoll, the e-commerce growth platform (visit for more information).

Retail Focus 9/15/18 – Two Retail Pharmacy Moves; Training & Communication in Today’s Retail Workplace

Retail pharmacy hits the news in a big way this week, as a regional grocer exits pharmacy altogether and fred’s and Walgreens reach an agreement. We also discuss Target’s seasonal hiring plans, GameStop, and Tailored Brands’ latest earnings. This week’s interview guest is Matt MacInnis, CEO and co-founder of Inkling, who discusses the changing world of retail training and workplace communication. Our podcast is presented this week by, Productsup, and AdRoll, the e-commerce growth platform.

Retail Focus 9/8/18 – RH Profits From New Direction, Five Below Does It Again, Treats at PetSmart

We begin with two of our favorite retailers, as Five Below once again defies analyst expectations and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet continues to see positive comp growth. From there, we take a deep dive into RH’s efforts to boost margins and appeal to the high-end consumer once more, and look at PetSmart’s new rewards program. Our podcast is presented this week by and Productsup; visit to book a meeting with Productsup at

Retail Focus 8/31/18 – BJ’s First Post-IPO Call, Good Times In Footwear Retail

After noting BJ’s Wholesale’s first earnings call since their IPO this summer, we discuss California-based retailer Tilly’s, and how they’ve turned around their e-commerce platform. We briefly touch on Dick’s Sporting Goods, and then break into shoe retail with DSW’s Canadian initiatives and Shoe Carnival’s endeavors to leverage their brand. Our podcast is presented this week by and Productsup; visit to book a meeting with Productsup at

Retail Focus 8/25/18 –Target, TJX, & Kohl’s Crush Earnings; 2018 Shopper First Retailing Report

We begin the show with two companies that killed earnings in their own way in Target and Kohl’s, and discuss off-price in a later news segment with the latest from TJX and a suddenly resurgent Tuesday Morning. Our interview guests are Rick Kenney of Salesforce and Hilding Anderson of Publicis.Sapient, whose firms collaborated on the 2018 Shopper First Retailing Report, available at Our podcast is brought to you this week by