Retail Focus 5/19/18 – Weather Cools Numbers of Three Retailers; Mother’s Day Spending

Three retail giants—Home Depot, JC Penney, and Walmart—all release earnings numbers and all blame the weather in mixed results. We break down the calls and a new Seattle law that may affect multiple retailers (besides Amazon, that is). Our guest is Cardlytics CMO Dani Cushion, who uses their massive amount of data as a backdrop to discuss dynamics surrounding Mother’s Day spending in the U.S.

Retail Focus 5/12/18 – Walmart Ends Lyft, Uber Trials; Communication in the Retail Workplace

After discussing Fossil’s ambivalent earnings, we dive into Walmart’s decision to conclude the last-mile trial partnerships with Lyft and Uber, and what it could mean for the likes of Postmates. We also talk beer market share and its impact on retail shelf space, and Papa John’s most recent quarter. Our interview guest is Stephen Wakeling of Phobio, who discusses best communication practices in today’s retail workplace.

Retail Focus 5/4/18 – A Splinter at Lumber Liquidators; Sending a Product to Retail Stores

We start with Lumber Liquidators’ less-than-impressive earnings, and discuss their continued company renovations—from there, it’s Yum!, and talking CVS after they hit a front store sales mark for only the second time in the past four years. Our interview guests are Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, founders of Barefoot Wine and authors of the New York Times bestseller The Barefoot Spirit (, who talk about the sometimes hidden process behind distributing and selling product to retail stores.

Retail Focus 4/27/18 – Another Robust Quarter at Sherwin-Williams; Amazon Earnings

We begin our show by once again looking at the state of the U.S. toy industry, this time through the lens of Hasbro, whose earnings showed immediate impact from Toys “R” Us closures. All is well at Sherwin-Williams, who despite reduced guidance once again saw a retail sales surge in their latest quarter. We discuss why more discretionary income is potentially a bad thing for rent-to-own retailer Aaron’s. And, we take a quick look at Amazon’s earnings—they broke right before the podcast recorded, and showcased record profits for the diverse company.

Retail Focus 4/20/18 – Positive March U.S. Retail Numbers; Pier 1 Attempts to Correct Course

The U.S. Census Bureau released retail sales numbers for March, and we discuss why they might be even rosier than most suggest. Not as rosy? Pier 1 Imports, whose disappointing fourth quarter earnings come alongside their annual investor day—we talk about their new initiatives to attempt to right the ship. Meanwhile, e-commerce native Brandless plans a pop-up store, and courts weigh sales tax collection by online retailers.

Retail Focus 4/13/18 – Bed Bath & Beyond Takes a Hit; Barnes & Noble’s Casual Dining Efforts

Bed Bath & Beyond takes it on the chin, as analysts find issue with their less-than-stellar fourth quarter. We discuss Walmart’s newest last-mile partnership, a new meatless burger at White Castle, and HOM Furniture’s concept and expansion plans. Our interview guest is Whitney Filloon, Eater Senior Associate Editor, who dives into Barnes & Noble’s recent efforts to use casual dining to bring traffic back to their struggling brick-and-mortar stores.

Retail Focus 4/6/18 – Ace Hardware’s Annual Report; INDOCHINO’s Growth Through Showrooms

Ace Hardware releases their annual report, and we comb through the big takeaways from the convenience home improvement operator. Additionally, we talk Sprouts’ endeavor into two new markets, Ollie’s earnings, and CBL’s plan to replace a Sears location in one of their properties. Our interview guest is Drew Green, CEO of INDOCHINO, who discusses his menswear company’s growth and continued foray into retail showrooms.

Retail Focus 3/30/18 – Big News in Retail Real Estate; Grocery Landscape Shifts in Southeast U.S.

GGP accepts what many see as a lower-end bid from Brookfield, altering the Class-A retail real estate landscape in the U.S. Also, Walgreens continues to struggle in front-of-store, as pharmacy sales pick up, Southeastern Grocers makes their bankruptcy official, and Lululemon beats estimates amid growing demand for women’s exercise apparel. Our interview guests discuss major changes in thrift retail, including what Goodwill is doing to boost e-commerce sales. We’re brought to you by the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition; visit and use the promo code RETAIL18 to get 10% off IRCE 2018 conference passes.

Retail Focus 3/23/18 – Big Announcements at Shoptalk; Evaluating Retail Social Media

A trio of companies—Walmart, Target, and Macy’s among others—make big announcements at Shoptalk, while FedEx earnings give us further insight on the 2017 holiday shopping season. Also, Five Below accelerates growth plans while boosting their bottom line. Our interview guests are Mark Lange and Jean-Francois Carton of, who discuss methods by which retailers can evaluate their social media presence. We’re brought to you by the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition; visit and use the promo code RETAIL18 to get 10% off IRCE 2018 conference passes.

Retail Focus 3/16/18 – Party City’s Growth; Big Lots' Margins Expand; American Manufacturing & Retail

We begin with a pair of earnings calls—despite same-store sales declines, Big Lots sees margin growth, and Party City continues to see success in both their retail and manufacturing segments. Additionally, we look at Express’ plan to convert full-line stores to outlets and Ikea’s idea to assemble customer satisfaction. Our interview guest is Racked Senior Editor Meredith Haggerty, who joins us to talk about her piece connecting U.S. manufacturing with fashion retail. We’re brought to you by the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition; visit and use the promo code RETAIL18 to get 10% off IRCE 2018 conference passes.

Retail Focus 3/9/18 – Target Earnings; Toys “R” Us Rumors; Advanced Stats & Staffing in Retail

We start with positive moves from Target released in their latest earnings call—even if the market doesn’t see them as such. Our news section is rounded out with discussion of rumors that Toys “R” Us may exit the U.S., the Walking Company’s bankruptcy, and Walmart meal kits. Our interview guest is Percolata Founder & CEO Greg Tanaka, who discusses how use of advanced analytics in retail can help companies to more accurately schedule employees. We’re brought to you by the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition; visit and use the promo code RETAIL18 to get 10% off IRCE 2018 conference passes.

Retail Focus 3/3/18 – Kohl’s & Aldi Team Up; Lowe’s Initiatives; Kiosks in Retail

We lead our podcast with the news that captured headlines this week: that Kohl’s is partnering with Aldi to fill vacant real estate in reorganized stores. We’ll also discuss new initiatives from Lowe’s (and their earnings), a new material debut from Crocs, and Best Buy’s planned closure of their mobile stores (and lease issues that might make it a less-than-smooth process). Our interview dives into innovations surrounding in-store kiosks in retail. We’re brought to you by the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition; visit and use the promo code RETAIL18 to get 10% off IRCE 2018 conference passes.

Retail Focus 2/23/18 – Walmart Earnings, Rite Aid-Albertsons Deal, Printing Technology in Retail

Two big stories in retail this week lead off our show: Walmart earnings and the potential sale of Rite Aid to Albertsons. In addition, we look at areas of growth for Sprouts, and why investment in employee training may give them a long-term competitive edge. Our interview guests are Michael Zolot and Jeff Sandler of Brother, who discuss the changing relationship between retailers and printing technology. We’re brought to you by the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition; visit and use the promo code RETAIL18 to get 10% off IRCE 2018 conference passes.

Retail Focus 2/17/18 – Seasonal Hiring at Home Depot, Lowe’s; Mobile as an Employee Resource

We lead off with a lengthy look at Home Depot and Lowe’s seasonal hiring efforts for the spring, and how they compare historically to endeavors of years’ past. We also discuss a possible Lids sale, GNC, and Chipotle’s new CEO. Our guest is Stratix Chief Solutions Officer Gary Lee, who discusses how retailers can best put mobile solutions in the hands of employees to remove friction for the customer. We’re brought to you by the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition; visit and use the promo code RETAIL18 to get 10% off IRCE 2018 conference passes.

Retail Focus 2/10/18 – Amazon Earnings; Finding Retail Real Estate; Collecting Floor Feedback

In our news portion, we discuss Amazon’s latest earnings (and other endeavors), Bon-Ton’s bankruptcy, Kroger’s c-store selloff, and Lululemon’s management shakeup. Our first guest is Mike Christenson of Sites USA, who talks about the latest information systems that allow retailers to find the perfect real estate. We’re also joined by Todd Thiesen and Ville Levaniemi of feedback generator HappyOrNot, who discuss their system to collect real-time customer feedback on the retail floor.

Retail Focus 2/2/18 – Super Bowl Sales Projections; Retail Staff Training; the New Era of Cash Drawer

We first dive into the NRF’s new projections for retail sales surrounding the Super Bowl in the U.S. before discussing how Simon’s latest earnings call represents surprising strength in the mall space. Our guests are Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify (who chats about refining retail staff training) and Stephen D. Bergeron of APG Cash Drawer (who tells us of a new technology that can save retailers time and money on the front end).

Retail Focus 1/28/18 – P&G Tries to Keep Up; Shelf Edge Technology; Keeping Carts Germ-Free

In a packed edition, we begin by discussing Procter & Gamble’s attempts to keep up with emerging consumer brands, Amazon’s new location, and 7-Eleven’s big acquisition. Our first interview guest is Charles Jackson, President at shelf edge technology leader Pricer who discusses adoption of electronic shelf labels. We’re also joined by Jeff Taylor, President of PureChem, who chats about the germ-ridden shopping cart and a technology allowing retailers to keep them clean for their customers.

Retail Focus 1/24/18 – Live From NRF 2018: Brandless, Retail Economics, and Store Lighting

It’s a star-studded special edition of the Retail Focus Podcast, as we broadcast from various areas at NRF 2018 in New York. Tina Sharkey, CEO of Brandless, is our first guest—she discusses the launch of their direct-to-consumer platform in summer 2017. After a look at the holiday shopping numbers, we’re joined by Jack Kleinhenz, NRF Chief Economist, who talks modeling and retail projections. Finally, Charles Zimmerman, former VP of Design and Construction at Walmart, chats about their partnership with Current to implement LED lighting in 6,000 locations worldwide.

Retail Focus 1/12/18 – Positives for Kohl’s and Target; Sam’s Club Pulls Plug on 63 Locations

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 optimism for brick-and-mortar.

Retail Focus 1/7/18 – Year-In-Review: Our Five Most- and Least-Successful Retailers of 2017

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 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 JC Penney.