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.

9/15/17 Podcast – Kohl’s Latest to Strike Amazon Partnership, Target Plans Hiring Spree

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.

9/8/17 Podcast – Amazon Seeks Home for HQ2, Buying Habits of Greek Organizations

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.

9/1/17 Podcast – Best Buy Urges Caution After Success, Ollie’s & Five Below Flex Muscles

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.

8/25/17 Podcast – Whole Foods Price Cuts, Sears Struggles, How Mom-&-Pops Use E-Commerce

We begin by discussing Michaels’ recent earnings beat, and how vertical integration in their picture framing efforts has helped them along. Then, obligatory coverage of both Whole Foods’ price cuts and Sears’ continued decent, including more store closures. We close with positive news from a revitalized Family Dollar under Dollar Tree. Our interview guest is Sydney Anselmi, a small business consultant who discusses how small mom-and-pop retailers are using e-commerce to grow the reach of their existing brick-and-mortar establishments.

8/18/17 Podcast – Target & Walmart Surge; How Digital Tools Assist Retail Buyers

Both Target and Walmart see massive increases in e-commerce sales, but also increases in store traffic; we discuss how each retailer is managing to grow sales against tighter competition. We talk off-price retail with news from TJX of a new store banner, and we’ll look into how the elimination of swimwear hindered L Brands’ most recent quarter. Our interview guest is Amy Zhou, COO of Brandboom, who discusses how digital and e-commerce elements have changed the way retail buyers source their products.

8/11/17 Podcast – Finding Optimism for Kohl’s & Macy’s; Oregon’s New Scheduling Law

While most news outlets have come down pretty hard on department stores, we take deep looks into earnings calls from Kohl’s, Macy’s, and JC Penney to find reasons for optimism heading into the third quarter. We also discuss potential retail ramifications of Oregon’s new scheduling law and talk to Racked senior reporter Eliza Brooke about the branding of e-commerce’s lifestyle startups. Our podcast is sponsored by Lightspeed’s speaker series; find out more at https://www.lightspeedhq.com/speaker-series/.

8/4/17 Podcast – Lumber Liquidators & Boot Barn Rebound, the Story of Saddleback Leather

We start by discussing Lumber Liquidators’ return to profitability, as they stun the industry with stellar earnings. Then, on to western wear retailer Boot Barn, as they bounce back from a rough holiday season. Our interview guest is the CEO and founder of Saddleback Leather, Dave Munson, who discusses his company’s growth from the back of a pickup truck to an e-commerce giant. Additionally, we talk Party City’s business initiatives, and Under Armour’s adherence to strategic change. Our podcast is sponsored by Lightspeed’s speaker series; find out more at https://www.lightspeedhq.com/speaker-series/.

7/28/17 Podcast – Kimco’s Portfolio Shines, Pet Supplies Boost Tractor Supply

Kimco earnings lead off our show, and for good reason—not only do their financials underscore a successful brick-and-mortar retail portfolio, but they also give us a tiny glimpse into the success of Albertsons. We look at how pet-related sales are helping TSC’s revenues, how O’Reilly might have hit the brakes on the auto parts skid, and why Aaron’s might be hoping for an economic downturn. Our sponsor for this podcast is Lightspeed’s speaker series; find out more at https://www.lightspeedhq.com/speaker-series/.

7/21/17 Podcast – Jana Partners Earns Big Payday, the Role of the Dietitian in Grocery Retail

After first discussing Lidl’s response to Kroger’s trademark infringement lawsuit, we turn our attention to activist investor Jana Partners, who sells off their stake in Whole Foods at a handsome profit. We take on a recall at Justice and liquor delivery for Meijer after our interview with Leah McGrath, Corporate Dietitian at Ingles Markets, who discusses the evolving role of the retail dietitian. Our sponsor for this podcast is Lightspeed’s speaker series; find out more at https://www.lightspeedhq.com/speaker-series/.

7/14/17 Podcast – Obligatory Prime Day Coverage, the “French Girl” Trope in U.S. Retail

Aside from looking into numbers from Amazon’s most recent Prime Day, we take a glance at the ripples it made throughout the e-commerce world, boosting sales at other online retailers as well. We discuss the potential of a True Value sale, Albertsons’ delayed IPO, back-to-school retail dynamics, and are joined by Racked senior writer Eliza Brooke, who discusses her recent article about the prevalence of the “French Girl” in U.S. retail.

7/7/17 Podcast – Quiktrip Expands, Kroger’s Lawsuit, Drawing Families Back to the Mall

Convenience store operator Quiktrip announces their largest round of expansion in some time, entering into the Austin and San Antonio markets.  We discuss this and the potential eight-point test judges may use in the trademark violation case brought against Lidl by Kroger. Our interview guest is KidZania’s U.S. CEO Keith Rubenstein, who talks of the company’s goal to fuel traffic increases in malls through experiential learning opportunities for youth.

6/30/17 Podcast – Clarity on Rite Aid-Walgreens, Building an Energy-Positive Retail Store

After over 18 months of waiting, we finally get a new Rite Aid-Walgreens deal altogether--and fred’s gets left out of the mix.  We discuss Target’s trial run of next-day delivery, Staples’ potential deal to go private, and Pier 1 Imports earnings as well. Our interview guest is Aaron Moulton, Director of Design at TreeHouse, who joins us to discuss the construction and opening of the first energy-positive retail location in the U.S.

6/23/17 Podcast – Walmart & Amazon Duke It Out, The State Of Retail Labor in U.S

Walmart and Amazon appear to be at odds again, as Walmart reportedly places pressure on vendors to move away from AWS platforms. We discuss that, another sporting goods retail rescue, and possibilities of a REIT spinoff at Hudson’s Bay. Our interview guest is Sarah Jaffe, who published an extensive article on Racked.com this week regarding the current state of the U.S. retail employee.

6/16/17 Podcast – Pundits Lose Minds Over Amazon-Whole Foods, Another Walmart Acquisition

We lead off our show with perhaps the biggest story in retail so far in 2017, as Amazon acquires Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion dollar deal. As we wade through the hyperbole, we assess Kroger’s tough week (at least on the stock market) and Walmart’s new e-commerce acquisition in Bonobos. Our interview guest is Mlive business reporter Shandra Martinez, who sheds light on Meijer’s new small footprint store concept in Grand Rapids.

6/9/17 Podcast – Why Market May Be Misguided On Duluth, At Home Blitzes Expectations

Although the stock market hammered Duluth Trading Co. earlier this week, we take a deep glance into why there are still plenty of reasons for optimism surrounding the up-and-coming retailer. At Home storms past expectations and reveals their future brick and mortar growth plans, Tailored Brands releases financials that aren’t as bad as expected, and Nordstrom explores possibilities of going private.

6/3/17 Podcast – Walmart’s Bold New Last-Mile Plan, the Dollar Express Saga Continues

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet leads our show as they once again surpass expectations in many financial categories. We then explore Sycamore Partner’s claims against Family Dollar and Dollar Tree after Dollar Express failed to achieve independence before looking at an ambitious new last-mile delivery plan Walmart unveils at their annual shareholders’ meeting—and the kinks that they may need to smooth out prior to nationwide adoption.

5/27/17 Podcast – New Strategy Produces Positive Results at The Container Store & Best Buy

We begin the show by addressing notable earnings from The Container Store, as they beat analyst expectations on the back of strategic changes. The same seems to be taking place at Best Buy, and we discuss exactly how they continue to grow most segments of their business. Additionally, we discuss proposed SNAP changes and their possible effects on retailers, and how Lowe’s latest earnings report really wasn’t as bad as the market made it out to be.

5/20/17 Podcast – Two Mall Retailers See Sales Growth, Home Depot Builds Future Expectations

We go beyond the clickbait headlines about the death of mall retail to find two mall retailers who continue to have success in Old Navy and Foot Locker, and find out why the market may have overreacted to earnings from the latter. We also take on Home Depot’s continued success and their future path to growth, new strategic initiatives at Target, and the tale of two off-price retailers going in different directions.