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

Retail Focus 8/20/18 – Walmart’s Massive Sales Gain, Weather’s Effect on Retail, Latest on Produce Retail

We discuss companies that elicited polar opposite reactions from Wall Street, after Walmart’s excellent quarter and JCPenney’s continued struggles to achieve proper inventory churn. Our first guest is Paul Walsh, Director of Weather Strategy for IBM Services, who discusses how weather may alter back-to-school and fall retail sales. Then, we talk to Ashley Nickle, the editor of Produce Retailer, who talks romaine lettuce, the sudden retail appeal of onions, and a Pennsylvania c-store chain committing to local produce. Our podcast is brought to you this week by

Retail Focus 8/10/18 – Superb Quarters for Office Depot, Vitamin Shoppe; Casper Turns To B&M

After leading off with what could be called a transformational quarter turned in by Office Depot, we turn our attention to the world of mattress retail, as two major players (Casper and Mattress Firm) make the news this week. Also, we discuss CVS’ latest analyst-beating quarter, and a solid quarter turned in on the e-commerce front by Vitamin Shoppe. Our podcast is brought to you this week by

Retail Focus 8/3/18 – Lumber Liquidators Slips, Grocery News With Sprouts and Publix

We start with the roller coaster ride that is Lumber Liquidators, as they miss analyst expectations thanks to slightly eroding margins. Another niche mall retailer in Brookstone goes bankrupt, and we talk about why it isn’t the indictment on malls it may seem. Plus, Sprouts and Publix both released earnings this week—we look at the plan of one to cut into market share of another in Florida.

Retail Focus 7/27/18 – UNFI Makes SuperValu Play; ROIC’s Occupancy Rates; Fiber & Retail

Leading off, the news on everyone’s retail radar: the proposed acquisition of SuperValu by UNFI. We discuss what it means for food distribution, and also what may happen to SuperValu’s remaining retail stores. We also talk retail occupancy rates through the lens of ROIC, a bounceback quarter from Aaron’s, and the process behind adopting fiber optic networks with our interview guest Zach Adams from ISP CrawKan.

Retail Focus 7/20/18 – Prime Day; The Tile Shop Rebounds; Regional Grocers & Digital Channels

We begin the show with our Groundhog Day-like notes from Prime Day, before breaking down how The Tile Shop’s latest earnings impressed investors despite same-store sales being down. We also touch on the IPO of BJ’s, ongoing Rite Aid-Albertsons media coverage, and Hy-Vee’s new last-mile partnership. Our interview guest is Sylvain Perrier, President and CEO of Mercatus, who joins us to discuss how regional grocers can use digital channels to better connect with their customer base.

Retail Focus 7/13/18 – Walmart Tests C-Store Waters, Connecting With Customers in a New Old Way

After leading the show by discussing PepsiCo earnings and talking about what products the company will attempt to underscore in their shelf space, we look at how the altered tax code may be affecting retail development. Additionally, Walmart attempts a new c-store concept in the DFW area, and two retailers open new flagships in NYC. Our guest is Aaron Roy, Chief Product Officer at Bond, who discusses how retailers are turning to old-fashioned methods executed in a new way to connect with and retain customers.

Retail Focus 7/6/18 – Looking Back at the Stories of Three Retail Visionaries

With both hosts “opting outside”—to borrow a term from REI—for July 4th, we take a look back at three impactful interviews with retail visionaries. We begin our show by talking to Drew Ann Long, creator of Caroline’s Cart—the first-ever cart designed for the special needs population. Then, Dave Munson joins us to talk about the genesis of his company, Saddleback Leather. Finally, we catch up with grocery industry veteran Ron Rhodes, who discusses his companies’ efforts to compete with much larger competitors by beefing up his grocery’s digital game.

Retail Focus 6/29/18 – Party City Jumps Into Toys; Amazon’s Pharmacy Play; AI in Vegas

Another retailer attempts to take advantage of Toys “R” Us’ disappearance, as Party City announces intentions to open seasonal toy stores in the U.S. We discuss Amazon’s purchase of PillPack, and why it may not end the retail pharmacy industry as we know it after all; additionally, we talk The Container Store’s new experiment, and Bed Bath & Beyond earnings. Our guests are Justine Santa Cruz of Satisfi Labs and Wendy Albert of the Miracle Mile Shops in Las Vegas, who discuss a new social media-based technology initiative.

Retail Focus 6/22/18 – Kroger Excels; Court Rules on Sales Tax; July 4th Seasonal Outlook

We start with Kroger, who burst through even the most bullish of expectations in their earnings call this week. From there, we discuss the court ruling that opens the door for states to require e-commerce pureplays to collect sales tax, and Dollar General’s hiring and self-checkout initiatives. Finally, we use prior insight from Jake’s Fireworks Retail Director Jason Marietta to determine how robust seasonal sales might be for July 4th, and look ahead to a Sears Holdings pilot with Kmart.

Retail Focus 6/15/18 – RH Continues Turnaround, Legal Issues for Lidl, Kate Spade’s Impact

We begin with newly-rebranded RH, whose earnings impressed analysts as they continue their turnaround strategy. Grocer Lidl is back in the news--they’ll once again have to address legal issues after they allegedly left North Carolina developers at the altar. Before discussing back-to-school data, we’re joined by Chavie Lieber of Racked, who discusses Kate Spade’s lasting impact on fashion retail.

Retail Focus 6/8/18 – Duluth, Five Below, Ollie’s Grow Brick-and-Mortar; Vogue’s Impact on Retail

We cover three retailers in their growth phase this week, as Duluth Trading Company, Five Below, and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet reap rewards from new brick-and-mortar locations—at a cost. We discuss a new partnership to prevent fraud, and talk with Eliza Brooke, senior reporter at Racked, about Vogue’s impact on fashion and fashion retail sentiment in the United States.

Retail Focus 6/1/18 – DICK’S Soars on Earnings Beat; the State of the U.S. Grocery Industry

In another robust earnings week, we lead with DICK’S Sporting Goods’ beat on analyst expectations, despite lower same-store sales. From there we talk about Dollar Tree’s margins, another leadership change at GameStop, Michael Kors’ latest numbers, and a new initiative at Ulta Beauty.. Our interview guest is Marlo Cruz-Sands, VP/Head of Grocery at Cardlytics, who discusses their latest data on the grocery industry, including surprising numbers on customer retention.

Retail Focus 5/25/18 – More Off-Price Strength; Ellison Moves On; the “Other” Retail Holiday

We start our show with another amazing quarter from TJX before dissecting what Marvin Ellison’s move to Lowe’s means for the home improvement retailer (and JCP). After, we take another dive into auto parts retail initiatives with Advance Auto Parts, and glance at Kohl’s and their increasingly strong positioning among department stores. Our interview guest is the CEO of Webpals, Inbal Lavi, who discusses the retail holiday of which many U.S. companies may not be taking full advantage.

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.