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Brian Kelly

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  • Posted on: 08/15/2022

    What will store-level job cuts mean for Best Buy’s front line and bottom line?

    Job one is to deliver the financial plan. Managing team morale comes with the challenge of driving a retail brand. If topline remains soft or decomps, payroll will be reduced to deliver the financial plan.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2022

    Is Walmart’s HQ reorg a good thing or cause for concern?

    It's a "telltale" sign. The two short term profit levers: payroll and marketing. Payroll: headquarters then field. Marketing: promotional then branding. No doubt WMT's core customer is experiencing spending restrictions due to inflation. And WMT's clearance-driven inventory surplus will detract from profit. The unemployment rise will be problematic for the Fed. Fasten your seatbelts, it's gonna be a bumpy night.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2022

    Kohl’s throws back with Levi’s

    Does Levi still have the juice? You know, for Gen Z or Millennials? The people who will wear the brand? I'm wondering if the problem the big box apparel retailers have is they rely upon a bunch of brands that have passed their expiration date. Ralph, Tommy, Calvin. Does Levi's have the juice to fill in for a fashion brand, instead of its golden "basics" role? Are the parents of these future fashionistas connected to these great grandfather icons? If the youngsters live on the online-enabled long tail of life searching for a unique identity to reflect their alternative tastes in self expression and celebrating diversity, will they don mass brands?
  • Posted on: 07/21/2022

    Macy’s keeps going small and off-mall

    Macy's, whether big or small, still has the problem of an irrelevant brand. Reducing the selling space and adding an outlet store seems like brand torture. You don't like our big store, so we'll give you a smaller version and we'll throw in an outlet store. Just in case. Kohl's is doing the same thing. Others will follow. Smaller stores reduce inventory and payroll costs. Ultimately, what does the brand stand for?
  • Posted on: 07/19/2022

    Will Toys“R”Us kids help Macy’s have a very merry Christmas?

    My kids are past the age for a trip to TRU, but what I remember was a less than wonderful shopping experience. Certainly not FAO in its hey day, or as a Chicagoan -- Marshall Field when it ruled. So no faint memory of happiness. It was run to the diaper wall and try to get out for me. Macy's has no proof of being able to import another brand and run it. Story was a disaster. Last year's trial of TRU was uninspired in those stores I shopped. Because they seem unable to execute at the store level, there is no reason to go to the store. Especially since Target and even Walmart have the superior store shopping experience. Those holding Macy's Loyalty credits will shop Macy's. All others might be at the massive clearance events at Kohl's as it liquidates.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2022

    Is Franchise Group’s plan for Kohl’s a retail disaster in the making?

    Two sides to this ancient and reoccurring saga. One: investors. Two: shoppers. Investors expect a return on investment, aka money. Shoppers expect problem resolution and ego satisfaction aka a good deal. Investors come first. Looking across the last 10 years of department or apparel stores, we see most of them are gone or radically changed. All have given their investors their due. Now it's Kohl's turn. Whomever buys KSS, shoppers will not get what it expects, however, investors will.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2022

    Why did Nordstrom close Trunk Club?

    Love the swing of the pendulum. Subscriptions. Online push, a curated box of stuff -- less of a brilliant idea than an unguided missile. And with all things online, the cost of doing business was misunderstood.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2022

    Target isn’t wasting any time in cutting the glut from its inventory

    The clock is ticking. BTS is weeks away. BTS sets up Holiday. How to decide what goes beneath the tree is already being decided, perhaps not an item, but the resource to solve the problem. Clear out those goods in the way of putting their best foot forward with the rolling start of school across the country. TGT knew this three weeks ago.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2022

    Is Macy’s for real?

    While I was encouraged by Gennette's discussion of customer segment performance, his comments about the short-term future were classic garmento blah-blah-blah. And I find the bobbing and weaving between corporate and store Macy's numbers annoying. Bloomies and Nordys performance suggests the high end is covered. And below $75,000 will remain covered by dollar stores and discounters. The middle needs a shopping experience that is relevant to the customer. Respecting her matters, as is pointed out by the unforgivable unkempt selling floors. Macy's fails here. KSS doesn't seem much better. And JCP is what again? Returning to work will be a short-term lift. The COVID-19 delayed baby boom suggests life stage activation and a promise for greater spend. Dillard's disproves the "department store demise" -- it benefits from a tight geography? I'm still not convinced that Macy's has its finger on the nationwide shopper's pulse.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2022

    Can Starbucks replicate the ‘third place’ in the metaverse?

    For starters, read the blog post. It is a place used for wondering aloud. What if Starbucks could create a new, global digital community -- a community defined by collaboration, experiences, and shared ownership -- all centered around coffee to start, and then perhaps expanded into the many of the areas Starbucks has played in over the years as a coffeehouse; art, music, books and beyond? "Third Place" reminded me of Taco Bell's "fourth meal." Both ways of reframing their role in a customer's life.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2022

    Does Amazon have an edge in capturing America’s youth?

    For now, Amazon benefits from high levels of awareness, but irrelevance will catch up to them. Just happens. No one wants to be their parents, until they see a Progressive ad.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2022

    What’s the path to becoming a retail industry thought leader?

    Don't make stuff up. There is plenty of hype. Seems to sell tickets to confabs. Show relevant experience that informs observations. Too many grand pronouncements with little humility. Everything must be connected to the consumer/shopper experience.
  • Posted on: 03/31/2022

    Will retail digital media’s growth extend into stores?

    Feels like another "back to the future," as in, this was done before, differently -- but in-store video content is nothing new. For it to be a consideration as an addition to the store environment, it must be relevant to the shopper both strategically and tactically. The metrics that will determine "relevance" will be key.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2022

    Walmart appears ready to quit its cigarette habit

    What's the role of tobacco category? Are the "Dollar" stores selling them? What about booze? Seems that category also over indexes with WMT shoppers. What drives the WMT decision, low sales or public health?
  • Posted on: 03/28/2022

    Has Backstage found its place inside of Macy’s?

    Filene's. And Filene's Basement. It was Selfridge who convinced Field to put a "Bargain Basement" below the street level on State. Outlet stores became the next generation. Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. As the consumer situation shifted and the desire for a "treasure hunt" arose TJX became dominant. I think Macy's has to sort out the relationship between master brand Macy's and sub brand Macy's Backstage. Backstage adds to Macy's value proposition confusion just as calls for spinning off its "online" presence. This is no time to declare victory. The relevance of the master brand is further challenged.
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