Carol Spieckerman

President, Spieckerman Retail

Consistently named a top retail influencer, Carol Spieckerman is a recognized authority on retail and brand strategy. She launched Spieckerman Retail in 2000 in the wake of a career building multi-million-dollar businesses from the ground up. Her platform positioning workshops help retail-reliant companies accelerate B2B business development and increase thought leadership. As an advisor, Carol builds communications strategies that drive awareness, engagement, and action. She speaks at corporate and industry events on her latest Retail Trajectories – proprietary calls to action that transcend trend across categories, borders, business models, and touchpoints. Carol is passionate about making complex subjects easy to understand, solving tough retail positioning and business development challenges, and aligning companies with where retail is going next. You can find her thought leadership in leading business and retail publications including Reuters, Forbes, Grocery Dive, WWD, and Retail Wire and in her podcast, Spieckerman Speaks Retail. Carol also serves as a speaker and content provider to leading trade groups.

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  • Posted on: 11/21/2022

    Are department store shoppers getting a late start on Christmas or taking a pass?

    I have a hard time believing that the "average consumer" is thinking about inventory gluts. With Target and Walmart reporting softness in softlines for two straight quarters, expecting Kohl's and Macy's to magically buck the trend is unrealistic. Despite dabbling in attempts to expand into new categories and lean into brand partnerships, Kohl's, Macy's, and JC Penney just aren't as diversified (including solutions and services) and are inherently too reliant on the very categories that are slowing down across the board. Macy's backward slide into the meh middle of retail and inconsistent in-store merchandising has further cut into its potential differentiation. It's a tough spot to be in made even tougher as cheaper, faster fashion disruptors like Shein lower the bar.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2022

    Is durability a more sustainable selling point than sustainability?

    Durability is sustainability. Just ask Patagonia!
  • Posted on: 11/16/2022

    Can Walmart hold onto the new, wealthier customers it is picking up?

    Convenience is key (with a value chaser). I can't tell you how many higher-income folks I've spoken to who have converted to buying groceries at Walmart (and signed up for Walmart+). Most are amazed by the time-saving delivery and pickup options. More non-grocery items are finding their way into those bags now that Walmart has made cross-category convenience a top priority. The downside is that retailers, with Walmart leading the crowd, have arguably made grocery shopping too convenient both online and in stores. Browsing in either channel has been severely curtailed, diluting the traffic-driving advantage that grocery was supposed to provide.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2022

    Will two digital-first concepts prove more successful than one for Panera Bread?

    Digital-only and digital-first concepts are a great way for trusted restaurant brands to build sales and create more efficient experiences for customers. The key word is "trusted," as familiarity with menus and confidence in quality based on previous experiences will drive adoption. Choice and convenience are synonymous for consumers so in-person options need to stay in the mix, at least for now.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2022

    Retailers have scaled way back on seasonal help for Christmas

    Although automation is definitely a thing in retail and a potential rationalization for staff cuts, we're not there yet, particularly in non-grocery categories. Hopefully, retailers will implement training upgrades that help fill the gaps.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2022

    Lowe’s sells its Canadian ops to focus on the U.S.

    Canada is a tough nut to crack as many retailers have had to learn the hard way. It can't be treated as a cut-and-paste. Mr. Ellison was smart to shear Lowe's Canada off to focus on accelerating momentum for Lowe's U.S. business.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2022

    What will happen to Kohl’s after Michelle Gass goes to Levi Strauss?

    Michelle Gass attempted to break out of the mold with a constant drumbeat of dissatisfaction as a backdrop. It was an untenable situation that left little room for long-term thinking. Good for her for escaping the pressure cooker and landing on her feet at Levi.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2022

    Can VF Corp. reset its path to profitable growth amid escalating promotions?

    VF's portfolio and business model diversification give it a clear advantage over more narrowly-focused companies -- it inherently has more room to move. As easy as it is to rationalize that many companies are experiencing the same challenges, VF's struggles do send a troubling signal. The company can be seen as a bellwether for the apparel business.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2022

    What would Shein stores do to the U.S. retail apparel market?

    H&M, Zara, Fast Retailing's new GU concept -- the fast-to-faster fashion field is getting more crowded by the day. Shein might grab a bigger piece of the pie through a showroom concept but heaven forbid it displays deep assortments of its throwaway wares.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2022

    Will Netflix send customers streaming into Walmart’s stores?

    The Netflix hookup is a standard licensing program, yet Netflix offers a full portfolio of properties to Walmart with one deal. The program allows Walmart to reel in business from multiple demographics and address diverse fan bases. Netflix's ongoing events and outreach will boost the program without Walmart lifting a finger. All in all a sweet deal.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2022

    Can Marks & Spencer help Target replicate its designer collab magic in grocery?

    Although it's doubtful that most Target shoppers have heard of Marks & Spencer, the novelty and Britishness of the confection collection will bring holiday-friendly newness. It's a well-timed trial for a food and beverage brand foray.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2022

    Adidas drops the other shoe on Ye

    Adidas may have taken a bit too long to cut Kanye loose. Backlash against the brand had already hit a fevered pitch before the decision was made. Even so, memories are short, and most shoppers will likely be satisfied that Adidas cut ties at all. Adidas likely doesn’t have a viable plug-and-play replacement for Yeezy at the ready so no doubt there will be a corporate scramble to fill the void. It will be interesting to see if Adidas attempts to get back on the horse with another high-profile celebrity or if the inherent risk just isn’t worth it. Yeezy merchandise may enjoy a novelty surge in the resale market but it’s not a long-term strategy. The resale model doesn’t inoculate sellers from the pitfalls of association. Shoppers are much more focused and intentional with issues they care about these days.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2022

    Will Target own the Christmas season as it moves past its inventory glut?

    In its last earnings report, Target made a big point about how it took all of the bitter pills at once to ensure that inventory won't be a drag on future performance. It looks like Target now has the confidence to own whatever happens from here from that perspective. Hopefully, Target is taking staffing issues and checkout lags seriously so it can have a fighting chance to crush the holiday shopping rush.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2022

    Was Amazon’s Prime Early Access sale a bellwether event for the retail industry?

    Well said, Scott. Others may follow Amazon's timing, but are making it their own regardless.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2022

    CVS battles the ‘pink tax’

    CVS should be lauded for going all-out on this initiative rather than just giving lip service. It's great timing too as women's health and equality are front-and-center globally.

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