PROFILE
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Barbara Thau

Senior features editor

I am a business journalist specializing in the retail industry, consumer news and trends, currently a contributing retail reporter for Forbes.com.

In addition to retail, I have also covered real estate, workplace issues and lifestyle trends for publications ranging from CNBC and The New York Daily News to Fortune.com and Parade magazine.

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  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    David! I also invoked Maslow above ... then I saw your comment. Your call to retailers is compelling: "Nothing else really matters right now. Retailers need to message to that – period." Thanks for reading my story and your insights.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    To your point, Jeff, brands and companies that echo their core consumers' values, such as treating their employees fairly, for one, tend to benefit from those practices performance-wise, studies show. Thanks for reading my story and your feedback.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    Indeed, Brandon, you raise the million-dollar question: What will the new normal look like? Thanks for reading.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    Mark, wow, Your comments puts the pandemic's impact in appropriately-dramatic perspective. If we think the Great Recession changed buying habits, what's in store once this has passed? Thanks for reading my story.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    Hi Paula, and thanks for that feedback. The story and Kit Yarrow, the psychologist I interviewed for this piece, said precisely what you did: "Fostering good will in a crisis will sometimes mean offering something for nothing. Fashion companies from Prada to Eddie Bauer are shifting production to make masks critically needed for medical workers, just as Hertz is renting vehicles sitting idle to healthcare workers for free." Thanks for reading and hope you and yours are well.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    Georganne, your comment precisely echoes what the consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow told me for this story: "Fifty percent OFF doesn’t mean much when people are conserving cash." She described a trio of buying states during widespread crises, one of which is "frozen buying," whereby consumers are too financially frightened to buy anything. Thanks for reading and your insight.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    Thanks, Dick, for the rich insight and feedback on my story. Your comments are a reminder of the pandemic's profoundly different impacts on "knowledge" workers and frontline workers.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    "There is more of a need to find toilet paper than taking advantage of Macy’s 40 percent to 70 percent off sale" — yes! evidenced by the stampede of grocery stores (and that they're open). Your insight calls to mind Maslov's hierarchy of needs. Thanks for reading the story!
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    What’s going on inside the heads of consumers right now?

    Precisely what Sam's Club is trying to do, Suresh, with its "thank you" campaign. Thanks for your feedback on my story.
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