PROFILE

Liza Amlani

Principal and Founder, Retail Strategy Group

With over 20 years of retail insider experience and industry knowledge in merchandising, buying, product development and strategy, I bring an end-to-end perspective to help navigate the ever-changing retail landscape.

I have worked closely with retailers such as Ralph Lauren Europe and Canada, Club Monaco, Nike, and Walmart as well as departments stores in North America, UK, Ireland and across Europe. Working with both luxury and mass merchant retailers across global markets, my perspective on retail is through my industry experience lens.

The last few years have been spent in retail consulting, supporting several major business transformations across merchandising, product creation, speed to market and materials management.

Website: www.retailstrategygroup.com

Newsletter: www.themerchantlife.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/TheMerchantLife

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  • Posted on: 01/30/2023

    What will David’s Bridal gain from its wedding vendor marketplace?

    This is a great strategy for David's Bridal and creating a one-stop shop is what will keep the brand relevant. Leveraging insights from consumer purchase behavior will also help David's merchandising strategy and product creation process. It's a win win and I love it!
  • Posted on: 01/25/2023

    Walmart using a well-proven formula to attract B2B customers

    This could be great for SMBs and non-profit as everyone is looking to stretch their dollar more than ever. Walmart has buying power and leveraging this to give their B2B customers access to better product at better prices will no doubt be a success. It will be interesting to see how all the Walmart channels line up against each other and if customers will prefer a curated assortment versus Sam's Club. And let's not forget about Costco -- will this Walmart initiative drive more customers away from Costco and into their banners? It's quite possible.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2023

    Does Neiman Marcus have too many eggs in too few baskets?

    I agree. This merchandising strategy + marketing strategy is extremely risky. What happens when those loyal 2% of customers age and disappear? Is there investment in another generation's wants/needs and is this reflected in their merchandising strategy? There must be more to it. On the other hand, the numbers reflected in revenue and retention are incredible. It would be interesting to better understand how much of their product assortment sells at full price vs. their markdown sales + excess inventory position. This would tell us if they are truly managing their inventory and if Neiman's merchandising strategy reflects overbuying and over-assorting. I have so many questions. I worked for a brand a few years ago where 60% of their sales come from 1 leather jacket style. It was shocking. The sales had plateaued by the time I worked with the brand and it was very clear that depending on 1 style to carry an entire brand was a huge risk.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2023

    Will gambling on a Saks Fifth Avenue flagship casino pay off?

    What he said ... It took me a minute to get on board with the idea -- my first reaction was SAY WHAT NOW? BUT if you think of where luxury + hospitality intersect at its finest, it's definitely the Monaco vibe. And the fact is the casino cities have already proved and reaped the benefits of winners and losers that shop with joy or remorse. Saks could win big with this model. The concept is also more aligned with real estate moguls who run HBC/Saks.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2023

    Will gambling on a Saks Fifth Avenue flagship casino pay off?

    Oh Gene ... most definitely. Saks will no doubt reap the benefits of casino engagement across any gender or race for that matter. Saks, aka the house, will most definitely win.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2023

    Macy’s gains control of its inventory and markdowns

    What she said... Macy's needs to get their act together and these are all positive strategic and forward thinking moves. In addition to these shifts in ways of working, I would really like to see more of Macy's corporate walking the shop floor. And I mean every shop floor across all size doors and regions. It seems there is a massive disconnect with what leadership wants, the strategies they put in place and how it translates into what the customer experiences. The fact is, Macy's is a mess and the overbuying needs to stop. Walking the shop floor may enlighten the Macy's leadership team, product creators and merchants to rethink how much product they actually assort. Seeing this physically makes all the difference -- some shock value may be needed.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2023

    Is Babies’R’Us ready to make a comeback or is it just a dream?

    This is a great opportunity for Babies"R"Us to capture market share from digital and big box players. Customers are looking for engagement and experience as they increase their spend in physical stores. The baby category is not an exception. It’s even more imperative that the customer experience is second to none and the merchandising strategy is data and customer driven. Parents need help and an excellent customer experience will drive loyalty and keep customers coming back. Amazon, Target and Walmart lack CX. This is where Babies"R"Us can truly make its mark on the market.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2023

    Bloomingdale’s looks to make more with less

    Bloomie’s should scale this concept -- smaller and hyper-localized stores with stellar service. The challenge that I repeatedly have with Bloomingdale’s or it’s Bloomie’s stores is the merchandising strategy. There needs to be significant improvement in the product assortment across the board in order for the retailer to survive. The time is now. Scaling Bloomie’s before streamlining private label and branded assortments as well as go-to-market strategies tells us the retailer is grasping at straws. And a new store format is not going to help Bloomingdale’s or Bloomie’s become profitable or trustworthy to the customer. Getting people into the store is one thing. Getting them shopping and coming back for more is another.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2022

    Will DSW’s owned brand push pay off?

    DSW’s owned brand push will pay off, as long as their merchandising strategy has a clearer POV and data driven product decisions. We don’t know what their own brands stand for and what gap they are trying to fill. The last thing retail needs is another muddled merchandising strategy like that of Bed Bath & Beyond or Gap Inc. Retailers need to learn from the mistakes of others and leverage data to drive product and assortment decisions as well as the right pricing strategy. The purpose of private label is to fill gaps in the assortment that branded products leave open. A better understanding of what the customer is looking should be the center of DSW’s owned brand strategy and should push past filling the Nike gap.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2022

    Is the clock ticking on TikTok?

    The clock may be ticking on TikTok but consumers are still its biggest fans. Having a plan B and C is critical but giving up on TikTok entirely would be a mistake. Until legislation hits (which it’s not certain what a ban could look like), retailers and brands still need to meet consumers where they prefer to consume content. Today that is TikTok.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2022

    Do DoorDash layoffs signal tough times ahead for same-day delivery services?

    Same-day service has become a standard benchmark for consumers. We have been spoiled. The challenge for the retailer has always been the same -- it has never been profitable and now DoorDash employees have to pay the price. As with any service or offering, scaling too quickly in order to meet demand has consequences. The long-term impact on cost is the same situation with free returns -- in the end, someone has to pay.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2022

    Is the Kroger-Albertsons merger really a retail media deal?

    Absolutely not. This merger is not just a media deal. This deal is about buying power and scaling merchandising strategies. Highly successful Kroger and Albertsons private label brands is where the opportunities are and the cost benefits will directly translate to customer benefits. The Kroger-Albertsons merger is about joining forces to give the customers what they want. Savings on everyday grocery and merchandise, data driven customer-centric assortments and brand loyalty.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2022

    How should Mary Dillon reimagine Foot Locker?

    Absolutely Lee! Furthermore, the Foot Locker experience needs to be consistent and localized to the community they are serving. Removing archaic hierarchies of stores (think A/Flagships, B, C, and D doors) will drive better merchandising strategies across regions. Shifting from product-led to consumer-led is so much more than marketing. It's driving the right product at the right time and in the right channel.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2022

    How should Mary Dillon reimagine Foot Locker?

    Product assortments should be consumer-led. There is no question about it. Product-led assortments and merchandising strategies don't leverage consumer insights to drive better decisions across product and marketing. The challenge is that many retailers claim that they are consumer-centric but when you dig deep into process across merchandising, this is never the case. Eliminating silos across banners and low performing SKUs and categories should be a priority for Foot Locker. Seamless integration across banners will also significantly reduce many of the inefficiencies in the go-to-market process for the retailer -- which will allow Foot Locker to truly be consumer-led. Leveraging data and analytics to be more focused on what the consumer truly wants, from product to experiences, will bring Foot Locker success. It's the only way a retailer should operate today.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2022

    Where is the innovation we should be seeing in store brands?

    Store brands should be innovating through investment in new material development. We are seeing this type of investment in textiles and hardgoods like at Nike, Levi’s, Ralph Lauren and Away. We need to see more newness and innovation at these types of trade shows. Store brands that frequent these shows are looking for ideas because they can’t afford to innovate on their own. They need to see that innovation is possible and they can compete with brands like Nike. These shows and platforms should also show store brands how to innovate from a product creation and merchandising perspective. There are better ways of going to market and they just need to be shown what is possible. New ways of working and creating product is about simplifying and leveraging digital.

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