Michael Terpkosh

President, City Square Partners LLC

A wholesale, retail and supply-chain leader with demonstrated success developing and executing strategic initiatives in category strategy, merchandising, marketing, and consumer insights. Strong record creating innovative programs to meet the challenges of ever-changing industries. Experience consulting with manufacturers and retailers domestic and abroad. Leader of many company-wide initiatives delivering enhanced business efficiencies while creating new sources of company revenue. Managed teams from 12 to 175 associates locate across the United States.

  • Posted on: 01/12/2021

    Convenience retailers aren’t letting the pandemic get them down

    The convenience store channel has done an excellent job over the last few years upgrading their stores, expanding on their non-perishable grocery item offerings and aggressively expanding fresh foods. This helped to prepare them for the pandemic. The channel also deserves credit for being nimble and recogniing changing consumer shopping trends. I believe the channel will emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever if they keep their eye on the consumer. Convenience stores are quickly approaching consumer recognition as the local corner store.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Are local retailers ready to flex their omnichannel muscles?

    Independent retailers who understand their communities and participate in their communities continue to be succesful against bigger retail chains. This has been amplified during the pandemic as more consumers have relied on these local retailers for goods and services. Providing online services to consumers has been key to the success of independent retailers during the pandemic. As the shop local trends show, more and more consumers understand the connection between supporting independent retailers and the health of their local communities.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2021

    Will store closings in 2021 beat last year’s record total?

    The 2020 retailer pressure to close stores will continue into 2021 as long as the pandemic is not under control. Retailers will continue to rationalize the stores they need to keep open vs. those that are under-performing. A retailer will also have to balance their brick vs. click business. There is a huge amount of consumer sentiment to want to get out to shop, eat out and be in public again. The best retailers will be ready, with their best performing stores, to satisfy consumer needs and wants once the pandemic has past.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2020

    What will it take to get shoppers back into stores in 2021?

    I agree with the other panelists. Once the vaccine has achieved widespread distribution, consumer are going to come out big time. Retailers don't need to worry about how to attract shoppers back to their stores. Retailers need to worry about maintaining enough retail associates to provide excellent customer service and in-stock presence when we all are comfortable enough to get out there to shop.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2020

    Can category management catch up to the omnichannel shift?

    Category management has always required a strong partnership between retailers and CPGs. Both parties share in the "heavy lifting" of data analytics to better understand the consumer, category and competition. As the retail journey into omnichannel grows, there is definitely a place for CPG category captains to support and provide insights to retailers. A major challenge today is retailers have the data, but have trouble creating insights from the data. CPG category captains need the retailer's data to better understand the omnichannel and the consumer. Together they can rise to the data challenge to create strategies and tactics resulting in mutual sales growth.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2020

    To furlough or not to furlough?

    Retailers need to learn the lesson that maintaining great employees is well worth the investment. Great employees create the great retail atmosphere customers expect and reward with loyalty. Loyalty meaning repeat sales. It is no secret that the cost to recruit, hire, and train new employees can be far more expensive than doing whatever a retailer can to maintain your current employees. Business difficulty will always pass, loss of great employees is forever.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2020

    Big chains are raising pay and more retailers are likely to follow

    Finding good, dedicated frontline employees is getting harder and harder. Add the pandemic and recruitment and retention is even harder. Retailers must realize that they need to pay their associates "at market rates" whether it is a $15 minimum wage or being competitive with wages in the marketplace. The pandemic has helped to make the general public aware of the critical roles these associates play in day-to-day business. This trend will continue long after the pandemic is gone.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2020

    Are CPG brands headed for a very merry Christmas?

    CPG sales of essentials will remain very strong through the holidays and into early next year as the pandemic creates more and more lockdowns. Retailers will once again have a difficult time staying in-stock on many essentials. They will have to implement purchase limits. However unlike regional pandemic waves earlier this year, the winter pandemic wave appears to be affecting the entire country. This will stress CPGs and the supply chain even more. Specialty items (gourmet, organic, natural) will have strong sales too, through the holidays. Then most of the gains will be lost in early 2021.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2020

    Should C-suite execs keep their opinions to themselves on store visits?

    This is absolutely the right thing to do. It is important for retail executives to get out in the field and talk to the associates at retail. This builds trust with retail associates and enhances morale. Great store level associates follow the rules and procedures of the retail organization. There is nothing wrong with executives taking notes to create a "punch list" of to-do's that are passed on to retail operations to address at store level. There is no need to give criticism from the Ivory Tower to the frontline.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2020

    Chipotle battles escalating delivery costs

    In the spirit of transparency, I would clearly show the added on delivery charge for using one of the big four delivery services. Most customers don't know the delivery charge the big four are taking from restaurants. It is a convenience for home delivery, with a cost, and the customer should know this. I like Chipotle taking a multi-pricing approach and giving customer options.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2020

    Amazon will pay you to know what you bought somewhere else

    Amazon will use the data to try to sell panel members more product via Amazon. I am interested in how Amazon chooses shoppers to join their panel. It sounds like Amazon has squeezed all the shoppers insights it can from syndicated data shopper panel information. Maybe Amazon will get into the syndicated data business in the future?
  • Posted on: 10/16/2020

    Will Black Friday be the day customers buy IKEA’s environmental promise?

    In a typical year I would say "bad timing," but given the craziness of this year with the pandemic I say "go for it." Especially since they are doing this outside of the U.S. for now. If it was a U.S. announcement I would be concerned the messaging would get drowned out because of Black Friday. I would expect IKEA to bring the program to the U.S. Maybe an Earth Day announcement this coming year?
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    What’s behind the Amazon/SpartanNash deal?

    Amazon knows e-commerce. Amazon learned grocery retailing by buying Whole Foods. Now Amazon needs to learn the grocery distribution business. The wholesale grocery distribution business is not an easy supply-chain to learn. I have seen other retailers (like Target) decide to get into self-distribution of food and they struggle with learning the business, especially perishables. I have to believe this agreement for Amazon is a partner, learn, build process for them to become a self-distributing grocery retailer.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Will a new round of panic buying empty grocery store shelves?

    There is definitely a benefit to retailers, and wholesalers, to stock-up on staple items. Many retailers have opened up more shelf space for these items through assortment rationalization over the summer. By telling and showing customers they are ready for the demand, retailers send a positive message to customers. I still see some purchase limits out at retail, but it's too early to impose more of these restrictions.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2020

    Is it time to hit the ‘panic button’ as women leave the retail workforce?

    Retailers should absolutely be concerned about losing female employees. I totally agree that gains to eliminate the gender gap in retail will be lost. The industry will also be set back by the loss of talent, knowledge and experience. Great, knowledgable employees are already hard to come by and this won't help. Previously, we on RetailWire have talked about the changing work environment because of technology, the pandemic, etc. In these discussions, most have agreed that workplace flexibilty is critical to maintaining talent. Maintaining female employees will require retailers to double-down on workplace flexibity efforts.

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