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: 01/21/2020

    Does IKEA need parking lots?

    I too love this concept. The multi-generational return to urban cores makes this type of store a great fit for U.S. metro areas. As Baby Boomers retire they don't want to have to lug around big, heavy boxes. Especially if they can get delivery and set-up. Young generations want the convenience without the sweat and without driving to the store. I see this as a win-win for all parties.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2020

    Best Buy CEO faces alleged misconduct probe

    Retail businesses need to watch and learn from these types of issues and establish and/or maintain in-depth policies to govern personal relationships at work. Then when an issue arises, the retail business can address the issue in a firm and fair way for all involved parties. These situations are never easy and all employees watch how a retailer addresses these situations. Retail business leaders need to evaluate their current policies and, if I might say, also evaluate their HR teams to make sure they are strong and ready to tackle these type of issues at any level in the retail organization.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2020

    Wegmans has a better website, but did it need one?

    A strong website and mobile app for any retailer, including grocery channel retailers, must keep up with current technology, web-features and the latest functionality. Consumers have certain expectations for their internet experiences. Let's call these HIGH EXPECTATIONS. As consumers browse across the internet their expectations are constantly changing and being raised by the coolest, most awesome functionality. Retailers need to keep up to maintain their internet relevance. Wegmans spiffing up their website and mobile app allows them to bring their excellent brick-and-mortar image to the internet.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2020

    What does Target’s Christmas miss mean?

    A one quarter sales miss is not a trend. However, we will see what happens next quarter. I expect Target will maintain on their current strategic course until they see a soft sales trend over multiple quarters. No doubt they hit some headwinds during the holidays. Toys were flat this year after a big gain last year with the closing of Toys "R" Us. Electronics sales were down partially because Target did not play the deep discount game like Best Buy and Walmart. (Maybe Target made better margins on their sales). It does appear Target is doing well in many other departments, including food.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Kroger goes beyond meat and looks for impossible growth with private brand

    Kroger is well positioned to jump into the plant-based meat trend with private label. Kroger is recognized, national retailer with a very good customer reputation and consumers really like their private label. This is a natural expansion of private label into a new category for Kroger. I believe if a retailer has a very good to great perception with the consumer the retailer can pull this off, so watch for Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc. to also jump into the category. I will also be watching to see if retailer price points start to come down as more companies jump in the category.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Will coffee drinkers miss single-use cups?

    You just have to look at the number of people that now carry their own water bottle with them and refill it over the course of a day to realize that this can and will work. It will definitely take time for adoption and there may be some logistical concerns to overcome. (I can see some folks walking in with a couple of weeks of cups to get their deposit back and bags of dirty cups stacking up in the back waiting to be cleaned). If this trend takes off across the country then watch out single-use coffee pod CPGs!
  • Posted on: 01/03/2020

    Better-for-you foods produce healthier results for convenience stores

    I give big kudos to convenience stores with how they have cleaned-up their stores, offering more better-for-you products and moving big time into fresh products like produce and deli. I see these trends continuing into 2020 and I believe several of the regional c-store chains are poised to become the "local neighborhood store" for many communities. Their challenge will be to adopt better analytics and consumer shopping insights to be more on trend with their grocery offerings.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    Are return rates out of control?

    Easy return policies are a necessary evil for online retailing. I agree with Bob Phibbs that there needs to be a true measure of sales (sales minus returns). The cost of returns will reduce online retail profitability and this cost may drive some online retailers out of the business in 2020. I only seeing returns, and the cost of returns, continuing to go up unless new return policies are put into place. Retailers are making online consumerism easy, maybe too easy, and this creates the buy-disappointment-return vicious cycle.
  • Posted on: 12/26/2019

    New layout next step in Chipotle reboot

    Bob I am with you! When the in-person line grinds to a halt because of an online order it totally wrecks Chipotle's in-store customer service experience. I look forward to Chipotle modifying their preparation areas for separate prep of in-person and online orders. I also hope the new layout addresses creating a larger, brighter, and better queuing experience. I would also like to see Chipotle step-up their customer seating area cleanliness. Many other fast casual restaurants (like Noodles) do a much better job with maintaining their seating area cleanliness.
  • Posted on: 12/26/2019

    Will we see AI’s impact on 2019 holiday results?

    2020 will be the year AI really starts to show big results or stalls for retailers. The McKinsey study shows promising business results for any retailer adopting AI. However, the study also calls out the real problems of employee adoption and cultural change. Any retailer moving aggressively into the use of AI better have an equally aggressive plan for employee change management and training. Without retailers considering AI's effects on employees, the employers will never achieve their desired results.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2019

    Are dirty sweaters treason to the reason for the season?

    The trend of bawdy holiday sweaters is only the next thing in the overall trend of over-the-top, distasteful or obscene products consumer can buy in-store or online. As societies change, so do norms. You can find many products with these type of themes and what is potentially offensive today may become mainstream tomorrow. Just look at the greeting cards you can buy at retailers today. Cards today are sometimes much more edgy and bawdy than a few years ago.
  • Posted on: 12/19/2019

    Will e-grocers learn to keep produce fresh?

    We all agree that consumers want really fresh, really good produce (and meats) from their e-grocer and their brick-and-mortar retailer. However, I wonder if there is some consumer bias to be more critical of e-grocer fresh products vs. in-store fresh products. I am not sure if anyone in the business has tried to conduct a study with consumers to determine whether consumers are fair and unbiased in their fresh quality judgements between the two channels. We have all shopped in retailers with great fresh produce and had to decide on a given day, with given product, which broccoli "looks best" to buy. I agree e-grocers need to continue to improve their fresh offerings, but maybe consumers are also too critical.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2019

    Bed Bath & Beyond’s CEO cleans house

    I say "as expected." In a tough retail environment with a failing retail brand, a new leader has to move fast. However, it is yet to be seen if a near total removal of an executive leadership team is the right thing to do in the short-term. I assume Mark Tritton has a plan, including new potential members for his executive team. In general, when a new CEO enters an organization, there are executive changes. Usually the changes result in the new CEO bringing in people the CEO is familiar with and trusts. We should watch for folks from companies Tritton has worked at in the past coming to the Bed Bath & Beyond leadership team.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2019

    CBD madness – at a supermarket near you

    Early adopters in the retail space are seeing the benefits of consumer awareness and incremental sales. I would guess that most consumers are unaware that food products with CBD are still not legal. (Especially since legalization of marijuana is happening state after state). I am sure consumers are confused by all the differing laws. The risks include retailers getting stuck with expensive CBD product inventories if the FDA steps up enforcement (and potential fines) and this enforcement can also lead to some of the CBD food companies going out of business. The retail business should move forward cautiously by only taking on very low level CBD products until the FDA issues more definitive guidelines.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2019

    Kroger and Walgreens are in a purchasing alliance and seeking more partners

    This is an excellent opportunity for two national retailers to join efforts sharing expertise, retail store space and use their combined buying clout. The partnership can have huge positives from faster innovation with private label, cost of goods reductions, reducing costs of non-resale goods (what you need to run the business), etc. Plus, there is an opportunity to bring together customer insights from the two companies that can be exponentially positive. In my past, I have been part of joint procurement agreements and the challenges are bringing together different company cultures and product specs to create equal value for the participating organizations. Who else might join the alliance? How about a major convenience store operator, national specialty foods distributor, national electronics retailer or a national home improvement retailer?

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