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: 11/22/2021

    Should Macy’s de-omnify?

    Members of RetailWire write all the time about removing silos to "free the shopper data" across retail organizations creating insights and actions. Were Macy's to split the company, creating silos, it would hurt their long-term success. The most successful retailers in the future will be the ones that make omnichannel retailing the foundational strategy of their company.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2021

    Is working in retail a real job?

    Retailers are great at understanding the consumer, but terrible at understanding the career goals of their employees! For many retailers, it is a struggle to get communications out to employees about long-term career opportunities. Smart retailers are "recruiting" their own employees through regular career communication, internships, opportunities in district or region roles, and provide a path into the retailer's office positions. If retailers don't do a better job of self-promoting their career opportunities the lack of retail talent will equate to less retail experience running their operations.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2021

    COVID-19 has put grocers and CPG brands through some changes

    Retailers and their trading partners must work closer together to use shoppers insights, digital assets, and compliment each others in their efforts to translate consumers into shoppers. Regardless of the channel, reducing friction (meaning reducing inefficiencies and mistrust) is critical for success. The pandemic has changed many ways of conducting business, but in the end one goal remains true, understanding what consumers want and how to meet their wants.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2021

    Retailers must centralize their data to thrive

    It is extremely critical for retailers to "connect the dots" between their data sources. For too long, retailers have allowed different management functions (merchandising, marketing, operations, etc.) to use their data in their management silos. The result is decisions made for the good of the silo, not for the holistic good of the business and the customer. Only when data and management silos are broken down will there be truly insightful data understanding and decisions. Retailers miss many great insights into the business and customers when they don't connect the data dots. This can be the difference between continued business success and failure.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2021

    Whole Foods goes all-in on centralized buying

    Centralized buying and merchandising creates many efficiencies. Reduced costs of operations and leveraging size for CPG negotiations are a couple of the big benefits. The risks include loss of local market understanding and acceptance of local brands. The keys to successful centralized buying and merchandising are a well trained team of retail experts, skilled use of analytics, and maintaining local relevance at the shelf.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2021

    Will American consumers push back against higher grocery prices?

    Regardless of higher grocery prices, we are headed for a very competition driven remainder of 2021. As we come out of the pandemic, every type of retailer will be aggressively promoting to get consumers back in the stores to spend. Retailers selling groceries will be no different. Look for more competitive ads, promotion programs, and increased ad spending. No one in grocery retailing is going to want to give up the gains they made in 2020.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2021

    Will a ‘skyscraper’ store change how groceries are delivered in cities?

    Vertical solutions for urban areas are an excellent idea. Smaller building footprint, less land costs and less transportation costs delivering product to the consumer. In a "back to the future" thought, way back in time when there were small, local wholesalers, many of them were multi-story buildings shuttling product up and down between floors to pick orders for local, urban independent grocers. The old West Coast Grocery Building still stands today in downtown Tacoma, Washington. The multi-story building is now part of the University of Washington Tacoma campus.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2021

    Why is gaining meaningful insights from data still so hard?

    To start, in many retail organizations there are multiple sources of data that don't work well together. Loyalty data, POS data, and syndicated data, to name a few. Each of these sources of data may be stored in different locations and not stitched together to create a holistic view of the retailer's business or the shopper. When an organization can get to the point of bringing all the data together, the skills of the retailer's merchandising and marketing teams become critical. Plus, there are competing views of how to execute against any insights. There needs to be retailer vision bringing the data, associates and analytical insights together. Only then can you get to efficient and effective strategies and tactics to execute at retail.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2021

    How much HQ space will disappear as hybrid work becomes a retailing thing?

    The challenge will be reaching a balance between in-person and remote work. Another challenge for retailers will be finding the balance between retailer work style needs and associates' work style wants. I have heard from many retailers and many employees over the last year who have realized working from home can be a success. When talking with retailers and employees, no one wants a 100 percent in-person or work-from-home model. A hybrid approach will be needed and wanted. The trick is finding the balance to meet the needs of all parties. In the end, retailers should welcome this approach. It can save money (downsizing work space) and maintain employee satisfaction (reducing turn-over).
  • Posted on: 03/11/2021

    Do Kroger’s chains have more to gain or lose from closing stores over ‘hero’ pay increases?

    Kroger is going to face some big blow-back on this over time. They can say whatever they want and try to point figures at local governments, but at the end of the day when Kroger posts huge sales and earnings gains there will be questions and bad public relations. I get these stores may be in "soft markets" for Kroger, but since when does Kroger just give up, pack up and go home? Someone should ask Kroger their position on raising the national minimum wage.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2021

    Target CEO says record-setting 2020 was no ‘fluke’

    Target's keys to success: 1.) Brian Cornell, 2.) Strategic focus on supply-chain and in-store experience, 3.) Understanding the shopper and meeting shopper needs head-on. Target is not perfect, but you have to give them credit for trying and staying focused on their strategic goals. Much of the credit for the focus goes to Brian Cornell. Target continues to invest in store remodels and the technology to efficiently run their business. They have differentiated themselves from competition creating Target branding that most consumers in the U.S. recognize and want. Target's biggest opportunity is to continue their momentum at being fresh and exciting in the eyes of the shoppers.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2021

    Will 7-Eleven’s beer and wine on tap be a c-store game changer?

    This is a novel idea, but I feel for the c-store associates that will have to deal with buzzed customers wandering around the store. I am interested to see how this works and if it will become a concept that "seemed like a good idea at the time."
  • Posted on: 02/08/2021

    Will same-day delivery pay off for dollar stores?

    It is quickly becoming evident that same-day delivery is becoming table stakes for any successful grocery, mass, drug or dollar retailer. With Amazon, Target and Walmart leading the way, the rest of food retailing will be required to keep-up. However once the pandemic is over, we will see if continued growth in same-day delivery is sustainable.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2021

    Who won this year’s Super Bowl ad contest?

    My picks:
    • Best Laugh - No Way Norway/General Motors;
    • Best Help Each Other - Let’s Grab a Beer/Anheuser-Busch;
    • Best We are Together - Bruce Springsteen - The Middle/Jeep;
    • Best Heart Tug - Jessica Long’s Story/Upstream/Toyota;
    • Best New Product Breakout - Dr. Squatch.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2021

    Are small brands eating big food’s lunch?

    Consumers have been looking for new and different brands for years. They are tired of the over-marketed, bland, mega brands they grew up with. Today's consumer wants more natural/organic items, more ethnic foods, and more diversity in what they buy. Smaller brands and private labels have answered these needs and wants through innovation, better understanding of the consumer and being more nimble. The mega CPGs can't continue to call a new flavor or scent an "innovation" in their product lines. Consumers want new, fresh, different and in many cases, better products. It has created the dynamic for many mega CPGs that the path to being innovative is to buy smaller brands vs. trying to change their organization culture.

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