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Neil Schwartz

President, SBRnet, Inc
Neil Schwartz is the President of SBRnet, a leading supplier of data on sports business, sports marketing, and sports management and analysis for the academic marketplace. With more than 26 years of research and consumer insight experience, Neil has 17-plus-years focused specifically on the sports and active lifestyles business categories working across a variety of applications focused on the financial sector as well as various corporate applications. Neil is frequently called on by leading manufacturers, retailers, trade associations, and various financial organizations to help them better understand the trends shaping consumers' buying habits, and to provide detailed marketing insights for various products and services related to both consumer discretionary and all related categories. Neil is frequently called on to provide expert analysis and commentary on retail and consumerism as it related to the sports and fitness markets. Prior to buying SBRnet, he founded TGP Insights and was was Vice-President of Market Insights and Bus Dev. at SportsOneSource and prior to that was the Director of Research and Business Development for Sports Marketing Surveys.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2021

    Would a skyscraper on top of Macy’s NYC flagship reach in the right direction?

    This is a great way for Macy's to capitalize on what might be one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world. The question does remain, if they build it will people come? Right now, the issues at Hudson Yards with respect to retail traffic and activity has to concern developers.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Do retailers need ‘trickle up economics’ to beat COVID-19?

    I could not agree more. How many times do we have to watch "trickle down" strategies fail before we change the play? Mark Cuban recently outlined a great plan to get money into the hands of consumers that has to be infused back into the economy rather than just saving the money and not helping to activate the economy. Look at what China has been doing. They have been giving consumers a special 45 percent off coupon weekly that can only be used with restaurants or other retail situations. The coupon is good for four days only and then is void. A new one is issued every week for the immediate future. In Mark Cuban's scenario, the government would issue consumers money (I added the debit card idea) that can only be used specifically to activate our consumer-based economy. The debit card idea makes it hard for anyone to use the money for anything else.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2020

    Will shoppers go to the mall because Simon says it’s okay?

    If you open it, they still might not come. According to the Prosper Consumer data from April, 2020, 15% of adults 18 years and older have said they will not be shopping in malls any time soon. That number actually jumps up to just over 17% for Gen-Z consumers and back to the market average for Millennials. When you pile on the fact that online/e-commerce will be seeing close to a 30% increase in the number of shoppers, it does not paint a very positive picture for shopping malls in the US. If we look at the recently released Prosper China data, the Chinese consumers also don't seem overly anxious to shop in shopping malls as about 60% of adult Chinese consumers are taking a kind of wait and see posture. While the guidelines are laid out to get the economy re-started, it's going to take more than just we're open to get them to shop in malls.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2020

    How should stores reopen?

    I don't have to quote all the numbers coming from everyone about how the retail environment is about to change. I do have one question though. Once apparel or even footwear retailers re-open their doors, how will trying on shoes and clothing be handled? Shoes have socks or some stores require the thin peds, so if there is a way to enforce, then I see that maybe working. But Apparel is another story. How will that be handled? Personally, I have no idea how I would ever buy any apparel from a B&M store knowing that the person that may or may not have tried on a pair of pants or shirt may or may not have been tested or even cared.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2020

    Are retailers nimble enough to give consumers what they need and want right now?

    It does not appear as though retailers are able to scale or implement fast enough to meet consumer demand during the crisis. According to the April data release from Prosper Insight and Analysis, 48 percent of consumers that have used BOPIS are not satisfied because they are not getting the things that want and are not able to get them on a timely basis. In addition, with over 13 percent more Americans indicating they are using BOPIS services, tight retailer margins are being tested.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Will ‘five pillars’ provide the foundation Bed Bath & Beyond needs to succeed?

    Developing a favorable customer view of Bed Bath & Beyond is hardly the foundation they need to reverse their current problems. According to the most recent data release from Prosper Insights and Analytics, Bed Bath & Beyond is facing an uphill battle when it comes to re-establishing itself as a key retail player in the category. There are a number of challenges including stiff competition from other traditional brick and mortar retailers and various e-commerce sites. Bed Bath & Beyond had its biggest drop in market share from 9/1/19 - 10/1/19 which in fact has been at their lowest market share percentage in the past 48 months. The chain has still not been able to get back to baseline levels anytime during 2019. Prosper’s final monthly report in 2019 showed a decline in overall market share. If we look at retail share of preference for linens and other related household goods, Bed Bath & Beyond is losing market share to a variety of retailers including Walmart, Amazon, Kohl’s and Macy’s to a lesser extent. The Prosper data has also pin-pointed another issue in that yearly spending for linens and related products by Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers is actually -7 percent below the average spend for all adult consumers in the same category. That is not a positive sign as they are losing market share within the category and also losing in terms of spend by each consumer, which is one challenge that will be harder to reverse. The Prosper data also shows clearly that Bed Bath & Beyond has an age problem on top of the share and spending challenge. Market share among Millennials is -28 percent below their older 35+ adults, and they are also -14 percent below the market average when it comes to market share for Bed Bath & Beyond. Gen-Z consumers are heading in the same direction.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2020

    Will 3-D printing tech change the footwear industry?

    3-D printing is already making its mark on the footwear industry. The problem is that it has been proven difficult to reach any sort of scale. Just the fact that Adidas is closing their Speedfactories that included 3-D printing for a variety of applications should send all of the signals you need.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    Are return rates out of control?

    The interesting question is -- should we care about a high rate of returns? As long as the net-net effect of growing e-commerce sales stay positive, then I say let it be what it is. In the end it's all a "numbers" game and if that is what it takes to makes the numbers then so be it. My only caveat would be, what are the unintended consequences of returns like overhead and inventory shifts?
  • Posted on: 11/08/2019

    Gap Inc.’s CEO steps down. What comes next?

    According to data from Prosper Insight and Analytics, there is little to no growth for adults 18+ for Gap and Old Navy -- they are stale concepts that aren’t growing. Gap is wedded to malls, Old Navy in strip shopping centers. Costs keep rising but their place in customer preference is not growing. The CEO bailed out of the ship at what appears to be just in time. It's going to take more than just replacing the CEO to get this ship righted.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    How high will the holiday retail sales ball bounce in 2019?

    I still feel that until we reach Retail Equilibrium in terms of stores closing, it is hard to feel overly optimistic. While more and more brick and mortar retail appears to be growing at a more specialty level, big box and department stores will struggle, and until that is all resolved, confusion and negative sentiment will continue to drive things. With all that said, I am thinking that we may eke out 3-4% y/y for the holiday retail season. The previous point about no government shutdown will loosen things up for government and related workers.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2019

    Will bringing the outdoors inside stores work for J.C. Penney?

    There is so much wrong here, it's hard to know where to start. First, J.C. Penney needs to learn about the outdoor enthusiast/consumer. Talk is cheap. Aside from Adidas, which has small market share in outdoor across the board, these brands don't offer any sort of credibility. What sort of process was used to determine which brands they wanted to pair with? This is a perfect example of where third-party data could have help them decide which brands would be their best bets for merchandising and partnerships. Where are the outdoor influencers shopping? Answer: not J.C. Penney. Last for this post but not for my thoughts on this, walk into any J.C. Penney store, (which I happened to do over the weekend). I'm just saying, wanting to start selling to more of an outdoor-oriented consumer is just talk. How about dressing their own employees to look the part? As I said earlier, there is so much wrong here.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2019

    Will Jockey inspire brand loyalty with its very first pop-up shop?

    The problem with brands like Jockey is that it is hard for them to write a new story when their old story is so dominant. Younger consumers are writing their own stories with brands like Third Love, Pink and even LULU versus aligning themselves to what I would term a "legacy brand." The only exception to this lately has been Champion, but they have been able to successfully use influencers to cross over into more of a streetwear vibe.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2019

    Simple answers to fix retail’s loyalty marketing mess

    Michael, I could not agree more. Data for data's sake is useless. I would add one more point. Data from loyalty programs give you great insight to people that you already know and have already done business with you. Adding the right 3rd party data can expand the decision power of that data to help you find the customers that look like they should be in your loyalty program, but are not for one reason or another.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    It's far from perfect, but at least it's something and something is better than nothing.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    Walmart has done the right thing. While this is far from a perfect solution, it is at least something. I always say that perfect is the enemy of "done" and at least Walmart and now Kroger have done something to try and curb the gun violence. The next step has to come from the grassroots and hopefully this is the start of other corporations taking a more responsible approach. Dick's Sporting Goods was one of the first and it will be interesting to see who else decides to make some sort of policy change.
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