Paula Rosenblum

Managing Partner, RSR Research

Paula Rosenblum is co-founder and Managing Partner at RSR Research and is widely recognized as one of the industry’s top retail technology analysts. She has been selected as one of the “Top 50 Retail Technology Influencers” from 2014 -2018. She also writes a blog for Forbes and is frequently quoted in other major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, NPR Marketplace and many others. She serves on the advisory board of three consumer goods import companies.

Previous to her years as an analyst, she spent over 20 years as a retail technology executive and CIO at companies including iParty, Hit or Miss, Morse Shoe, Domain Home Fashions and others.

Paula received her MBA in 1991 from Northeastern University, with a major in management of High Technology firms and was nominated to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. She’s active in a variety of organizations supporting human growth and development, and in particular has been involved with the RetailROI charity since its earliest days.

Other Links from Paula Rosenblum:

RSR Research blog

  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    Two different questions: Will consumers find this appealing? Yes. Will restaurant owners turn a profit? Probably not.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Is the future of retailing going dark?

    It's a math problem. "Dark stores" vs. "distribution center" implies much higher rents. If the additional revenue offsets the additional cost, then it's fine. I could also see using a second floor of a "light store" (vs. dark) for fulfillment. I think the bottom line is retailers need to become more agile and flexible. Maybe in "normal times" the store is traditional, and in periods when delivery and pick-up are more important, go dark. One way or another, technology is going to be required to make this a profitable endeavor.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Will dollar stores be the biggest post-COVID-19 winners?

    Dollar stores and off-price chains like TJX and Ross.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Retail ensnared in nationwide protests

    Well, there was a time when only a very few retailers and brands embraced the LGBT community. Then with leaders like American Express, American Airlines and Subaru, out in the front lines companies started realizing that they were leaving real money on the table. So from a purely capitalist perspective, it's a good idea to be sympathetic to equal rights for all. That doesn't mean any of us should support looters, whoever they might be (and that's its own rather big question). From a humanistic perspective, it's awful all the way around. A little bit of consolation is a good thing.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    I think the CDC should create some kind of protocol and then have inspectors make sure those protocols are followed. Just like restaurants are inspected and graded. This is a public health problem. It should be treated as such. This is my story and I'm sticking to it. Retailers are not epidemiologists, and district managers are not health inspectors.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    Should Apple and other stores require shopper temperature checks?

    It's not perfect, but it's a start. Based on behavior seen on beaches over the weekend (we were totally rained out in southern Florida, so I can't comment on here), people really do need adult supervision. Too bad we don't have an instant test. That would be a better call, but we don't.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2020

    Who wins/loses if Amazon pushes Prime Day to September?

    Well, moving Prime Day to September will make it even more an early holiday shopping buy event. Bargain hunting consumers will go looking for something cheap. What do I expect Amazon's rivals to do in July? What retailers always did in July to bring customers off the beach. Run promotions on excess stock (there's gotta be a lot of it) to drive traffic, or just take it easy (my father literally used to close for the month). Because it's not even clear if colleges will be on premise or telesessions, I'm not even clear that dorm room supplies and technology will sell. September will show a lot more action, especially in apparel.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

    Was the $3.3 billion Walmart spent on worth it?

    I do think the acquisition has paid off for Walmart, along with the other investments the company made in creating a robust e-commerce operation. At the end of the day, it appears Walmart was the most successful retailer out there during the lockdown. I don't think Mr. McMillon gives himself enough credit, however. It has been his policies, much less arrogant and worker-appreciative than his predecessors that have made Walmart less of a pariah for higher-end customers. I'm not sure I'm ready to handle a Walmart store, but during the pandemic I found the company to have far more reliable inventory than its peers, including the vaunted Amazon. I was a tough sell, personally, but I'm now sold. Opportunity for further gain is in cleaning up the stores. But I wouldn't want to see Walmart lose its core customer, either.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2020

    Can Target afford to pay (not pay) a $15 minimum wage?

    Target will continue. The company's biggest problem isn't its employees, it's the inventory management system. Having used their grocery delivery via Shipt and having had the shopper send me photos of empty shelves though the website indicated otherwise, I had firsthand experience. All the walking around costs profit. It's a crazy time to recommend this in some ways, but I think Target has to make some major tech investments FAST. Whether that be in mini-fulfillment centers or better short-term forecasting systems, the profits are being sucked out the window. Employees are totally important in this COVID-19 age. Paying them is good, and an incentive. Helping them help the customers is even better!
  • Posted on: 05/19/2020

    Has the pandemic transformed Walmart into an unstoppable force?

    I was surprised at how good the company's in-stock position was compared to both regional and mammoth competitors (Amazon). And so hell froze over and Walmart became my first choice when I ordered merchandise, not just in grocery, but other categories too. I like its treatment of its employees, I like its in-stock position, I like the honesty. Good job and they've won me over.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2020

    Is Amazon about to buy J.C. Penney?

    The stores are the value.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2020

    Is Amazon about to buy J.C. Penney?

    Walmart just won the lockdown -- which kind of proves that while we talk about "last mile" issues, Walmart has solved the "all the other miles" issue and, and has a really great supply chain. As necessary, for the short term, they can throw bodies at getting the last mile done. So if Amazon is going to J.C. Penney for clothing and more, I think it's a good idea. Stores matter. Dark ones and light ones. If they're just doing it for the apparel, not so much. One does wonder what happens to its Kohl's deal if the buy happens, though.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2020

    What has made Walmart a shutdown star? has made me a believer. Outperformed Amazon and any other retailer. Stores matter. They have leveraged their stores and distribution network to a great advantage.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2020

    Neiman Marcus must survive both bankruptcy and COVID-19

    The Business of Fashion has devoted many articles to this. Luxury has issues for sure. A season has already been lost, with likely another to follow. I also worry about long term trading down by consumers.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2020

    How should indie retailers prepare to reopen under the now normal?

    I think consumers are going to cleave even more towards independent retailers, particularly for apparel. Malls are going to be problematic for some time and social distancing will prove challenging. So I think this is a great opportunity for the independent retailer to shine and gather more sales. It goes without saying that guidelines should be followed and employees should be trained and serious about the situation. Along with that, the floor should be open and sales-ready. For sure. This time is creating community, and a community-owned retailer will have an advantage.

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