PROFILE

Stephen Rector

Founder, President, Bakertown Consulting

Stephen Rector is an international retail executive and consultant, with extensive experience leading merchandise strategy, sourcing, pricing, and curation across a variety of channels, including ecommerce, mobile, physical stores, and digital marketplaces like Alibaba’s TMall & Taobao platforms, Tencent’s WeChat platform , as well as Amazon’s Marketplace.

His work across a broad set of categories has yielded accelerated growth for digital and physical retail business models in both North America and Asia.

Stephen has been a guest on Bloomberg TV’s Daybreak Asia & Daybreak Australia discussing ecommerce & digital trends from both a Chinese and American perspective. He has also been interviewed by Yahoo Finance & Reuters.

Currently, Stephen is working with a brand management company based in New York City developing their direct to consumer business & overall ecommerce business strategy.

Previously, Stephen helped establish Macy’s merchandise strategy and supply chain in China, creating a multimillion dollar international expansion business for the iconic American retailer and department store chain.

Prior to Macy’s China, Stephen led women’s merchandising for fast fashion retailer Rue21 and served in leadership positions at Macy’s Inc. in New York City.

His expertise and international business network spans across North America and Asia, helping companies build efficient global supply chains for fast fashion, navigate international customs for import & export, establish fashion & trend centers of excellence, recruit and develop talent, and deploy merchandise planning and forecasting tools.

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  • Posted on: 01/23/2020

    Will store closures worsen in 2020?

    There will be more store closures in 2020 and that's not a bad thing. Legacy retailers that are not evolving to meet customer needs will be forced to close. While store closures get a lot of headlines, what also is happening are new stores opening from DTC brands (Casper, Warby Parker etc.) and the off price chains that are offering what their customer wants.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2020

    Nike offers advice on successful marketplace partnerships

    I like Hogue's comment about "sticking to your guns." As a brand owner, you are responsible for making sure that your brand is being represented in the way you want on all platforms, whether you own them directly or are selling through another seller. If the platform isn't offering what you as a brand want (which is what it sounds like the case was for Amazon and Nike), then end the relationship.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2020

    What does Target’s Christmas miss mean?

    Target was going up against aggressive comps, particularly in toys with Toys "R" Us not being a player for Holiday 2018. The playing field got level set and they were flat on the category - not too bad in a very competitive category. With apparel continuing to be strong, I would say this is a blip and the comps should improve as we go into 2020.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2020

    Did Trump’s phase one deal with China deliver the goods for retailers?

    What hasn't been reported during this time of uncertainty and unease is the amount of time and energy companies have had to spend on creating multiple scenarios and "whatifs" - what if the tariffs go up 20 percent versus 15 percent, what can we absorb vs. pushing the cost to the customer etc. While you can't quantify the cost of the stress on a team to do this type of exercise, it has caused hours of frustration for many. Eliminate the tariffs and that is one less thing people have to worry about in an already volatile industry.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2020

    Will Walmart become a fashion destination in 2020?

    Walmart is trying very hard to become a fashion destination online and targeting a different customer online than they are in-store. They are providing a much better UX than Amazon and Target on telling their online customer what is the hot trend. By adding interesting and unique online only brands like Scoop and Sofia Vegara denim, they will continue to differentiate themselves from the other mass retailers online and I predict there will be more new brand launches coming soon.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

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

    Mark Tritton does not need to reinvent the wheel here - the fundamentals have been broken at Bed Bath & Beyond for a while, so while the five Ps may be familiar to everyone, they have not been the focus of the organization. Product is king and there is a lot of opportunity for editing and offering a more compelling assortment. But people are going to be crucial to the success of this as well - the customer experience must be improved for better results.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2020

    Pier 1 to close up to 450 stores as it faces uncertain future

    While I am very interested in seeing what will happen with Bed Bath & Beyond over the upcoming year with Mark Tritton at the helm, I am afraid that I don't have the same excitement with Pier 1. Even if they can emerge out of Chapter 11, the relevancy of the brand is lacking, especially among younger consumers. This looks like an uphill battle in my opinion.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2020

    Do alcohol and shopping mix?

    Alcohol and shopping are a great mix - just look to the new Nordstrom in NYC as a fine example, offering libations on every floor, including having the cocktails delivered to you in the shoe salon. Will the next thing be offering free drinks to loyal customers similar to what Southwest does in the air?
  • Posted on: 12/19/2019

    Should the CMO role be retired, reinvented or reemphasized?

    The traditional CMO role simply needs to evolve as the industry is evolving. Marketing is even more important now than ever before with brand building, it just happens to be occurring on different platforms, with different technology and with a different skillset. The winners will be the brands with CMOs that are not set in their ways and are looking at all of the new ways to market their brand to the target audience.
  • Posted on: 12/19/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Target vs. Walmart

    I understand why Walmart went the direction they did, but I got a feeling of family, unity and love with the Target ad as well and it felt much lighter. Plus the vibrant music and colors made it fun! Target it is!
  • Posted on: 12/18/2019

    Bed Bath & Beyond’s CEO cleans house

    The business has been struggling for quite some time, so Tritton needs to move quickly and get a team he creates himself to reinvent BB&B. This holiday season is essentially over, so it makes sense to clean house now versus wait until the next earnings call. Time is of the essence here!
  • Posted on: 12/17/2019

    The Beatles Play SoHo

    Soho is currently packed with tourists and I am sure many of them are Beatles fans. If successful, I see no reason why they wouldn't take the pop-up shop "on tour" and hit other markets. I say give the experience to all the Beatles fans - not just those located in NYC!
  • Posted on: 12/13/2019

    Is there any limit to how many stores Dollar General can open?

    I am interested in seeing the performance of stores in major metro areas -- if DGX is successful, there is a whole to runway of growth for them. I hope they continue to add fresh produce to more stores -- the "food desert" concept is a real thing and Dollar General needs to be part of solving that problem.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2019

    Will IHOP fans flip out over its new fast-casual breakfast foods concept?

    When I think of IHOP, I think of a treat for myself on the weekend when I have time to linger over a cup of coffee. Flip'd by IHOP is going to need to use some clever marketing to tell the customer that they have fast, "on the go" offerings to have current customers try the concept and to gain new ones.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2019

    Will same-day delivery make for a merry Old Navy Christmas?

    As we near the final days of the shopping season, will this make the consumer shift their dollars to Old Navy from another store? I don't see it happening. The only thing I see happening is a shift of sales from the Old Navy store to oldnavy.com.

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