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.

  • Posted on: 03/27/2020

    Can Nike’s coronavirus playbook work for others?

    Being a global company is an advantage during this type of crisis for a couple of reasons - Nike can learn from how the business in China changed as stores closed, people shifted to online, etc. and apply those lessons to the business they conduct in other countries. With China open, they also have revenue coming in while the rest of the world is basically closed. Companies must continue to think globally as we move forward once this ends.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2020

    The coronavirus will accelerate retail’s ‘collapse of the middle’

    A big problem is inventory - the inventory that is sitting in closed stores isn't getting any better with age and on top of that, there are goods sitting in ports that have no place to go. Who wins here? The off-price stores are going to have a field day once things reopen as they will have first dibs on a lot of great product that the other retailers can't take in or, in the worst case, from stores that are no longer in business.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2020

    Costco acquisition brings white glove delivery and white good service in-house

    Makes a lot of sense to me - especially as Costco's penetration in e-commerce lags others. As the customer continues to shift towards e-commerce, this acquisition can help accelerate the growth they are getting in-store currently.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2020

    Will GameStop lose more than it wins keeping stores open during the coronavirus outbreak?

    I have no words for this - it's a terrible decision in my opinion. The thought of calling GameStop essential retail right now is insane. And I agree with others, they are going to be forced to close anyway - either through media shame or the government. Hopefully soon.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2020

    Will Lands’ End have a better experience inside of Kohl’s than it did at Sears?

    This marriage sounds like a good one for both - but I agree with other comments - Kohl's has to keep this as a separate "shop" in-store for the Lands' End product to truly shine. What will be interesting to see is what in-house or national brands will have to be pulled back for Lands' End products to replace. The Kohl's customer's wallet isn't going to get any bigger.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2020

    Retailers act to protect seniors from coronavirus shopping chaos and contamination

    Yes, absolutely. Where a company can help, they should do so in a situation like this - no questions asked.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2020

    Publix gets more personal with its new, free club membership

    Publix has always put the customer first and the quality of their produce and prepared foods is much better than their local competition. Club Publix will continue to add to their dominance in the Southeast.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2020

    Can Lassie save the mall?

    Most people feel their dogs are part of their family, so retailers should embrace this concept where appropriate. It’s another way to put the customer first in determining company policy. Customers do need to be responsible for their dogs while in-store and should consider the dogs' behavior prior to bringing them along on a shopping trip!
  • Posted on: 03/05/2020

    Study says retailers could stand a little more sunny or snowy weather

    Weather absolutely has a direct correlation with the performance of certain categories (i.e. outerwear and cold weather merchandise) and retailers would be smart to do geo-targeted marketing ahead of big storms in specific regions to be ahead of their competition. While it won’t save a retailer's results, it’s actually a way they can manage erratic weather patterns.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2020

    Target thinks small to succeed big time

    Living in Manhattan, to have the Target experience that I was accustomed to in other cities but in a smaller format has been great. The curation of assortment to the location is critical to the success of this format.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2020

    Are strip centers where it’s at for Macy’s and Sephora?

    Strips malls are where the people are so it makes sense to put store locations there. With that being said, what's inside of the stores still matters - if Macy's isn't improving their merchandise assortment and customer service, then they will not succeed.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2020

    7-Eleven’s new store concept is an ‘Evolution’ in convenience

    7-Eleven is doing a good job of pushing forward with new and different concepts. Especially if Amazon Go ever takes off, competition will become stiff. Better to be ahead of the curve than behind it, so kudos to them for that. The Evolution concept definitely has viability, what will be interesting to see is how they can localize it to the specific cities they roll out in.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2020

    What will it take to fix J.C. Penney’s shrinking sales problem?

    The squeeze on the "middle" of retail is a real thing and J.C. Penney is one of its biggest casualties. At this point, I don't even know if a radical reinvention would change the course for the company. Agree 100 percent with Steve's final point - that type of guidance for 2020 does not bode well for the company's turnaround.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2020

    Will coffee subscriptions raise some dough for Panera?

    This absolutely makes sense. My guess is that this will cause their members to buy other items more often which increases the lifetime value of these customers. Another way to increase loyalty to Panera!
  • Posted on: 02/28/2020

    Will a new subscription program be Walmart’s winning answer to Amazon Prime?

    I believe the gas discounts are a game changer -- especially for those in the “fly-over” states. In rural America, where Walmart is king, I can actually see people switching from Prime over to this option. I am from the rural Midwest and gas discounts are a big deal. Smart move by Walmart again.

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