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Marianne Wilson


Blog posts by this author

October 2019

Sometimes perception gets in the way of reality. Such is the case, I think, with the death of physical retail.

Articles by this author

January 2020

Basics Market sign

An emerging new retailer that blends a grocery store with a nutritionally-minded cooking school is opening another location. Basics, which was created  to help people cook more at home with fresh, regional ingredients and support local farme

Casey's General Store

Casey’s General Stores Inc. plans to add about 350 new locations during the next three years. The convenience store currently operates more than 2,200 stores in 16 states.

A former CEO of Walmart who later went on to own the Kansas City Royals baseball team has died at the age of 84. David Glass, who served as president and CEO of Walmart Inc.

Fleet Feet store

Fleet Feet is on the move. The specialty running shoe and apparel retailer will open its first store in the Dallas area, in Plano, in April, along with its third store in San Antonio. Once the Plano location opens, Fleet Feet will

Love's Travel Stop

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is bullish on 2020. The travel stop retailer plans to open up to 40 stores and add about  3,000 parking spots in 2020. The announcement follows a year during which Love’s opened its of 500th

Scott McCall

Walmart is making some changes to its leadership team.


Kirkland’s is closing some stores as part of a larger streamlining effort to transform its business to a more profitable model. 


7-Eleven is expanding its holdings in Oklahoma.

mens wearhouse

Tailored Brands is selling the Joseph Abboud trademarks to a brand acquisition firm for $115 million. 

wired store

A leading technology media brand has put down retail roots. 

Starbucks Corp. is expanding its commitment to operating stores in underserved urban and rural areas.

Bose store

High-end audio equipment maker Bose plans to dramatically reduce its brick-and-mortar footprint.

Sportsman's Warehouse Holdings is expanding into a new market.

dodow, Sleep Aid Device

Macy’s is encouraging consumers to “feel good” in the newest version of its ever-changing, narrative-driven in-store experiential concept. 

Tropical Smoothie Café

Tropical Smoothie Café had record growth in 2019 and it’s nowhere near being finished.

A major mall operator is accepting returns of online purchases at more locations.

Christmas shoppers

Holiday sales came in on the higher end of estimates by the National Retail Federation, but not all retail sectors shared in the good news.


Payless ShoeSource has emerged from bankruptcy protection with a plan to expand its global operations.

workforce management

Express is reducing the size of its workforce.


The current and former owner of Sears have settled a lawsuit that has been dragging on for months.

Target Times Square

Target Corp. surprised analysts by reporting sluggish holiday sales that missed the chain’s estimates.

PGA Tour Superstore

PGA Tour Superstore is adding more locations to its expanding store portfolio.

department store

Another dismal year for U.S. department stores will accelerate change in 2020.

A longtime Target exec is retiring.

trade war

President Donald Trump signed a partial trade agreement with China on Wednesday that marks the first step to curb the 18-month-plus trade war between the world’s largest economies.

walmart's shelf-scanning bot

Walmart is expanding its use of automated shelf-scanning inventory robot technology. 


The holiday season brought no cheer to GameStop.

H&M storefront

H&M is giving its shoppers another payment option.

global ecommerce

People are beginning to accept that robots or other artificial intelligence (AI) can perform certain tasks traditionally done by humans.

box delivered on front doorstep

Consumers are increasingly prioritizing convenience when it comes to purchases.

Only one in three stores were fully prepared in terms of holiday staffing.

google logo

Google is acquiring an Irish retail startup whose mission is “to make things better for local retailers.”

Bloom Energy Servers

Stop & Shop is deploying fuel cell technology that will reduce its environmental footprint while keeping stores open even during a power outage. 

Christmas presents

​​​​​​​Holiday sales for key general merchandise categories were disappointing despite a strong last-minute push.

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Build-A-Bear Workshop had plenty to cheer about on Tuesday.


Hudson’s Bay Company has ended its global search for president of its namesake division.

CVS Health will update a significant amount of stores to its HealthHUB format in 2020.

The economy is positioned for steady growth this year.

ny & co

RTW Retailwinds, whose portfolio includes the New York & Company and Fashion to Figure businesses, is taking action after a disappointing holiday season.

Urban Outfitters’ total holiday sales rose, fueled by strong growth at Free People. But its namesake division turned in a disappointing performance,

new wawa store format

Wawa has gone small.


Ross Stores is losing one of its longtime merchandising executives.

casper exterior

The online startup that pioneered the mattress-in-a-box concept and helped reenergize the entire mattress category has filed for an initial public offering.


A fast-growing sporting activity watched and played around the world is putting down roots in the largest shopping destination in the Southeast. 

Victoria’s Secret

L Brands’ sales fell in the crucial holiday shopping season amid the ongoing decline of its signature Victoria’s Secret brand.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond said it will reveal its strategic plan in early 2020 as it swung to a third-quarter loss with sales and earnings that missed Street expectations.

Target Corp. kicked off the new year by adding another owned-brand to its growing portfolio.

JC Penney exterior

J.C. Penney wasn’t able to stem the tide of declining same-store sales at department stores during the holiday season.


Lululemon athletica inc.’s first-ever chief brand officer brings a strong background in athletics to her new role.

store rendering

The dragon has landed — at least for the time being.

Kohl’s exterior

Kohl’s Corp. joined Macy’s and J.C. Penney in reporting a decline in holiday same-store sales.


A regional grocer has dethroned Trader Joe’s as the top grocer in the U.S.

The planned Harry Potter-themed “Wizarding World” experiential retail store in Manhattan’s Flatiron District may be dragon-less — at least on the exterior.

Macy’s Atlanta

Online sales and last-minute demand for gift items helped Macy’s Inc. turn in a holiday performance that was better than analysts were expecting.

Monthly CEO turnover in December jumped to the second-highest total on record. 

Marisa F. Thalberg

Lowe’s Companies appointed a veteran marketer who worked with a fast-food giant and several beauty powerhouses to a new role in its senior leadership team. 

Walgreens storefront

Walgreens Boots Alliance did not come running out of the gate in its first fiscal quarter as earnings tumbled amid international and pharmacy challenges. 

Sally Beauty Holdings wants a bigger piece of the beauty market.

Count on Target Corp. to be among the most dominant players of the year. 

holiday shoppers

The shortened holiday shopping calendar likely put a dent into in-store shopping traffic in December. 


The long-delayed and now partially-open American Dream retail and entertainment mega-center has apparently not had trouble attracting tenants.

MAcy's exterior

Macy’s is closing a store in its hometown.

Pier 1 storefront

Pier 1 Imports is significantly reducing the size of its store portfolio and corporate headcount as it seeks to cut costs and turnaround its ailing operations.


The battle to take Hudson’s Bay, whose banners include Saks Fifth Avenue, is apparently over.

Woman with shopping bag in New york City

Visitors planning to attend NRF 2020: Retail’s Big Shop in New York should carve out some time to take in the city’s newest retail stars.


The chief executive of Roots Canada has left the company.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has entered into an agreement to sell approximately half its real estate as it looks to generate capital. 

The year 2019 saw the highest number of job cuts in the U.S. in four years even as the nation maintained a low unemployment rate. 

A fast-growing online mattress brand has opened its first physical location.

Avon Products

Natura &Co is set to close its acquisition of Avon Products on Jan. 3, and has appointed a new senior team to drive the company’s growth.

Save A Lot

The new year brought some good news to Save A Lot.

The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards

The rise of mega-projects such as Hudson Yards and American Dream is one of five trends that defined 2019 and could have a crucial impact in 2020.

As the new year settles in, so do new leaders at many of the nation’s leading chains. 

cvs sign

CVS Pharmacy has launched a limited-time offering to promote its prescription delivery program. 

gift card in Santa's hand

Get ready for another shopping holiday.

A whopping 1.9 million is the number of return packages that UPS predicted it would process on Jan. 2, National Returns Day.

The convenience store industry is feeling bullish about 2020 but remains mindful of potential issues that could impact its performance. 

It’s only January but spring is in the air at Lowe’s Companies.

The battle to take Hudson’s Bay private drags on.

Instagram’s U.S. growth rate is on the decline even as ad spending on the platform is soaring. 

December 2019

looking forward to the future

Retailers can expect e-commerce growth to continue to accelerate in 2020. 

Doug McMillon

The chief executive of the nation’s largest retailer has taken on the chairmanship of a high-profile pro-business coalition.

The New Year brought with it with minimum wage hikes in a total of 26 states and the District of Columbia.


The ending of 2019 brought with it two new chief executive appointments.

In the not-too-distant future, shoppers at Amazon Go stores may be able to use just a wave of their hands for cashless payments. 

returning box

Fifty-two percent of consumers have abandoned an online purchase out of fear of a difficult return process.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow will take the stage at the National Retail Federation’s 109th annual convention — NRF 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show in New York City — in January.

shopper with bags

Retail same-store sales posted an estimated 1.9% growth during the past 10 years.

Ashley Buchanan

The Michaels Companies has named its second CEO in just two months.

amazon box

Amazon is one of the first retailers out of the gate to report a happy holiday.

holiday shoppers

It’s looking as if retailers got the happy holiday that they were expecting — despite having six fewer days to complete their shopping.

smoking cigarette

It is now illegal to sell tobacco products — including e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges — to anyone under the age of 21.


At least six lawsuits have reportedly been filed in the wake of a data breach that exposed the credit and debit card information of Wawa customers.

christmas gift

Retailers were mostly successful when it came to keeping their holiday shipping promises. 

returning box

Retailers and shippers this holiday season will handle more returns than ever of goods bought online.

BJ’s storefront

BJ’s Wholesale Club has tapped an insider as its next chief executive.

Forever 21

Forever 21 has hired a marketing expert to lead its efforts to redefine and transform its brand.

David’s Bridal exterior

David's Bridal has appointed its first-ever chief digital experience.

A frustrating experience can significantly damage brand loyalty.


A wildly popular Italian-themed marketplace that combines retail and dining experiences is headed to Silicon Valley.


Ulta Beauty has reorganized its top leadership — by promoting from within — in a move the company said was designed to position it for long-term growth and market share capture.

digital receipt

Consumers want a digital receipt option.

walmart sign

Walmart has added dedicated, full-time positions to tackle its ambitious store remodeling program.

The new CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond is cleaning house just six weeks into the job — and in the middle of the holiday season.

Meijer shopping spree winner

Meijer likes to surprise customers around the holidays. The Midwest retailer played Santa and surprised an unsuspecting customer at every one of its 247 stores – in just one day – with a $1,000 Meijer shopping spree to help make the hol


Resale retail is hot —particularly when it comes to sneakers.  In a move to dominate the multibillion-dollar sneaker-resale industry, eBay  announced it is eliminating fees for North American sellers of any sneaker sold for $100 or more

Hibbett storefront

The former CEO of City Gear is now running a much larger company. Hibbett Sports has named Michael E. Longo as president and CEO, effective December 16.

female holiday shopper

Consumers still have plenty of holiday shopping to do.

Two jewelers are sharing the same roof.  Jared opened a new concept store in collaboration with digitally native James Allen.

family shopping for christmas gifts

Total retail sales have risen 3% so far this holiday season (Nov. 1-Dec. 6).

Hudson’s Bay Co

The battle to take Hudson’s Bay Company private drags on.

A retailer/manufacturer known for its bean bag chairs and pillows is expanding its drive toward inclusivity.

Retail sales advanced at a snail’s pace in November as consumers cut back on spending.

The troubled Kate Spade brand is looking for a new chief executive to get the brand back on track.

RH (formerly known as Restoration Hardware) continues to blur the lines between hospitality and retailing.

Neighborhood Goods Chelsea Market interior

Neighborhood Goods has brought its department store of the future model to the Big Apple. The company opened its second location to date, a 4,500-sq.-ft.

A website outage that occurred over Thanksgiving weekend took a bite out of Costco Wholesale’s first quarter sales.

The U.S. and China announced Friday they have reached a phase one trade deal that includes some tariff relief.

KFC has unveiled a new urban inline restaurant design in the Bronx, New York.

executives walking

Chief executives across industries are leaving their posts at record rates. 

Walmart is losing one of its top digital executives.

Retailers should look at returns as an opportunity to jump-start 2020 sales.

Tailored Brands has named its first-ever chief customer officer.

GameStop Corp. got no relief in its third quarter with sales and earnings that fell well short of analysts’ expectations. Same-store sales plunged 23.2%.

DSW shopper

Designer Brands Inc. the owner of DSW and other footwear banners, reported third-quarter profit that missed expectations and cut its guidance. 

grocery shopper

The U.S. tariffs imposed on China have already cost the average American household $600 per year.

The Beatles are getting on board the pop-up shop express.  


Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings has tapped a company veteran as chief executive. 

Stuart Haselden

The chief executive of Away is resigning following a scathing report into the company’s culture. 

Ann Taylor

Ascena Retail Group’s profit rose in its first quarter as the retailer said it is encouraged by “winds” in the business.

Boot Barn sees plenty of room to grow its store count. 

Tropical Smoothie Café

Tropical Smoothie Café has its sights set on Colorado.

Hudson next-gen store concept

Hudson has revamped its retail format.

Lord & Taylor is popping up in Manhattan for the holidays.

winter storm

A winter storm in the Northeast took a big bite out of shopping in stores during the holiday weekend.

Lululemon athletica inc.’s COO and executive VP, international, is taking a “leadership position” outside the apparel industry.

Shoppers can buy goods that are made before their eyes in an innovative new retail concept at Industry City, the sprawling 6 million-sq.-ft. mixed-use complex in Brooklyn, New York.

Let’s Pave has announced the hiring of three new employees to help lead its growing sales team and accounting department.

Matt Beall

The great grandson of the founder of Beall’s has taken the reins of the family-owned retail chain.

Anchor Shops

A new startup wants to make it easy for digitally native brands to enter the physical space by significantly lowering the costs associated with customer acquisition, leasing and operating stores, shipping product and handling returns.

New York & Co

RTW Retailwinds is closing some stores as it continues to “actively evaluate” its store portfolio.

As the grocery wars intensify, Walmart is not only focusing on online delivery but also is refreshing the look and feel of its in-store experience in produce.


Ulta Beauty reported better-than-expected earnings for its third quarter even as its sales fell short of estimates amid ongoing weakness in a core category.

David Yurman has opened an expansive jewelry boutique — and the only family-owned business — on one of Manhattan’s most luxurious blocks. 

H-E-B is expanding its presence in one of the fastest-growing markets in Texas.

Big Lots

Big Lots beat analysts’ expectations in its third-quarter and sounded an optimistic note about the coming year.

The first week of December saw several changes/additions in retail C-suites. Here’s a recap.

Hal Lawton

The nation’s largest rural lifestyle retailer has ended its search for a chief executive.

Target Times Square

Target Corp. is extending its presence in the Big Apple.


The Michaels Companies reported third-quarter earnings and sales that fell below analysts’ estimates and lowered its guidance for the fourth quarter and full year.

Kroger customer

The Kroger Co. is divesting the natural and organic food chain that it has helped grow during the past two years.

express exterior

Express managed to beat Street estimates for its top and bottom line as the company continues its turnaround efforts.

Rent the Runway’s latest partner is a hotel giant.

Dollar General storefront

Dollar General Corp. on Thursday reported its best quarterly same-store sales rise in nearly five years along with increases on both its top and bottom lines.

Karl Walsh

J.C. Penney has appointed a dedicated digital officer.


J.Jill is looking for a new chief executive.

Macy’s is partnering with a first-of-its-kind venture capital fund on a new in-store initiative.

Not all customers are keen on loyalty programs. Thirty-eight percent of customers generally avoid participating in retail loyalty programs, according to a report by CFI Group and Radial.  Of that group, 53% say they don’t sign up becaus

Glossier sign

A direct-to-consumer beauty brand with a cult following is going offline — at least for  a while. Glossier will open seven pop-ups at select Nordstrom stores, including its new flagship in New York, CNBC reported. The tie

Canada Goose has taken experiential retailing to new heights.

albert heijn cashierless store

Ahold Delhaize is testing grab-and-go technology. The supermarket giant opened a “digital” store under its Albert Heijn banner at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

Global retail markets will deliver mixed results in 2020. That’s according to a new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, which found that in volume terms, sales growth will slow in 2020 compared with 2019, but in U.S.

Shopper with smartphone

Digital commerce revenue was up 15% over last year during Cyber Week, ringing in at a record $31 billion.

Ikea U.S. wants to remove waste from its reverse supply chain as part of its commitment to build a circular business. Ikea U.S. is partnering with Optoro, a provider of returns optimization technology.

Publix Greenwise interior

Publix Super Markets is expanding its revamped organic and natural foods concept, GreenWise Market.  GreenWise Market has opened a new store in Lexington, South Carolina, at the Lexington Marketplace. It is the fifth GreenWise

Yankee Candle storefront

The Yankee Candle Company wants to be known as a leader in home fragrance, not just a candle company. The iconic candle brand debuted a new store concept at Natick Mall, Natick, Mass., that features an untraditional merchandising strategy and an

Casper delivery box

Casper has made two important hires amid its ongoing expansion across channels, including brick and mortar.  The digitally native mattress retailer has appointed Emilie Arel as president and chief commercial officer.

The online giant said that Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day in its history, based on the number of items ordered worldwide.

The Catalyst Capital Group Inc.’s unsolicited bid for Hudson’s Bay Co. has been turned down.

J.Crew Group is proceeding with its plan to spin-off its fast-growing denim brand as a public company.

Cyber Monday tablet screen

A late-night spending spree gave a big boost to Cyber Monday sales.  Based on data from Adobe Analytics, a record $9.4 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday, an increase of 19.7% over last year, making it th

A record 189.6 million U.S. consumers shopped (combined, in stores and online) from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, according to a report by National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Luxury health club operator Life Time has opened a massive complex that includes a three-story “athletic resort” at Simon’s Southdale Center.

Consumers were in a spending mood for the official kick-off of the holiday shopping season. Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, consumers spent an estimated average of $504, with 50$ spending more than last year, setting the stage for a strong season,

destination maternity storefront

A brand acquisition and licensing firm has made an offer to buy the brand name, online business and other intellectual assets of Destination Maternity for approximately $50 million.  The bankrupt retailer announced it has made a motion to ap

Cyber Monday tablet screen

Cyber Monday is on its way to keeping its title as the biggest online shopping day of the year.

New Look Vision logo

 The largest retail optical company in Canada is expanding its market reach. New Look Vision Group has entered into an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Miami-based Coco Lunette Holding, which does   busi

order online button with cart

Shoppers made history shopping online on Black Friday. Black Friday shoppers spent $7.4 billion online, the second largest online shopping day ever, according to Adobe Analytics.

holiday mall shoppers

There is more evidence that Black Friday is losing its attraction — among store shoppers, that is. Shopper visits to brick-and-mortar stores and shopping centers dropped 6.2% on Black Friday versus last year, according to data from ShopperTrak (p

holiday shoppers

More than half of Black Friday purchases were with brands shoppers had never previously purchased from. That’s according to data from retail marketing tech company Bluecore, which found that 54% Black Friday purchases were made by first time-buye

The Kroger Co. is entering the meal-delivery business via a fast-growing new trend. The nation’s largest supermarket retailer launched a partnership with ClusterTruck, a software platform that powers delivery-only kitchens.

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