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Marianne Wilson



October 2019

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


July 2020

Raley’s has opened a specialty store concept focused on organics, nutrition and education — and sustainability.

DHL Express is taking its services on the road.

Gap Inc. is going national with a new business-to-business division selling face masks. 

Janet Hayes

Crate & Barrel has named a new chief executive — its fourth in six years.

Levi Strauss & Co. swung to a second-quarter loss as its stores and most wholesale doors were closed for most of the period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retail inventory valuations bounced back quickly to surprising health levels quickly in May and June.

The COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking infection control technologies and products in public restrooms.

Retailers want all state governors to mandate face mask wearing in their respective states.

J.C. Penney has revealed more details about its store closing plans.

The American Cleaning Institute has published a free online toolkit for small businesses and offices looking to learn more about how to clean and disinfect against COVID-19.

Amazon is making more inroads into physical retail.

Online sales growth is set for another big gain this year, boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sally Beauty

Sally Beauty Holdings is encouraged by initial results for its fiscal third quarter.

Lucky Brand Dungarees is hoping that a new owner will help revive its sagging fortunes.

Consumers are getting more and more comfortable buying groceries online.  

Tailored Brands Inc. has been given some — but not much — breathing room as it struggles to manage its debt amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The largest mall in the Caribbean has found a way to ensure that the number of shoppers complies with government guidelines regain the confidence of consumers that it's safe to enter, shop and dine.

The nation's chief executives are feeling a bit more confident these days, but their mood is still grim.

Two supermarkets in Manhattan are using a solution that combines indoor GPS with mobile checkout to minimize shopping time and reduce social interactions.

Neela Montgomery

The chief executive of Crate & Barrel is moving on.

While the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic may already be easy, don’t expect a fast recovery.

Americans’ love affair with Chick-fil-A continues.

It’s a rare bill these days that is introduced by senators from both parties.

Citi Trends stores are back in business with sales exceeding expectations.

Taubman Centers has reopened doors across its global portfolio. 

With nearly all its stores reopened, Macy’s expects a gradual recovery after posting a big loss for the first quarter when its stores went dark due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walmart is getting into the movie business — sort of.

CBL & Associates has gotten a little more time to work out a debt deal. 

Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Co., said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit.

Chicken Salad Chick is expanding in Illinois.

Mimi E. Vaughn

Genesco Inc. is giving its president and CEO another title.

Apple is re-closing more stores, including 15 in California, in states where COVID-19 is surging.

June 2020

Technology companies, led by a U.S. digital commerce giant, dominated an annual ranking of the world's most valuable brands.

From new layouts to low-touch display innovations, reconfiguring stores to ensure customers’ safety and well-being has become a top priority amid the COVID-19 crisis.

U.S. consumers want businesses to step up their hygiene and safety measures.  

The show must go on — at least when it comes to Macy’s iconic 4th of July fireworks extravaganza.

Danny Luczak

David’s Bridal continues to focus on its technology strategy. 

Walgreens is reportedly testing a smaller store concept that is focused on pharmacy.

Starbucks Corp. is the latest company to temporarily stop advertising on social media platforms.

Raley’s has opened a specialty format focused on organics, nutrition and education.

Spending by U.S. consumers is changing as more Americans leave their homes and go into stores.


Lululemon athletica inc. is making a major play in the fast-growing area of personalized at-home fitness.

Lowe's Cos. is increasing its spending on employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malls in New York will need high-quality air systems that can filter out COVID-19 before they will be allowed to reopen. 

Nike remains focused on growing its brand even as it swung to a big quarterly loss in its fourth quarter amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Big Lots Inc. isn’t seeing any let-up in consumer demand.

A 157-year-old leather goods company best known for its iconic boot takes the top spot for the second year running as having the highest value in the fast-growing resale market.

Can Kanye West help the Gap brand regain its cool?

Microsoft Corp. is getting out of the retail brick-and-mortar business.

James Avery Artisan Jewelry is growing in its home state.

Modell’s Sporting Goods has reopened its stores for a short while before closing them permanently. 

Macy's Inc. is reducing its huge workforce by about 3% in a restructuring move to cut costs as its business looks to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PriceSmart keeps expanding its portfolio.  

RTW Retailwinds has received notice from The New York Stock Exchange. 

The parent company of Chuck E. Cheese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the “financial strain” of COVID-19.

Starbucks Corp. is taking its store concept for the deaf and hard of hearing to Japan.

GNC Holdings Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with plans to close at least 800 to 1,200 stores as it looks to cut its debt and restructure amid the COVID-19 crisis.

A new online tool is designed to give shoppers the best of outlet shopping without leaving home.

Chain Store Age is excited to announce that SPECS 2020 will take place August 4-6 on a platform that will offer all the signature hallmarks of SPECS — in a completely virtual environment.

J.C. Penney is getting ready to kick off its second phase of store closing sales as part of its store optimization strategy. 

Best Buy is making its biggest commitment yet to renewable energy.

An unusual, 50-year-old store that attracts one million shoppers annually is now selling online.

Shoe Carnival is having a better than expected second quarter — at least so far.

American Eagle Outfitters has added another banner to its store portfolio.

The surge of buy-online-pickup-in-store that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic is diminishing, but only slightly. 

BOSS Facility Services announced that its president, Bob Keingstein, has lost his battle with cancer. 

Call it a Prime Day for fashion lovers.

Three of the country’s most high-profile outdoor apparel retailers have joined a boycott campaign against Facebook, which ranks as the second-largest U.S. digital ad player after Google. 

Consumers are opening their wallets for non-essential items.

Casey’s General Stores is deploying new technology to keep its product mix relevant and on target with customer preferences. 

Transactions at major restaurant chains in states that have reopened dine-in service continue to improve despite spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has strengthened its liquidity and long-term financial position with a new credit facility.

Bed Bath & Beyond is reducing its workforce — again.

Gap store interior

Gap Inc.’s rent troubles are mounting. Brookfield Property Partners took the struggling retailer to court in Texas, saying it owes $2 million in unpaid rent (over three months)  and refuses to  to open stores at the mall operator’s prop

Schnucks EatWell store

Schnucks Markets is entering the specialty grocery market.  The St.Louis-based retailer will unveil a new format, EatWell, A Natural Food Store by Schnucks, on June 24, in Columbia, Mo. The 42,000-sq.ft.

At Home store exterior

At Home Group swung to a first-quarter loss as its stores went dark during the pandemic.

Apple store interior

Apple is temporarily closing some of the stores it recently reopened due to “current COVID-19 conditions.” The closures include all six of Apple’ s stores in Arizona, along with two  in Florida, two in North Carolina and one in South Ca

Nordstrom storefront

Nordstrom is getting back to business in the Big Apple.

Mall of America

Triple Five Group is navigating some tough times. The Canadian mall developer failed to pay its roughly $7 million payment for June on a $1.4 billion mortgage on Mall of America, reported, which cited a report by Bloomberg. The mall w

Albertsons storefront

Albertsons Cos. is proceeding with its plans to go public.

Office Depot storefront

Office Depot has ended its hunt for a new CFO.

Macerich shopping center

Macerich has reopened its 47 retail properties nationwide and said traffic is growing across its portfolio. The company reported that all its shopping centers are welcoming shoppers, with the exception of six properties in New York, two in&n

Gavel striking

The decision by the Supreme Court to reject President Trump’s plan to end a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S.

Amazon screen

In a first of its kind lawsuit for both parties, Amazon and Valentino filed a joint lawsuit against a New York-based counterfeiter. The online giant and the Italian luxury brand filed the lawsuit against  Buffalo, New York-based Kaitlyn Pan

Francesca's storefront

Francesca's Holdings Corp. is reeling from the impact of COVID-19.  In preliminary results for its first quarter, the accessories and apparel retailer on Thursday said that net sales fell 50% to $43.8 million.

Walmart Health store

Walmart continues its deeper dive into health care with the opening of its third freestanding facility devoted to health-and-wellness. The new  Walmart Health is located in Loganville, Georgia. The format, which debuted last Septem


Household consumer packaged goods spending is starting to level off compared to the first couple of months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spending in May rose 21% compared to May 2019, but not quite as impressive as the year-over-year increa

Subway store

Subway Restaurants is looking to beef up its ranks. The sandwich chain announced that its local franchise owners are looking to hire approximately 50,000 workers in North American restaurants. Subway, the largest U.S.

Kroger storefront

The Kroger Co. reported a strong first quarter well ahead of Street expectations amid increased grocery spending resulting from the COVID crisis.

Stein Mart storefront

Stein Mart is the latest retailer to warn of “substantial” doubts about its ability to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. The off-price retailer disclosed in a 10-K filing that its revenues, liquidity, cash flows, and ability to pay vendors and

Target exterior

Target is making good on a pledge it made some three years ago — and it’s doing so several months ahead of time. The discounter is  permanently raising its starting wage to $15 an hour, beginning on July 5.

Publix storefront

Publix took the top spot in a review of how well retail food websites complied with standards set by the Americans With Disabilities Act. The review was conducted by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, an advocacy group

sunglass hut storefront

Hudson is partnering with an eyewear giant.    The travel retailer, which has more than 1,000 stores in airports, commuter hubs, landmarks and tourist destinations across North America, is partnering with Luxottica Group to open Su

Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus Group’s bankruptcy process is moving along. The luxury retailer, which filed for bankruptcy in early May, has received approval from the bankruptcy court to access debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, including the immediate availa

Forever 21 storefront

Forever 21 is expanding its global online presence.     The fast-fashion retailer launched a new U.K. online store  with its full international assortment, an improved site and localized e-commerce experience.

Publix Eats

Publix Super Markets is expanding its revamped organic and natural foods GreenWise Market store banner.  The first GreenWise Market in the state of Georgia has opened, at the Sandy Plains Marketplace Shopping Center in Marietta.

J.C. Penney storefront

J.C. Penney has kicked off its first wave of store closing sales as it moves to reduce its retail footprint.

Rebag logo

Rebag has added pricey designer accessories to its lineup. The digitally native luxury handbag reseller said it is now accepting and selling products in exchange for instant upfront payment or Rebag credit from a broad range of accessory categori

Dick's storefront

Dick’s Sporting Goods is adding two outlet and clearance store banners to its retail portfolio.

Francesca's storefront

Things are not looking good for Francesca’s. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the accessories and apparel retailer warned that its liquidity has been adversely impacted by negative operating results due to the pandemic and “there i

open sign

The International Council of Shopping Centers has launched a marketing and branding initiative to help its members communicate with one voice about the importance of retailers and retail real estate as the country seeks to recover from the COVID-19

Person spraying table

A majority of consumers would patronize a restaurant/food establishment if they know and trust the cleaning brands being used — and some would even be willing to pay more. That’s according to a survey of diners by P&G Professional (the away f

Sweet Tomatoes

Garden Fresh Restaurants is going out of business. The largest restaurant bankruptcy and liquidation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has reached its final stage. Garden Fresh Restaurants, the parent company company of salad-buffet concept

Walmart exterior sign

Walmart is redesigning the front-end checkout in one of its locations as it looks to shorten lines and reduce checkout time.  The discount giant is replacing its traditional, in-person checkout lanes with self-checkout kiosks at a store in F

Gloved hands typing on keyboard

Claire’s reportedly is the latest retailer to fall victim to a fraud attack.    E-commerce platform hackers, using Magecart tactics, have stolen an unknown amount of customer payment card data from the jewelry and accessories retai

Walmart CareZone app

Walmart Inc. continues to expand its digital health capabilities.

shopper looking at cloud shopping cart logo

Not all consumers are planning to make up for lost time shopping-wise as stores reopen. Thirty-eight percent of consumers said they will be more conservative in their spending as it relates to shopping in the future once respective state and nati

Starbucks to let workers wear Black Lives Matter apparel after backlash 

Party City

Party City Holdco Inc. is working to ease its debt as it continues to deal with retail fallout from COVID-19.

Three retail giants rank among the top 10 companies that played a truly essential role during the COVID-19 crisis.

J.Crew Group is reopening its stores and bringing back furloughed employees.

Grocery shoppers have embraced online shopping since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Travelers on the run will have an option if they leave their facial mask or hand sanitizer at home. 

Strong online sales couldn’t make up for the loss of brick-and-revenue in Lululemon Athletica’s first quarter as its stores were closed for a good part of the quarter due to the pandemic.

Retailers will pay a price for not paying attention to in-store health and safety measures related to COVID-19. 

Chicken Salad Chick continues to expand as it prepares to enter its 17th state.

Children’s Place Inc. plans to reduce its store network by a third.

Rose Marcario

One of the retail industry’s most progressive leaders is stepping down from her post. 

The grocery cases and shelves that were left barren in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic are, for the most part, back to their pre-COVID status.

Forever 21

The new owners of Forever 21 plan to expand the teen retailer’s presence south of the border.  

Ace Hardware ranks highest in customer satisfaction among home improvement retailers for the 13th time in 14 years.

RTW Retailwinds (formerly known as New York & Co.) is edging closer to filing for bankruptcy.

Starbucks Corp. will transform its U.S. stores — and shutter up to 400 locations — as it focuses on digital integration and convenience to meet “shifting customer behaviors.”

Chico’s FAS’s first-quarter sales fell 45.9% amid closed stores due to COVID-19 during the second half of the period. 

It won’t be business as usual for non-essential retailers slowly reopening stores — or when it comes to hiring holiday staff.

GameStop reported a loss for its first quarter as its stores were shuttered due to COVID-19 but its online sales jumped as the company pivoted to an online and curbside pickup model. 

The nation’s largest mall operator has called off its merger agreement with — and filed suit against — a rival, citing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two companies have teamed up to help retailers reimagine the customer queue experience as retailers limit store capacity to ensure social distancing.


Macy’s sounded a confident note in its preliminary sales and earnings results for the first quarter as COVID-19 restrictions loosen and customers start to return to its stores. 

Retail and restaurant companies must take an aggressive, multifaceted approach to health and safety.


The world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry is downsizing its store portfolio as it accelerates its emphasis on e-commerce.

HanesBrands Inc. has ended its search for a new chief executive.

A new pilot program is designed to help grocery stores offset the upfront costs of natural refrigerant technologies.

Best Buy Corp. is dropping the shop-by-appointment model it put in place in its first wave of store reopenings.

NEST is donating to local charities and is asking its customers to select the beneficiaries.

The grocery industry has exerted the most consistent and visible efforts in implementing health and safety standards in response to the pandemic, followed by big-box and drug stores.

Consumers are starting to increase their online spending across traditional retail categories. 

Gap Inc. is shutting down a direct-to-consumer men's performance activewear brand it launched in fall 2018.

Amazon continues to far outdistance all other U.S. retailers in e-commerce sales, but Walmart and other large retailers are showing increased strength as they pivot online.

The U.S. retail sector could take years to recover from the impact of COVID-19, and the hit could be worse than that of the Great Recession. 

As commercial buildings, including restaurants, offices, and stores, reopen after months of being closed due to the pandemic, it’s important to take steps to ward off potentially harmful drinking water conditions.

Macy's Inc. said it raised a total of $4.5 billion, providing it with sufficient liquidity to fund operations and address business needs as the economy starts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dunkin’ is launching its first-ever advertising campaign focused on employee recruitment.

One of the country’s oldest apparel retailers may be moving closer to bankruptcy.

GameStop Corp. said it expects first-quarter sales to drop by as much as a third as the majority of its stores were shuttered due to the pandemic.

Approximately 60% of retailers reported that they could not pay April rent, with many asking for three months of rent abatement—and several claimed they could not pay rent until stores reopened.

Private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in early talks to take J.C. Penney out of bankruptcy if the retailer’s negotiations with its creditors fail, reported Reuters.

CBL & Associates, which owns 108 properties, has serious doubts about its future amid skipped rent payments from retail tenants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Caleres Inc., whose brands include Famous Footwear, Sam Edelman, Allen Edmonds and more, posted a wider than expected first-quarter loss.

J.C. Penney Co. has identified the first wave of its store closures.

Target Corp. had pledged $10 million to social justice organizations and also to community rebuilding/recovery efforts in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the company’s hometown of Minneapolis.  

The British arm of Victoria's Secret has fallen into administration, which is the equivalent of a bankruptcy proceeding in the U.S.

Amazon said it will donate $10 million to 11 organizations “working to bring about social justice and improve the lives of Black and African Americans.”

Tuesday Morning Corp. is partnering with B. Riley Financial to help support the retailer’s reorganization through bankruptcy.

With the majority of its stores reopened, James Avery is expanding its portfolio.

Gap Inc. swung to a $932 million net loss in its first quarter as its stores remained dark for much of the period.

The Michaels Cos. swung to a first-quarter loss and missed bottom and top-line expectations as its stores went dark shuttered temporarily during COVID-19 pandemic.

G-III Apparel Group Ltd. is restructuring its retail operations segment and reducing its store portfolio to focus on its wholesale business.  

After a disappointing April, Costco Wholesale Corp. returned to form sales-wise in May.

The biggest mall owner in the U.S. is suing one of its most important in-line tenants. 

A look at what’s left of the Sears portfolio shows that the troubled retailer’s store footprint is doing a disappearing act.

American Eagle Outfitters Inc. reported a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss amid store closures and “aggressive’ inventory liquidation.

Walmart has temporarily shifted some merchandise off the sales floor.

Amazon keeps expanding its delivery capabilities by growing its aircraft fleet.

ny & co

RTW Retailwinds could be the latest retailer to declare bankruptcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Express Inc. reported a wider-than-expected fiscal first-quarter loss as revenue declined more than forecast amid COVID-19 store closures. 

Food Lion is expanding its Southeast store footprint.

Banana Republic is teaming up with a nonprofit that unites retailers, manufacturers, foundations and individuals to support Americans affected by poverty and tragedy. 

One-quarter of all merchants experienced a drop of more than 56% in April card volume as compared to February, according to data released by The Strawhecker Group.

TravelCenters of America Inc. is expanding its footprint through conversions.

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. swung to a first-quarter loss as closed stores took a big toll on sales.

Build-A-Bear Workshop lost its growing momentum in the first quarter as it closed its stores, famous for their high-touch and interactive environments, early on in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biggest deal ever in the luxury market — the $16.2 billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co. by luxury good giant LVMH — may no longer be a sure thing. 

Martijn Hagman

The chief executive officer of Timmy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe is stepping down.

It’s not just the obvious suspects — namely Walmart and Target — that have the potential to benefit from the liquidation of Pier 1 Imports.

Many of the nation's top retail leaders reached out to their employees and the community at large as they temporarily shut stores in select locations across the country amid disruptions and destruction in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Adrian Butler

Casey’s General Stores has appointed a former Target exec to its leadership team.

Party City Holdco Inc. is hoping to erase about half of its debt.

Lowe’s is expanding its focus on professional customers with an augmented reality tool that makes it easier for plumbers and other contractors to troubleshoot problems with homeowners — without an initial visit.

The reopening of businesses shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant step forward.

Forty-seven percent of people are willing to visit a store this week.

H-E-B, Walgreens and Circle-K score highest in their sectors in meeting consumer expectations for COVID-19 precautions.

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