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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.


September 2020

Academy Sports and Outdoors is looking to raise $250 million for its initial public offering. 

Target Corp. laid out its holiday staffing plans for a holiday season that it said “will be unlike any other.” 

Bed Bath & Beyond has unveiled the first group of stores that it plans to shutter as part of its ongoing restructuring efforts.

Rite Aid Corp. narrowed its quarterly loss as sales continued to rise during the pandemic.

The Neiman Marcus Group is starting to cut back on staff as it prepares to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Ulta Beauty is putting all its focus on its U.S. operations amid the pandemic.

Pioneer Bank has taken a proactive approach to indoor air quality across its network.

Compromises between retailers and their landlords on outstanding rent obligations has been crucial to many retailers’ survival during the pandemic. 

Even the nation’s largest candy store retailer isn’t immune to the pandemic.

Total retail sales in North America will decrease this year while online sales will experience their fastest growth since 2008.

Bed Bath & Beyond has made a critical hire on its road to becoming a digital-first operation.

Walmart is beefing up its e-commerce workforce — starting immediately — in anticipation of a busy holiday season online. 

Loves Furniture & Mattresses has announced its first locations.

Despite a record number of retail bankruptcies, the retail category leads an annual ranking of the brands that customers are most loyal to.

London’s famed Harrods department store is branching out even as other retailers shrink their footprints.

Tiffany & Co.'s lawsuit against LVMH for trying to back out of its $16 billion deal to acquire the U.S. jeweler has been given the fast track by a Delaware Chancery Court justice.

Saks Fifth Avenue is doing its part to get out the vote.

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a crimp in Halloween celebrations, Party City Holdco has scaled back its own plans.

Brookfield Properties is feeling the pain as the COVID-19 pandemic takes a toll on shopping center business and new leasing activity.

Ralph Lauren is streamlining its organization structure, cutting jobs in the process. It’s also rolling out enhanced tech platforms to support its global operations.

7-Eleven has hired more than 50,000 employees since March — with more to come.

The traditional November to December holiday shopping season is meaningless this year — and perhaps forever.

Walmart has made another move to boost its fashion credibility and expand its portfolio of exclusive brands. 

Patagonia is giving its employees an incentive to help ensure voting rights this Election Day. 

Walmart is expanding its one-year-old freestanding health care format beyond its initial home base.

Target Corp. isn’t wasting any time rebuilding its Lake Street store (in Minneapolis) that was heavily damaged in the riots following the death of George Floyd.

The nation’s largest shipping, postal, print and business services chain has gotten a makeover.

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting a crimp in Americans’ Halloween plans.

The economic recovery may be starting to lose steam.

Consumers are regaining confidence in the economy.

Ascena Retail Group Inc., whose banners include Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, is selling its plus-size Catherines brand for more than double what it was originally offered.

Shoppers and businesses in Manhattan have a new place to stock up on sanitizing and personal protection items. 

Rent the Runway is introducing a new membership structure as the pandemic continues to impact consumer behavior – particularly when it comes to the clothing people wear. 

Papa John’s International plans to open a global headquarters in its largest corporate-owned restaurant market: the metro Atlanta area.

Walmart is introducing a new team-based operating model for its supercenters that includes higher wages for some of its salaried and hourly store employees.

Foot Locker wants to make sure its core Gen Z consumer base votes on Election Day.

Tractor Supply Company isn’t slowing down its growth amid the pandemic.

The battle between Tiffany & Co. and French global luxury giant LVMH continues to heat up.

Online grocery will account for 21.5% of total grocery sales by 2025, an estimated $250 billion, representing more than a 60% increase compared to pre-pandemic estimates.

More shoppers plan to shop on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday this year.

Dick’s Sporting Goods continues its push into the women’s sports marketplace.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on grocery shopping behavior has been “profound.”

Amazon is taking some of its fulfillment closer to where its customers live.

Consumer spending slowed in August as some federal relief measures, including the $600 weekly unemployment subsidy, ended in July. 

A British retailer has acquired a majority stake in Victoria’s Secret bankrupt UK business.

Wayfair’s is making its annual sales extravaganza a two-day affair.

Hobby Lobby Stores is poised to become one of the highest-paying U.S. retailers when it comes to starting wages for full-time workers. 

Shoppers are actively searching out deals, including coupons and promo codes, amid the pandemic.

Holiday sales growth this year will largely depend on how much wealthy households splurge and how a range of different pandemic-related factors play out. 

Retailers, with some exceptions, have been slow out of the gate in announcing their seasonal hiring plans.

Francesca's Holdings Corp. issued a “going concern’’ warning as it swung to a second-quarter loss amid a 29% decrease in sales.

GNC Holdings Inc. has moved to sell itself to its largest shareholder.

Julie Cary

Massage Envy has named a 25-year marketing veteran to its leadership team.

Kohl's Corp. is eliminating corporate jobs to cut costs.

Juan Guerrero

Bed Bath & Beyond has made a crucial hire as it works to turnaround its operations. 

Macy’s is going forward with its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City – but it will be different than in past years due to the pandemic.

J.Jill has managed to avoid taking a trip bankruptcy court.

REI Co-op has sold its new corporate campus even before it moved in, in line with the company’s move away from the traditional retail HQ model. 

Apple has opened a store that sits on the waters of Marina Bay in Singapore.

When it comes to promoting good hygiene and health, there is no difference between drying hands with hand dryers and paper towels.

The newly acquired Sur La Table is closing more stores.

The Kroger Co. reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and sales amid surging digital growth.

Starbucks Corp. continues to expand its network of stores dedicated to supporting local economic growth.

Five Below has not slowed down its store growth.

Consumers are skeptical about trick-or-treating.

GameStop puts more locations on its store closings list.

J.Crew Group has emerged from bankruptcy with its store portfolio mostly unchanged.

The pandemic has taken down a pioneer of off-price retailing and an iconic New York retail institution.

Papa John’s has signed its largest domestic traditional store development agreement in 20 years.

Target Corp. has made a commitment to increase the diversity of its workforce.

J.C. Penney Company is seeing light at the end of the tunnel with the help of two biggest landlords.

DoorDash is branching out from food and grocery delivery.

Amazon is opening up its annual Career Day hiring event to all areas of the U.S. by moving it online.

Academy Sports and Outdoors has publicly filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering.

American Eagle Outfitters Inc. reported smaller-than-expected second-quarter losses and sales that beat expectations, boosted by intimates brand Aerie.

The Michaels Companies has debuted an enhanced shopping experience complete with a new layout, “inspiration hubs” and an innovative checkout design.

Walmart continues to look for ways to enhance and speed up on-demand delivery.

Two mall owners have come to the rescue of embattled J.C. Penney.

Jennifer Foyle

The force behind American Eagle Outfitters’ fast-growing intimates brand is taking on new responsibilities. 

The biggest-ever deal in luxury retail is off — at least “as it stands” now.

Lululemon is opening more seasonal pop-ups as its reopened stores continue to attract shoppers.

U.S. consumer tech sales, strong since March, show no signs of letting up anytime soon.

The Home Depot is playing the long game this upcoming holiday season.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has made another addition to its leadership team.

Nordstrom wants to ensure that its employees have the time to vote on Nov. 3.

E-commerce retailer 1-800-Flowers is quadrupling its workforce as it anticipates a busy and “unusual” holiday season.

There’s a new person at the top at Sephora.

Kohl’s Corp. is rolling out a new, more personalized loyalty program in time for the holidays.

Lululemon reported a better-than-expected second quarter as consumers flocked to its website and its stores reopened.

Debbie Roberts

Panera Bread has named a 30-year veteran of McDonald’s as COO.

The Michaels Companies is one of the first retailers to announce its hiring plans for a holiday season that is likely to be far different than years past.

The joint venture that acquired Sur La Table has received financing to support its growth.

Coldwater Creek will be revived – online and in print.

Neiman Marcus Group has received court approval of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan.

Six retailers have been recognized for succeeding in business while also showing outstanding respect, care and concern for their employees, their communities and the environment – especially during the pandemic.

More and more consumers are taking on upgrades during the pandemic.

Under Armour has joined the growing list of retailers who will not be open for business on Nov. 26.

A pop-up shop dedicated to Polestar has opened at Macy’s location on Union Square in San Francisco.

Consumers shopped heavily online in the second quarter as the pandemic accelerated the ongoing shift to the channel.

The grocery store sector is the best industry adopter of recommended COVID-19 precautions, followed by big-box stores and the financial services industry.

Walmart’s annual hottest toys list is out and it’s an indication of how the pandemic has upended so many retail traditions.


The clock is ticking for J.Jill, whose sales continue to tumble in the second quarter.

Hudson’s Bay is adding a new tool that builds on the in-store health and safety protocols it has already put in place to protect customers.

Asset Strategies Group has enhanced its strategic real estate solutions business with the acquisition of retail design firm Chute Gerdeman. 

Designer Brands Inc. is pivoting as people dress up less.

Dick’s Sporting Goods keeps expanding its nationwide footprint.

Five Below isn’t letting the pandemic get in the way of its store expansion.

Burger King unveiled two futuristic restaurant designs that offer a “touchless” experience, complete with conveyor belts that deliver orders to customers.

Dollar Tree keeps expanding its distribution center network to serve its growing store fleet.

The Michaels Companies reported a better-than-expected second quarter as online sales skyrocketed and customers returned to its stores.

Target Corp. is adding hundreds of new products to its private-label food brand, Good & Gather.

Short wait times and other factors drive retail, grocery and restaurant customer satisfaction when it comes to picking up goods ordered online.

Macy’s is looking at different locations to grow its brand. It’s also preparing for a holiday season that will be different from years past.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has brought on a real estate veteran as it continues to review its brick-and-mortar portfolio.

Target Corp. has named Maurice Cooper as senior VP of marketing, effective Sept. 14.

Macy’s reported a quarterly loss that was less than expected amid strong digital sales and better-than-expected net sales.

At Home reported a strong second quarter as consumers continued to spend time and money on decorating and organizing their homes – a trend the retailer sees persisting for some time to come. 

Walmart has opened its fifth Walmart Health location, with more to come.

J.Jill has once again bought itself more time — 10 days — to avoid a bankruptcy filing. 

Casey's curbside pickup

Casey’s General Stores is now serving customers curbside via its app.

Chicken Salad Chick continues to grow its portfolio.

COVID-19 continues to be a “shock” for small businesses.

Whole Foods Market has opened a new location in Brooklyn, New York, but the public is not invited.

Walmart is taking on Amazon - again.

Jordon’s Furniture is deploying an artificial intelligence-enabled live engagement platform to support digital service and sales.

Banana Republic wants to promote voter registration.

The nation’s oldest apparel company has new owners.

Old Navy is encouraging its store workforce to play an active role in the upcoming election. 

Build-A-Bear Workshop swung to a wider quarterly loss as its stores remained dark for a good part of the period.

August 2020

Dollar General is ramping up its store remodels for this year after reporting blow-out quarterly results.

It’s close to crunch time for embattled J.C. Penney.

Walgreens Boots Alliance has tapped the former chief executive of Rite Aid to head its U.S. operations.

New York & Company is getting a new owner but it’s not Sunrise Brands.

Big Lots reported record second-quarter results amid surging sales – in stores and online.  

In another first for Walmart, the company is taking action to remove a big challenge for its employees and shoppers who are new moms.

Ulta Beauty reported better-than-expected earnings amid strong online sales.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is changing its name — among other things.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has returned to New York City.

The country’s oldest department store is inching closer to shuttering all its stores.

Amazon once again led the retail industry in MBLM's Brand Intimacy 2020 Study, the largest study of brands based on emotion.

There has been a change at the top of Amazon-owned Zappos.

Confusion about when and how to re-open schools safely for the upcoming academic year may be causing consumers to hold off spending.

Dick’s Sporting Goods reported soaring second-quarter earnings and sales, with a nearly 200% increase in online revenue, as more consumers bought its goods to stay active during the pandemic.

Foot Locker has brought its customer- and community-centric “power” format to the West Coast. 

Chico's FAS Inc. racked up another loss as sales fell nearly 40% in its second quarter.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. is eliminating 2,800 jobs across its stores and headquarters in its ongoing effort to cut costs and streamline operations as it focuses on online sales.

David’s Bridal is giving customers a new way to say yes to their dress when it comes to payments.

J. Crew Group is getting a new start.

Lidl US is revving up its expansion along the East Coast.

Best Buy is evolving the way it uses its stores for fulfillment in response to accelerating online demand.

Nordstrom swung to a second-quarter loss amid closed stores due to the pandemic and a change in the timing of its biggest annual event.

Consumer confidence in August tumbled to a new pandemic low.

Bare Necessities is getting a new owner. 

Best Buy Co. reported strong second-quarter earnings and sales, fueled by its largest online sales gain to date and better-than-expected store sales.

Children’s Place reported a wider-than-expected loss and a 12% sales decline for its second quarter amid a decrease in back-to-school spending that started in July. 

Dollar General storefront

The “dollar” or value retail sector is booming amid the pandemic.

back to school items

More consumers expect at least some classes to take place online than a month ago and are buying items to be ready. An update the annual back-to-class survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics in

Buy button

Consumers have become increasingly more comfortable with making apparel purchases online. That’s according to data from Quantum Metric, which found that online apparel sales rose 66% for the week  of August 9 - 15 versus the same week last y

Kings Food Market

A private-equity company has made a move to acquire two New York metro area upscale grocers. KB US Holdings, the  parent company of Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market banners, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and

Cadillac House interior

A legendary automaker took top honors in the Retail Design Institute’s annual store design competition. Cadillac House in Shanghai, China, is the RDI’s 2019 Store of the Year.

Tiffany Fifth Avenue rooftop

One of Manhattan’s landmark stores is getting an eye-catching addition. Tiffany & Co.

LL Bean storefront

L.L. Bean and Mastercard have teamed up for some outdoor learning.

Aldi storefront

Aldi has opened its eighth location on New York’s Long Island. The store, in North Babylon store is the second new Aldi on Long Island this year and a part of the retailer’s  national growth strategy.

Alltown Fresh is growing its fledgling footprint.

Foot Locker reported a big jump in same-store sales and better-than-expected earnings as it works to get back on track following pandemic-mandated store closures.

Help has arrived for subway riders in New York City who accidentally leave their masks or hand sanitizers at home. 

Michael Diamond

The Michaels Companies has named a new finance head.

Cato Corp. saw its revenue fall 21% during the second quarter as sales softened.

Total retail industry private equity deals in the second quarter hit $2.63 billion globally.

Taco Bell unveiled a new restaurant format intended to make things quick and convenient for mobile and drive-thru customers.

The Rolling Stones are ready to paint the town red and black.

Love’s Travel Stops has opened its largest location to date.

The Kroger Co.’s health care division is making COVID-19 testing available to more of its sites ahead of the flu season.

The country’s oldest department store retailer is still looking for a white knight even as more of its stores are going dark.

The Vitamin Shoppe has a new finance head.

The pandemic will have a lasting impact on corporate retail employees.  

L Brands Inc. reported a surprise adjusted profit for its second quarter as sales also topped expectations.

Giant Food continues to roll out its new and improved store format.

Target Corp. crushed all estimates for its second quarter as it posted skyrocketing profits and the strongest quarterly same-store sales growth in its history amid strong digital and store growth.

With safety top of mind for consumers amid the pandemic, retailers are doubling down on their cleaning efforts.

The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has updated its reopening “Building Readiness” guidance for HVAC systems to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19.

Since mid-March, retailers and facility management leaders have been forced to navigate a crisis that altered nearly every aspect of their business.

TJX Cos. swung to a second-quarter loss as its store fleet remained dark for nearly a third of the period due to the pandemic.

Gap Inc. is shrinking the store portfolio of its namesake brand in its hometown.

BrandPoint Services announced its inclusion in the 2020 Inc. Fastest-Growing Private Companies list, an annual ranking of private companies with the most proven track records.

Lowe’s Companies saw its second-quarter U.S. same-store sales rise 35.1% as consumer spending on home projects continues to surge amid the pandemic.

If there were any doubts that Home Depot sales would benefit from the home-focused environment ushered in by the global pandemic, they were erased by the company’s second-quarter performance.

Kohl’s Corp. reported better-than-expected second-quarter results but offered a sobering assessment of the months ahead.

Most U.S. consumers aren’t planning on cutting back on holiday spending, but they are prioritizing who they purchase for and adjusting budgets accordingly. 

Payless is back in business in North America — with a modified name and big store expansion plans.

The shift to e-commerce fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of losing momentum.

Walmart Inc.’s business continued to surge in the second quarter, with better-than-expected sales fueled by strong demand for food and general merchandise and skyrocketing growth in e-commerce.

rent money

The retail properties and office property sectors are expected to see major declines in rents this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Moody’s Analytics’ new forecasts for commercial real estate rents and vacancies, the effective

Stage Stores has run out of time.

Footlocker basketball court

Foot Locker is celebrating the culture of basketball at its new store in Singapore.

Modells store interior

A company that is making a name for itself by buying up the intellectual assets of bankrupt retail brands has struck again. Retail Ecommerce Ventures acquired Modell’s Sporting Goods, which filed for bankruptcy in March and is liquidating all its

Domino's worker with mask

Domino’s Pizza is embarking on a worldwide hiring initiative. The largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales said its corporate and franchise stores are looking to fill more than 20,000 positions, including delivery experts,

USPS logo

The United States Postal Service will temporarily raise prices on commercial parcels starting Oct. 18 and lasting until 12:00 AM (Central) Dec.

Zappos kids montage

Zappos is setting up shop in the Big Apple. That’s according to the New York Post, which reported that the Amazon-owned online shoe retailer has leased a space in the Union Square area of Manhattan that was previously home to American E

pizza hut drive thru

Three hundred Pizza Huts are going dark and 927 other locations are going on the selling block. NPC International  has reached an agreement with Pizza Hut, whose parent company is Yum!

Walmart sign

After reducing its store hours amid the pandemic, Walmart will join other retailers who are starting to keep their stores open later. The retail giant  is extending the store closing time at more than 4,000 of its 4,700 U.S.

Expense control paid off for Dillard’s in the second quarter.

A total of 424 U.S. companies have gone bankrupt this year as of Aug. 9. This exceeds the number of filings during any comparable period since 2010. 

The Kroger Co. has launched a COVID-19 testing solution for employers.

Retail sales rose for the third straight month after a record drop in April when many stores were closed due to the pandemic.

Consumer confidence among Americans has resumed a downward trend during the pandemic after holding steady last month. 

Rent the Runway is getting out of the freestanding brick-and-mortar business.

Tapestry reported a big annual loss but cheered investors with better-than-expected fourth-quarter results amid strong online sales.

Consumers are still shopping for back-to-school items despite the uncertainty created by COVID-19 around the upcoming school year.

Home and local experiences have taken on increased importance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and retailers and consumer goods companies must tailor their products and services accordingly.

Forever 21 has an unlikely new partner.

The retail portfolio of the joint venture between Simon Property Group and brand management company Authentic Brands keeps expanding.

Skechers has opened a flagship on the famed Rue de Rivoli, one of the biggest shopping boulevards in Paris. 

J.Jill has received two more weeks of breathing room.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for the new finance head of Hudson’s Bay Company.

brooks brothers store

Simon Property Group has stepped in to help another bankrupt retailer.

The Sour Patch Kids brand is celebrating its 35th anniversary with the opening of its first-ever permanent brick-and-mortar location.

Spirit Halloween remains “passionate” about Halloween even as questions mount about how it will be celebrated this year amid the pandemic.

Stein Mart is the latest retail victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

REI Co-op is selling its new campus even before it moves in a shift away from the traditional retail HQ model. 

J. Crew sign

J.Crew Group has joined Time to Vote, a non-partisan effort led by CEOs whose goal is to increase voter participation. As part of the effort, J.Crew will close all J.Crew and Madewell stores, corporate offices, its distribution center and custome

Virtual SPECS 2020

Retailers from more than 100 retail, restaurant and specialty chains registered to attend Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS show, which took place August 4-6, 2020, in an all-virtual format. At a time of unprecedented industry change and upheav

Shopper wearing mask

Recoveries in the department store sector have been stymied by a resurgence in COVID-19 cases leading to a reversal of the positive trends seen in May and June.  That’s according to new data from foot traffic analytics firm


As retailers deal with the unexpected loss in revenue due to COVID-19, the bottom line — and FM budgets — are coming under close scrutiny.

Chicken Salad Chick storefront

Chicken Salad Chick is bolstering its executive team amid ongoing store expansion. The southern-inspired, fast-casual chicken salad restaurant chain, which was acquired by Brentwood Associates in November 2019,  has more than quadrupled in s

J. Crew sign

J. Crew Group and its landlords have come to terms. The apparel retailer, which filed for bankruptcy in May, said that, as of August 9, it has reached agreements with landlords to improve lease terms on its store portfolio. J.

Foot Locker storefront

Foot Locker is feeling upbeat about its second quarter. In a sales and earnings update for the second quarter (ended August 1), the athletic footwear retailer said that  same-store sales increased approximately 18%.


The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on retail imports as retailers cut back on orders amid worries of being overstocked. Imports at major U.S.

Cumberland Farms store interior

Cumberland Farms has unveiled an in-store addition inspired by European cafes.  The convenience store retailer, which was acquired last year by European c-store operator EG Group, parent company of EG America, opened its first-ever  Far

Muriel Gonzalez

A seasoned retail executive has joined the leadership team at The Vitamin Shoppe.  The company has appointed Muriel F.

Costco Wholesale Corp.’s robust e-commerce growth helped fuel strong comparable sales in July.

A key executive in Walmart’s new health care focus is leaving.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is opening 11 new stores in August.

The average consumer expects to spend more on back-to-school items this year than in 2019, despite continued uncertainty over school openings amid COVID-19. 

Legislation has been introduced that would make "meaningful" temporary changes to bankruptcy laws, related to commercial real estate.

J.Jill received more breathing room on the day that its forbearance agreements were set to expire.

An in-store event that drew big crowds to Build-A-Bear Workshop is the latest retail casualty of the pandemic. 

Smoothie King continues to grow its footprint. 

CVS Health has its eye on a lot more than traditional drugstore services.

Wayfair swung to a profit in its second quarter as consumers stuck at home focused on updating their interiors.

The bids that have come in for bankrupt J.C. Penney are reportedly lacking a bit.

Ralph Lauren Corp. was hit hard in its first quarter by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is using the disruption to accelerate its core strategic focus areas. 

New York & Company will continue to do business, if only online.

Express provided an upbeat assessment of its second-quarter results to date.

Join CSA for a webinar on Aug. 12, 2 p.m. ET, and learn how Joann and Boot Barn are using data and analytics to control FM spend, driving reductions for the remainder of the year and long-term.

Tailored Brands, whose store banners include Men’s Wearhouse and Jos.A. Bank, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. 

Publix’s sales in the first half of the year increased an estimated $2.5 billion due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

7-Eleven has made the largest acquisition in its history and one of the largest to be announced since the pandemic began. 

Indicators suggest that the economy has begun to recover as businesses reopen from the pandemic, but it’s uncertain how steadily the comeback will continue.

The country’s oldest department store retailer has joined the growing list of companies undone by COVID-19.

Sola Salon Studios, which offers beauty professions move-in-ready studios in a shared setting, is expanding its footprint across the U.S. via franchising.

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