June 23, 2015

All good things must come to end — including, after nearly four years, my contributions to this column. “Retail Rap” will soon be forging on without me. This is the first of two final columns I’ll be contributing, and I’ll beg your indulgence if I wax nostalgic at times in this, column number 99, and in my last submission two weeks from now, Retail Rap number 100.

June 9, 2015

When Whole Foods Market announced in May that it planned to open a new chain of stores offering a lower price point and specifically targeting millennials, it’s safe to say that the reaction from industry analysts and observers was underwhelming.

May 26, 2015

I just got back from the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) 2015 RECon Convention in Las Vegas, and I came away feeling as good as I have about the state of the industry in some time (and it wasn’t just the weather, which was delightfully on the cool side). Judging by the buzz on the floor at the convention center, the action was definitely heating up.

May 12, 2015

It’s fascinating to me that, as of April 1, Sears went from being run like a REIT to being run as a REIT — at least partly.

April 7, 2015

In a column I wrote between Black Friday and Christmas last year, I talked about how “apparel sales have been languishing”, and I mentioned that the “industry buzz is all about the struggles in apparel, where retailers just can’t seem to discount clothing enough to get things to pick up.”

March 10, 2015

There has been a lot of discussion in the last several years about the strength of the grocery sector. I think it’s clear that a big reason behind that success has been the evolution of different formats and the explosive growth of a new generation of grocery concepts that represent a significant departure from the traditional grocery model.

February 24, 2015

If we wanted to show the struggles of the classic American mall, I don’t think we could come up with a better example than Northland Mall in Southfield, Michigan.

February 10, 2015

One of the interesting retail real estate trends I’ve been seeing pick up steam in the last couple of years is the willingness of many retailers to look beyond the traditional mall locations. Many are choosing locations on “hot streets,” bustling avenues within major communities that happen to be the retail hub, or in the downtown/village center area of the market.

January 27, 2015

Overall holiday shopping season sales numbers have been rolling in, and the news confirms what many retail real estate analysts (including myself) suspected: 2014 holiday sales were strong. Nothing earth-shattering — but plenty good enough to chalk this one up as a win.

January 13, 2015

While there were some reported ups and downs over the course of last year’s holiday shopping season, the early takeaway is that the season was, in the end, positive.

December 19, 2014

With 2014 almost over, the looming question on everyone’s mind, of course, is whether holiday sales managed to live up to the (mostly) positive holiday forecasts from analysts and retail organizations. 

December 9, 2014

If you’re like me, and you were curious about how Black Friday hype translated into retail sales, your head is spinning right about now. 

September 23, 2014

While it might still be September, Toys “R” Us isn’t wasting any time announcing what they clearly consider to be some newsworthy changes set to take effect this holiday season.

September 9, 2014

Observant shoppers will have noticed something ominous in recent weeks: the arrival of fall and winter products and holiday marketing/promotions in many stores.

August 28, 2014

One retail category that’s been fascinating to watch evolve over the last several years is the women’s athletic apparel segment. Judging by the number of times reporters have asked me about women’s athletic apparel retailers in the last few months, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

August 5, 2014

At a time when online sales seem to be inexorably chipping away at brick-and-mortar sales, taking a bigger bite with every passing year, the 2014 back-to-school shopping season has actually seen the exact opposite trend.

July 22, 2014

The economic trend for some time now has been a slow and meandering recovery. Despite improving consumer confidence numbers, a surprising first quarter GDP decline of 2.9% speaks to that uncertainty.

July 8, 2014

There have been more than a few headline-grabbing leadership transitions in the retail world recently. And, to be honest, “transitions” might be too gentle of a euphemism: some big names from some big-name brands have left, been fired, forced out, voted off the board, or otherwise pressured to step down in the last few months.

June 24, 2014

Believe it or not (and I can barely believe it myself), the critical back-to-school period at the end of summer is right around the corner. While back-to-school is always big for retailers, this year’s period could be an especially important one, as 2014 has been underwhelming so far.

June 5, 2014

Store closings are hardly an infrequent topic in this space. As a barometer for both the performance of individual brands and the market at large, they are an important part of the equation for any retail analyst. Store closings are part of healthy portfolio management for any brand, and, on a larger scale, bankruptcies and reorganizations are a reflection of the market at work.

May 27, 2014

Every year, one of my personal highlights is the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) RECon convention in Las Vegas.

May 14, 2014

At a time when sluggish-to-modest industry numbers have seemingly become the norm, and a protracted economic recovery inches forward, the recent spate of seemingly good retail and economic news has industry analysts and observers like myself raising a collective eyebrow.

May 6, 2014

One topic that’s been on my mind lately is the growing Hispanic market in the U.S., and what its clout and purchasing power will mean for retailers — and, subsequently, for retail real estate — in the years ahead. “Emerging” is probably too mild of a word to describe the Hispanic market — exploding might be more accurate.

April 22, 2014

The recent announcement from Coldwater Creek that the women’s apparel brand will seek Chapter 11 protection and plans to start liquidating its inventory didn’t exactly come as a surprise.