Home Alone 3

Warren Shoulberg, editorial director for HTT, always seems to have something to say about things.
  • Help Wanted

    In their never-ending quest to stay relevant and keep up with the changing retail landscape, America’s top stores have brought on a number of new personnel over the past year. You may have missed the individual announcements so in the interest of public service, here is a summary of recent developments: Chief Extortion Officer: Several retailing organizations announced appointments in this department in an effort to extract more value from their supplier partners. Not to be confused with the CEO – chief executive officer – this new corner office title – shortened to CHEX – is in charge of finding new sources of ... Read More
  • Misinformation on 34th street

    Have you heard that the death of the American department store is imminent and that poor old Macy’s is about to be history? Have you heard the one about the three buyers who walk into a bar and…? Before anyone gets their planograms all bunched up in a wad, let’s do a little realty check. Maybe, just maybe, some of these reports are just stories chasing headlines. Fake news, anybody? 1. Like virtually every other retail business that gets the vast majority of its sales from physical stores, department stores – Macy’s included – are having a tough time ... Read More
  • Anchors Away

    Farewell to the heyday of the Great American Shopping Center. We knew thee well. But it ain’t over yet. The waning days of many malls have been in progress for over a decade and if the pace is accelerating more recently, it’s not surprising. With Macy’s closing 100 stores, Sears baling out of centers as fast as they can and others likely to follow, it doesn’t take a real estate scientist to figure out that malls are, if not an endangered species, at least a diminished one. A lot of the B and C malls are ... Read More
  • Perennial Millennials

      Yes, this is yet another story about the most over-analyzed, over-scrutinized and often over-exposed generation, the Millennials, since … well, since the last over-analyzed, over-scrutinized and very often over-exposed generation, the Baby Boomers. And yes, it’s written by one of those aging Boomers who somewhere deep in his subconscious probably resents the fact that the torch has been passed and life itself does not revolve around him and his co-generationals. But unlike every other endless tirade about these folks, this one is going to unlock the real truth about the Millennials and why they are having such a big impact ... Read More
  • The Guten, The Bad & The Ugly

    Just flew back from Heimtextil…and boy are my sheets and towels tired. As anyone who has visited the world’s largest textiles show knows, the fair is gargantuan in size, overwhelming in scale and limitless in opportunity. It’s just sorting all of that out that is the tough part. So, some off-the-schnitzel observations as the overall show is still being digested: The Guten: If you need an overall reality check on the state of the global home textiles business, this is the only place to be. And generally, that state is OK. Cotton and raw materials prices remain ... Read More
  • Taking Inventory… of Inventory

    Out of all the big changes that will impact this business this year — Trump, global economics, cotton prices, a fearlessly fickle consumer — there is one that both stands out in its importance yet is underestimated in its significance. We’re talking about inventory: inventory management, cash flow based on inventory, physical resources needed for inventory and the entire matter of keeping the right amount of goods in the right places at the right times. For much of the recent history of home textiles suppliers, inventory management was a pretty cut-and-dried issue: load up a container in Asia and ship it ... Read More
  • Ode to Holiday Mumbo-Jumbo Retail Reports

    As the sun sets on the holiday shopping season – though we have still have yet one more week of post-Christmas sales, close-outs, coupons, gift card redemption and returns to go – let’s remember 2016 as the end of an era. People who make their living examining the tea leaves at the bottom of store shopping bags are about to be put out of their jobs, their functionality largely moot at this point. Chalk this up to one more incident of online selling changing all the rules of retailing. In this case, it marks the end of any real meaning to ... Read More
  • Presents of Mine

    Well, well, well. If you had said the last time we went holiday shopping together a year ago that we would be looking at a President Trump, a disintegrating European Union and populist uprisings around the world from the Philippines to Italy, I would have said you were hitting the eggnog a little heavy. But here we are, in a world where all those things are happening and those in the little old world of sheets and towels have to find a way to make a living in it. Thank heavens we have the holiday season to take our minds ... Read More
  • The Turkey Trot

    No one’s ever going to accuse retailing of being the same-old/same-old. There’s always something new going on when it comes to how stores do business. Case in point: retail plans for Thanksgiving. They are most certainly an ever-changing – and largely inconsistent – state of affairs. It was maybe only about five years ago when retailers initially jumped the gun on Black Friday and started to open earlier. It began with midnight openings, spread to evening hours and then eventually crept into a virtual all-day affair for many stores. Another sacred cow slaughtered by the retail gods. While a ... Read More
  • The Business You’ve Chosen

    This home textiles business we find ourselves in has some pretty peculiar characteristics, not the least of which is the overwhelming market share held by less than a dozen big box national retailers. The industry pretty much lives and dies based on how these guys perform. More recently, that top-heavy distribution model has come under a big-time assault from online, which has thrown everybody into a digital tizzy. That’s rightfully so, but lost in all of this is the fact that there are several other very legitimate threats to the status quo of the soft home business and if ... Read More
  • We ain’t dead yet

    Looks like us Baby Boomers are not going to go silently into the night. While every marketing company on earth is obsessed with those dreaded Millennials – and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be paying attention to this demographic, now the largest bulge in the American population – all of us ever-aging Boomers remain a formidable constituency in the pursuit of conspicuous consumption. As proof, I point you in the direction of the desert near Palm Springs, Calif., and the recently concluded Desert Trip music festival. On the site of the legendary Coachella event – where Boomer kids and grandkids go ... Read More
  • What I Learned at Textiles Market

    Now that all of the towels have been folded, the beds remade and all those gazillions of pillows, quilts and rugs put back in their proper places, it seems only appropriate for a New York Home Fashions Market week download: • Business Ain’t Easy. While the whining was generally kept to a minimum, when you asked, you got pretty much the same answer about business being soft. And why not: you’ve got at least half of the biggest retailers in the category — Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears and Kmart — basically reporting flat sales. • Vendors Are ... Read More