Home Alone 3

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

    So, Target is on a mission to reinvent the modern American discount store. It is clearly a work in progress. A visit to one of the retail giant’s just-remodeled stores in the Dallas metroplex – one of 28 of its 47 area stores that will eventually be updated at a cost of $220 million – revealed a nice looking mass merchant unit. However it doesn’t really move the bar much when it comes to the fine art of merchandising. This particular store, in Addison, just north of the Beltway that wraps around Dallas, clearly had a fresh coat of paint ... Read More
  • Self Awareness

    Don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a sucker for that punch line: “Be yourself…every one else is already taken.” Usually attributed to Oscar Wilde — though there is no written evidence he ever actually said or wrote it — it’s one of those catchy phrases that you can plug into various conversations and always get a smile from somebody. If only the world of retailing would pay attention. Business history is full of far too many examples of stores that tried to be who they were not — or worse, somebody who already existed — and failed miserably ... Read More
  • For Casper, the Target is in-store

    There are lots of fascinating things about online bedding resource Casper signing a deal with Target to begin selling its products at the discount retailer. You can debate back and forth about the branding strategy Casper is pursuing and whether selling at Target is a good fit. You can also ask if Target wants to be in the mattress business – although initially it is the sheets and bedding that the store will sell. And you can question how this new arrangement impacts Casper’s previous – and one assumes now ending – arrangement with West Elm to sell its products. But what ... Read More
  • The 43% Solution

    I would never sell Amazon. They don’t respect my pricing and I have to protect my regular retail accounts that don’t want me doing business with them. No Amazon for me.” Ah, they say everything in life is timing. If you heard a vendor say this in 2002, you’d probably agree with him. Amazon was still basically a book and video seller back then and represented a percentage point or two of general merchandise sales. As a home furnishings supplier, you were making the right decision by not selling them. Your business was with the stores. The ... Read More
  • Shopping Mauled

      The cacophony surrounding the pending doom of the great American shopping center is starting to reach epidemic proportions. Every pundit worth his weight in megabytes is out there preaching the end of this institution and forecasting a Wall-E world where we sit in big fat recliners, slurping from our sippy cups and hitting buy buttons like monkeys hooked on treat-response systems. Well, it ain’t going to happen exactly like that. Just as people predicted the end of American downtowns only to see them resurrected over the past decade as living (literally), breathing (figuratively), thriving (really) urban centers, shopping centers ... Read More
  • 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