Retail Perspectives

"All Things Retail"

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Opinion: The Commodities Bubble Bursts

  
  
  

There’s been a lot written and reported about the dramatic drop in commodity prices in the last couple of weeks, and whether this represents a momentary pullback in a bullmarket runup to even higher commodity prices, or the bursting of an unsustainable bubble.

Finding The Money (In Wisconsin, and Elsewhere)

  
  
  

This is not a good time at all to be a teacher in Wisconsin (or Indiana and Ohio, for that matter). It’s not a good time to be an owner of a teacher’s store there, either.

The King’s Speech

  
  
  
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I watched the Oscar’s last night with greater interest than I normally do. I found I had a rooting interest, which is unusual for me. I’m not exactly the world’s most regular movie-goer, but I’d recently seen “The King’s Speech”, loved it, and was very happy when it won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Watson on Jeopardy

  
  
  
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I’m a bit of a Jeopardy Junkie (when neither the Red Sox or Bruins are on), and so I eagerly looked forward to the three-day contest pitting the IBM computer Watson against Jeopardy’s two greatest champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

The Defenseless Retailer

  
  
  

An article on The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s website yesterday caught my attention. The headline was “Mobile Shoppers Shaking Up Retail Industry”, but what captured my interest was several of the assertions:

The Borders Failure

  
  
  
Borders logo

Borders filed for bankruptcy protection today, surprising nobody. For months there has been speculation that the company was bleeding cash, and struggling to secure additional financing. But Borders’ problems went far beyond financing. As Michael Souers, an analyst for Standard & Poor’s, said “Instead of leading and being innovative, they were certainly a follower.”

Monthly Comp-Store Sales Reporting

  
  
  

After reporting sales for the month of January, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale and American Eagle Outfitters announced they will stop reporting monthly sales, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Consumer Confidence Is Up

  
  
  

The Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its January Consumer Confidence Index stood at 60.6, up from 53.3 in December, and at its highest level since last spring.

Caught In The Middle

  
  
  

On one of the RetailWire discussions yesterday, concerning J.C. Penney, there was this interesting comment, “JCPenney is getting pretty badly squeezed by Kohl's on one side and Walmart/Target on the other.”

Throwing the Best Party in Town

  
  
  

The NRF convention in New York last week focused a lot of attention on emerging technologies and how they can be applied to retail. Mobile apps, digital marketing, social media, Facebook, and so on.  It’s hard to know for sure what about all of this is significant and meaningful, and what’s merely the fad du jour.

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