PROFILE

Lee Peterson

EVP Brand, Strategy & Design, WD Partners

After over 30 years as a merchant at Limited Brands, a retailer and a retail consultant, Lee brings an innovative approach to strategic assessment and brand development across diverse industries. He is particularly in tune with cultural trends, consumer demographics, and buying behavior. This experience gives Lee a well-rounded and informed approach to brand development and designing customer-focused retail and restaurant experiences. Lee wholeheartedly believes that stores must perform for the retailers, as well as consumers.

At WD Partners, he leads an experienced group of creative retail designers and strategists working on brand and prototype development for such clients as Wal-Mart, The North Face, Starbucks, Gatorade, Red Bull, Best Buy, New Balance, Safeway, Home Depot, Culver’s, Bob Evans, Whole Foods Market, eMart, Co-op Mart, Mimi’s Cafe and LensCrafters. Lee also leads WD’s marketing team which produces their web site, white papers and all marketing communications.

His comments have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, and on American Public Media’s Marketplace, as well as in industry magazines such as VM+SD, Brandweek, Chain Leader, QSR, Restaurants & Institutions, Nation’s Restaurant News, and Chain Store Age. Lee is also a frequent speaker on retail issues and trends. He is currently serving on the editorial board of VM+SD, a retail design trade magazine.  He is also an avid cyclist, outdoor enthusiast and lover of Nantucket Island.

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  • Posted on: 12/02/2016

    Will Starbucks be the same without Howard Schultz as CEO?

    They'll be just fine (he said, slurping at a giant cup of addictive black juice).
  • Posted on: 12/01/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Global Edition – Week 1

    Well, the Marks & Spencer ad is the best ad ever, so it's not really a contest. But other than that, the Sainsbury ad takes way too long to get the point across and even though the point is excellent, I'm not sure I could ever tie a retailer in with that notion. Sorry, but I know you're trying to sell me something so, get on with it please.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2016

    Will sales promotions be the death of department stores?

    Questrom is right, but where has he been with this thinking? I hope he advised the J.C. Penney board to keep Ron Johnson instead of losing patience and getting rid of the leader that was saying this exact same thing four years ago! Now, I'm not sure at this juncture if their leadership is capable of "inspiration." Hindsight is 20-20, Allen.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2016

    What convinces retailers to innovate?

    Generally it's competition that moves the needle. Capitalist factor number one. There's an old expression in retail that it's better to be a fast second than a bleeding first.However, in the age of Amazon, I believe that's all out the window now. The speed of retail is such that being second is tantamount to losing a LOT of money and loyalty. Today, innovation has to be part of your life blood and culture, not just something you do "or else."And therein lies the problem with most "old school" retailers today: they're stuck in the fast-second world and are not actually capable of innovative thinking.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon.com vs. Jet.com

    After the last 6 months, the Amazon double message is clearly the winner. Speed, convenience, gratification and oh yeah, kindness regardless of belief. Bingo.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2016

    Are favorable online reviews critical for retailers?

    In a recent national study we did with over 2000 people, peer reviews were more important to young people than touching and feeling product. To us, that says it all. Despite that information being readily available from us and others, it's astounding how slow traditional retailers have been at bringing reviews in-store. You may have noticed that Amazon has them front and center in their book store. Yep, they know too and they did something about it.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2016

    Online wins the Black Friday weekend again

    The same factors are driving more people to shop online, it's just taken quite a while for the light bulb to go off in the center of the bell curve. But it's DEFINITELY going on now! A friend of mine compared online shopping with single malt scotch: once you taste it, you're not going back to the junk you used to drink!For online it's still more convenience, better service, easy returns and more options that are moving the needle. And like the scotch example, the more you do it, the less you want to get in your car, park, etc. -- all the '90s stuff you used to do. Now you have more time for things you want to do, like hang out with the kids. Maybe. :)
  • Posted on: 11/23/2016

    Has Best Buy solved the Amazon riddle?

    We believe stores need to become two things in the future: part fulfillment center and part playground. Best Buy has done both better than most, hence the most recent success. It doesn't mean they're out of the woods though as Amazon is relentless about innovation (witness Echo on my kitchen counter) and Best Buy is not. Best Buy is good at reacting fast AND they had the associate training part already in hand with their Blueshirt Army. But it doesn't mean they're ahead of the game.Kudos to management for reacting as fast as they did at their size. But the need to get better and innovate will not end and hopefully they're not resting on their laurels. Amazon sure as hell isn't.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: J.C. Penney vs. Kohl’s

    Christmas is for kids IMO. If I were going to give a flight gift to pops, I'd do that anytime and probably with Delta. Besides, I think my gramps would throw that VR rig back at me! Kohl's has got it this week.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2016

    Patagonia to donate all Black Friday profits to green groups

    Patagonia should write a thank you card to Jerry Stritzke of REI that would go something like this: "Thanks for the spark, Jerry." Regardless, another very brand-right move founded in anti-overconsumption as well as in environmentalism.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2016

    Will Alexa-exclusive deals bring holiday cheer to Amazon?

    So, what Amazon is saying by doing this is that Alexa is SO good, provides so much information (to them), and is so effective once you have one, that we're going to do all we can in our power to get you to own one.Next step is Alexa is free. Talk about a competitive take down. What retailer has even thought of something like Alexa? Amazon is clearly leaps and bounds ahead of all the traditional retailers. Clearly. This should be some holiday for them.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2016

    Will hundreds of small stores produce big results for Target?

    Check with Walmart about smaller stores. You'll never make up for the sheer revenues of the big box, with even 20 smaller stores, so, it's not apples to apples. BUT, if Target is planning on most of their business traveling to online (which they should), then having a physical presence within consumer reach for pick up, ship to home and brand experience is a great idea. Just ask Amazon about that, they're doing it, and it's working.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2016

    Who destroyed American Apparel?

    This is another classic case of a solid 20 to 30 store idea blowing up to proportions that are unsustainable. It's just not that great of an idea. Period. Especially considering the competitive set. If Charney would've kept it close to the vest, he'd be more than over-the-top (and living high on the hog) now by having key physical shops and selling online, all the while manufacturing in the U.S. and maintaining brand integrity.But no. We call what happened with American Apparel being "drunk on profits." Where those first few years look so good that you get intoxicated with the notion that you can blow your medium-sized idea up to be "bigger than Gap." And make no mistake, Dov wasn't the only one drunk on profits. There's a lot of culpability to go around. But in the end, again, it's just not that good or differentiated of an idea.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2016

    Will adding off-price shops lift Macy’s full-price stores?

    Wait, I thought Macy's already was an off-price store....
  • Posted on: 11/16/2016

    Nike goes big with an experiential concept in Soho

    I have to ask, what's the difference between this new take and the old "mega" flagships of the '90s? You know, the ones they mostly closed, like Union Square in San Francisco. As described, sounds identical to the one as it opened on State Street in the late '90s with the Jordan Court, etc.Guess I'll have to visit to get a sense of that. In any case, they never disappoint.

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