Paula Rosenblum

Managing Partner, RSR Research

Paula Rosenblum is co-founder and Managing Partner at RSR Research and is widely recognized as one of the industry’s top retail technology analysts. She was selected as one of the “Top 50 Retail Influencers” in 2013 and writes a weekly blog for Forbes. Previous to her 12 years as an analyst, she spent over 20 years as a retail technology executive and CIO at companies including Hit or Miss, Morse Shoe, Domain Home Fashions and others.

Paula received her MBA in 1991 from Northeastern University, with a major in management of High Technology firms and was nominated to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. She’s active in a variety of organizations supporting human growth and development, and has been involved with the RetailROI charity since its earliest days.

Other Links from Paula Rosenblum:

RSR Research blog

  • Posted on: 08/18/2017

    What do consumers want when using AR or VR to shop?

    I believe VR is the next 3-D TV. It has almost no value in retail (or anywhere else, except gaming and maybe a deathbed).AR is interesting but also seems kind of niche. Gosh, I really wish retailers would focus on actual retailing, with actual employees who know what they're doing to create a better experience for customers. I really do.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2017

    Will military tech give Amazon an edge delivering packaged meals?

    Uhm, just a one word answer: No. Why should consumers solve a retailer problem?
  • Posted on: 08/11/2017

    Is a positive quarter a sign of results to come for Nordstrom?

    I kind of wish we could have seen the combined sales of and Nordstrom full-line stores. Did the huge increase in online sales offset the reduction in sales in stores?Nordstrom does a lot right. Its management tends to stay the course, rather than bounce around. I think the company over-expanded its full-line stores, but as long as they stop expanding now, the company will right itself and move forward.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2017

    What made GameStop decide to open on Thanksgiving this year?

    What an odd decision! But let's be clear ... staying closed on Thanksgiving is more than just "good PR." There is NO evidence that opening on Thanksgiving provides any increase in sales, and in fact, there is lots of evidence that it decreases profits. Retailers haven't changed their tune because of the consumer outcry (what consumer outcry?). They simply aren't getting anything out of it.To leverage Meaghan's observation, if you think that opening on Thanksgiving is going to save your business, you have some serious problems to address. There are years of data that tell us it will not save your business and it's probably not going to help it. It could hurt it, or at best be neutral. It also really messes up the demand curve.I thought GameStop was way more savvy than this.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2017

    Will Amazon’s new return policy help or hurt its marketplace sellers?

    I can appreciate the problem on both sides. Consistency is correct, but apparel returns (and jewelry) are helacious. Attempts to reduce returns have been around as long as direct-to-consumer has existed.Still, it's part of the table stakes and it's simply the only way to go.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2017

    Will grocery stores become the new mall anchors?

    I don't think grocery stores are going to make for great anchors. They tend to be in-and-out locations. I'm more bullish on electronics and home goods as anchors.I mean, what happens to the frozen foods purchased?Malls have to stop depending on anchors and invest in a more inclusive experience. They've got to earn their money.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2017

    Are private equity firms the true retail chain killers?

    The risk associated with asset-based loans and other credit instruments is not new, and it's surprisingly not well-understood. I had a talk with a Wall Street Analyst a few years ago during the Ron Johnson reign at J.C. Penney and said I thought their asset-based credit facility was their biggest risk. That person didn't even realize that this was "a thing" in their coverage area.I've worked for two different companies that got thrown into bankruptcy over their credit lines -- one was a retailer, another a media company. This goes back 20 years.So, I'm not exactly sure how we can tie loans and private equity firm ownership together, beyond the private equity firm deciding not to support its properties if they get close to the edge of their lines.With regard to the second question, the answer is, it depends. If a company is healthy but not a real growth candidate, going private is a great idea. Shopko has done well, I believe, since going private. If a company is having cash troubles, being bought by a private equity company as a "fixer-upper" is risky. Some private equity firms like to cut and cut -- and sooner or later, there's nothing left.There just is no one answer. But I would be very careful about mixing the apples of private equity firms and the oranges of credit lines together.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2017

    Is Donald Trump the reason Latinos are spending less at retail?

    I don't know. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of our current president, but I have some issues all the way around with this thesis.The biggest issue: It always bugs me when "Hispanics" are discussed as a homogeneous group. They're not. I had a rather passionate argument with the CEO of Nielsen over this topic a few years ago. Living in Miami, it's very easy to see that they are not the same. It's sort of like grouping all Semites into one cluster. You can't do it.Sure, I would not be surprised to see Mexicans avoiding the U.S. Heck, I would avoid it if I were them with all the noise out there. But what does that have to do with Venezuelans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, etc.? Nothing.So I think I have to say the data is based on an erroneous assumption, and therefore isn't telling me much of anything. And I'll say it again. I am no fan of 45 so there is zero prejudice here.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2017

    Is online fulfillment from stores too complex for e-grocery?

    I'm not sure the problem is solvable. I think I wasn't clear about that. You certainly don't want to turn product any slower ... and by definition, the faster it turns, the more out of whack the perpetual gets. Home delivery has to be a profitable enterprise, and I'm having a hard time visualizing that.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2017

    Is online fulfillment from stores too complex for e-grocery?

    Funny you should ask this question. Because of a knee injury, I had to use Instacart for a couple of months. At first it seemed addictive, but it got really tiresome ... Publix in particular was always missing several items I requested (Whole Foods actually did a far better job). It got to where I had to say no substitutes but I still kept getting them. I've given up on Instacart, and my knee is better ... but this is a real problem and I don't see it going away any time soon.Product just turns too quickly for inventory records to stay accurate.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2017

    Will Prime Day give Amazon an insurmountable advantage online?

    Is anyone making any predictions on how profitable Prime Day will be? Good heavens, has the world entirely forgotten business fundamentals?
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Will consumers ever feel better about sharing their data?

    We are in a difficult situation, with the federal government demanding voter rolls from the states and way too much hype around AI (among many things). This does not make people feel warm and fuzzy about sharing their data.I actually believe that the "pact" of exchanging privacy for relevancy is deteriorating. What shoppers are asking for is almost the impossible -- give me relevancy and leave me alone. But that's what they want.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2017

    Is QVC’s acquisition of HSN more about TV shopping or e-commerce?

    They do.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2017

    Is QVC’s acquisition of HSN more about TV shopping or e-commerce?

    I think it's about both. QVC has done a better job synchronizing e-commerce and TV. The audience is aging out, so consolidating makes all the sense in the world.Good move.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2017

    Have grocers figured out how to successfully do business online?

    I think they've finally figured out that doing business online is part of the cost of doing business and are trying to minimize their losses. It's not an accident that Amazon bought Whole Foods. Stores are the only way to generate profit for grocers, because it's the only way to achieve rapid turns with existing low margin. Perhaps delivery fees can mitigate the cost of home delivery, but it's not a big money maker. I can't see how it ever will be, unless those cars, trucks and drones are flying around really, really fast.

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