Stuart Jackson

Managing Director, Regency Analysis
Stuart Jackson is Managing Director and founder of Regency Analysis, a London-based M&A advisory firm.

Regency provides individual investors, families and smaller retail-focus funds with specialist insight and advice on retail investment opportunities in the UK, Europe and North America.

A high-street retail veteran, Stuart has worked in almost every area and aspect of the industry. Stuart began his career working in retail stores as a teenager before moving into management. Bitten by the retail bug he taught himself everything he could and, after a number of false starts, landed a job at a large London investment bank, overlooking their retail research and analysis.

Changing direction, he then worked for a number of smaller family offices, coordinating investment in retail on behalf of individuals and families.

In 2016, he founded Regency Analysis, spotting a gap in the market to provide individual investors with insight and guidance on high-street opportunities they cannot get elsewhere. He strongly believes that there are still great opportunities to invest in traditional retail, and that while technology has disrupted the industry, there is still a place for strong and attractive brands on the high street.

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  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: H&M vs. Gap

    Gap wins hands down. That’s not to say that the H&M ad isn’t excellent in many ways. It’s a great story with very appealing characters. It’s brilliantly produced, humorous and will appeal to potential customers. But it’s far too long, there’s not enough pace and I’m not sure it does a very effective job of showcasing their fashion.With Gap, the ad grabs your attention right from the start. The song is very catchy, the video features people of all ages; it’s clean, simple, fresh and really shows off their clothes and style. I think this ad will be a very big hit with potential new customers. It will also attract people who might not have considered the store before - maybe thinking it was too young or fashion-led for them. Well done Gap!
  • Posted on: 12/06/2017

    Will mobile move the needle for J. Crew – this holiday and beyond?

    J. Crew are right to focus on digital, and in many ways it’s a surprise they’ve left it until this late. Competition is tough and there’s no time to waste if you’ve ignored your digital strategy. UK shoppers tend to mirror those in the U.S., and right now they’re more confident than ever about buying online. According to PwC, in the UK since 2014 there has been a 39 percent increase in the number of consumers using their phone to make retail purchases at least once a year.But having a physical retail store still really important, and there is a danger that J. Crew and others could put too much time and resources into digital at the expense of their stores. According to a 2017 KPMG survey in the UK, 21 percent of online purchases use click and collect methods, and two-thirds of these customers picked up their purchases in-store. Vitally, 35 percent of online purchases were later returned in-store. So even if digital is the right focus, no brand can afford to take their eye off the ball when it comes to in-store service.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2017

    Subscription services are moving beyond just being surprise boxes

    I think the most fascinating thing about subscription box services is the potential for reverse disruption. Most are currently online, niche-market companies. But this is an area ripe for disruption by the big High Street retailers -- especially the department stores.Big chains already hold a great deal of hard data about loyal customers, their buying habits and preferences. It would make sense for many to use this data to tailor a subscription service, exploit the desire for personalised experiences and jump into the subscription box market. I think this could be coming soon -- watch this space.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2017

    Does Everlane need to open stores?

    Everlane has made exactly the right decision and it’s an impressive turnaround for Michael Preysman. Opening a physical store will not only boost profits and give existing customers the opportunity to experience the brand in a new and more intimate way, but it will introduce the company to a whole new audience, converting walk-in shoppers into loyal long-term customers.Everlane has the makings of an iconic global brand -- not just a small niche U.S. company. Its clean-cut, modern style is well-known and respected even in countries where the company doesn’t yet ship, like the UK and Europe. There is a potential global market waiting for Everlane and if it’s to exploit this demand and create a sustainable growth strategy, the smart next step is to start opening U.S. High Street stores. Well done Everlane!
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    Encouraging signs for department stores as holiday season kicks off

    I expect department stores to perform better this year -- but this doesn't mean they're on the path to sustained recovery. It just means that last year was so bad that it would be difficult for them to perform any worse. The economy and retail outlook in North America has recovered over the last 12 months, meaning that more shoppers will be willing to spend more money.The more important figure we should be looking at is the share of Christmas presents bought online vs. offline. That figure is likely to reveal the real bad news; shoppers continue to flock online. Many people hate the idea of shopping in cramped and hot department stores, where they have to ascend or descend eight floors. It's tiring just thinking about it. Online is more convenient.Department stores still haven't solved this problem: in the future, I strongly believe department stores will stock fewer products, have wider aisles, contain fewer floors and stock more high-quality goods. It will be a better experience for shoppers. Department stores can't compete on range and convenience any more, and they have to remember that. The first chain to crack it will win.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2017

    How open are consumers to AI-driven shopping?

    I’m not surprised by the lack of understanding of AI, or the caution people feel. I think it’s really easy to forget that clothes shopping is a very personal experience, often driven by quite strong emotions.While customers are happy to shop online, and value the convenience, it still doesn’t compare with the all-round sensory experience you get when shopping in a physical store in the high street. Many people still hanker for the intimacy of the physical store, and in fact many are just browsing online before they go to the stores in person.I think that’s part of the reason why people don’t fully engage with retail AI – they are happy to use it for practical, functional tasks but they don’t really trust it. They still equate AI with a faceless machine or megacorporation that doesn’t have their best interests at heart.If retailers want to improve engagement with AI they need to ensure customers see it as more human than machine – and that goes for every industry hoping to disrupt B2B using AI.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2017

    Amazon launches exclusive with Calvin Klein

    This is a significant deal for Amazon. Amazon has, of course, built a name for itself on the back of its convenience and range -- it is the best place to buy products quickly, and get them delivered even quicker.However, the high street has always had an edge in two ways: firstly, it has deeper relationships with the main brands; bricks and mortar stores have always been able to get access to exclusive products, and ranges of products. Secondly, the high street has been able to offer customers a more tailored and intimate shopping experience.This new deal with Amazon is a firm strike against the first edge. It means that high-street retailers can no longer depend on exclusive brands to set themselves apart from online. The conclusion is that physical stores need to double down on their second strength: the intimacy of the shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    Who will be left standing after the next retail shakeout?

    There’s no doubt in my mind that only those High Street stores that commit to the Third Wave will win out long-term.The other two ways come with big problems if they’re the basis for a survival strategy. Discounters can only survive if they remain the cheapest in the marketplace, but online will take that segment eventually, and consumers have no loyalty to discounters. Shoppers will go to the cheapest store, so that just drives the race to the bottom -- and low, low profits.Online has its place, and always will. But there’s a ceiling to online shopping and I think people forget that -- 85 percent of people still say they want to shop in malls or on the High Street and, while that may fall, there’s a real danger that retailers are writing off the brick-and-mortar store way too soon.For me, the Third Wave will always win: brands that have an identity, are known for quality and service and that people have a personal commitment and fondness for -- these retailers can weather any storm if they get the right strategy in place and stick with it.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Global Edition – M&S vs. Sainsbury’s

    If we’re talking about which of the two evokes the traditional Christmas spirit it has to be M&S’s Paddington Bear ad. I also think it has the warm, cuddly, feel-good factor that makes for a great seasonal ad. Christmas ads are all about selling the brand -- or getting the ad discussed so that people bother to watch it in the first place. The M&S ad wins here too -- using a much-loved British character like Paddington was a good move.The Sainsbury’s ad fails for me. It might have got people talking initially but only about how much they hated it!
  • Posted on: 11/16/2017

    Amazon Go still plans to transform convenience in retail stores

    I'm certainly not less confident. It's totally normal for a tech-first company to stay in beta phase with a new product for a long time. In fact, I believe that Gmail -- Google's email service -- was in beta for more than a decade, and well after it became popular. I expect the same to be the case for Amazon Go. It will likely stay in "beta" for a number of years to come yet. All that means is that Amazon is still refining how it works.These type of delays are only a cause for concern when the parent company doesn't have sufficient capital runway to invest in experimentation -- when the lack of a quick result means that the company has to cut back, so that the product or service never has the breathing space to develop. That is not the case for Amazon. They have more than enough cash to continue experimenting until they are fully happy.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Walmart’s online prices drive customers to its supercenters

    This is a winning strategy from my perspective. Too many traditional, established retailers are pursuing a digital-first strategy; seeing their physical stores as a legacy business which they're trying to run away from. From their perspective, the more people they can shift to online, the better.If they continue down that road they'll eventually look like an "Amazon Lite" -- not able to compete with Amazon's highly-developed global supply chain and finding it impossible to match their costs. Older retailers' competitive advantage is their physical footprint. Embrace it. Persuade customers to use physical stores.Walmart is showing the type of leadership that is required to succeed.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Are data sharing concerns still holding back true personalization?

    Consumers are willing to give their information to companies for purposes of personalization, but only if they ask for it in the first place and brands are honest about what they are going to use it for.Many of the PR scandals over the last few years have been about companies using personal data in ways that they didn't expect. And I think that this bad publicity has put many retailers off asking for customer data. A recent study of retailers found that only 14 percent of brands view personalization as essential to their customer strategies -- which, when you think about it, seems insane.The thing is, consumers are willing to consent if asked, but retailers are just worried to ask in case customers say "no" in reply. Brands are also not good at laying out the benefits -- what the customer will gain in return. At the moment, customers are still suspicious but only because retailers are not confident enough about the benefits of personalization.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Are these the best or worst of times for consumer brands?

    These are the best of times for brands. In the past physical retailers had a monopoly on the most effective channel to market, i.e., High Street and malls.They used to protect this tightly. As a result, retailers would demand incredibly favorable terms from brands. They knew that brands had very little choice unless they opened their own physical outlets, which were expensive and capital intensive.As a result, brands had to sometimes sit on their hands and just agree to whatever the retailer told them. It was a huge barrier to entry for new brands -- and suppressed innovation.Online has shattered that. It means that brands can go direct-to-consumer in a way that they simply couldn't in the past, complemented by social media. It is much cheaper and much easier. Of course, physical retailers still have a lot of bargaining power -- as do new digital retailers. But it's much lower than in the past.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2017

    Will 24/7 curbside service help Nordstrom pick up late Christmas sales?

    On the face of it, this curbside service sounds great. It’s just the kind of add-on that customers want. We all know that convenience is king and stores are falling over themselves to offer it. But there’s a trap here too, I think. By becoming more convenient there’s a danger that the physical stores just become "online-lite;" a glorified warehouse handing packages to people at the door.Stores have to value the in-store experience too. They need to play to their strengths and remember that the majority of their loyal customers want to browse in a physical store; they want that unique, intimate experience. So yes, build in convenience but hopefully Nordstrom won’t forget their essence.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    Big Data is done, put a fork in it

    The industry, in some places, has developed what I call "Big Data blindness." They are thinking in terms of only the high-order trends in the sector, and missing the personalized, very individualized treatment that customers expect.There’s no doubt that Big Data is very powerful. It has applications right across the retail industry, and it can add serious value. Retailers can use it to optimize sales and ordering, adjust store opening hours and target marketing at the right customers at the right time. It’s a fantastic way to understand your consumers at a macro-level, and get to the heart of their needs, often before they know it themselves.But in the stampede to adopt Big Data solutions, some retailers and e-tailers have started trying to make all their decisions using Big Data. It’s becoming clear that many retailers really believe every bit of the hype. They think that decisions about what will sell, what won't, and how to wow customers in Paris can be made from sitting behind a computer screen in an office in Chicago.That’s why, despite the gloom and doom right now, I do expect to see a resurgence on the High Street over the coming years. Consumers will start to rebel against the tech-driven companies and seek more intimate shopping experiences. The death of the High Street is greatly exaggerated.

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