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Cathy Hotka

Principal
Cathy Hotka & Associates

This is easily one of the strangest stories of the year.

McDonald's doesn't have open grills, so it would never be able to duplicate the taste of a Burger King burger. McDonald's needs to boost its PR, though, so perhaps it can challenge Burger King to make something it currently...

Good luck with that. If companies want to retain high-quality employees, they'll join the 21st century and take on the "burden" of processing packages.

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Gap is facing an existential crisis. Its merchandise looks the same from year to year, the price point is too high and there's too much emphasis on unisex design.

Moving to adopt a fast fashion approach might actually provide a way out, by giving customers a stronger voice in what...

There are several lessons from this story, including the role of non-competes in retail. The larger lesson, though, is that Kohl's was willing to go on record to assert the importance of technology. One can only hope that this presages an increase in the IT budget there and at...

The survey missed an important complaint: the customer is given four options and none of them apply to their question, and there is no option to talk to a live person. One of the reasons Lands' End has been so successful is its live, friendly, English-speaking call attendants.

Companies that...

The key here is that zulily keeps its management team intact. Under the careful stewardship of Darrell Cavens (formerly of Blue Nile) they've made smart choices and have executed well on strategy. While I wouldn't have expected this news, I've got to think that it will be smart in...

People, cosmetics samples are FREE. Present yourself at a department store beauty counter and ask for one, or several. It's nothing short of genius that Birchbox has bamboozled people into thinking you have to pay for them. Good for Sephora for latching onto the bandwagon.

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This is a huge question for retailers and it's not just about the cost of using a carrier. It's also an issue of operations when merchandise is being shipped from stores. Who picks? Who packs? Where are items set aside? Put them near the front of the store, or...

There was a story on the news about this last night, with hackers from Def Con showing how to open the correspondent's car doors using $32 worth of computer parts. That's scary, but the idea of someone taking control of your car while you're on the Beltway is really...

On-call scheduling makes it next to impossible for parents to work in retail. Abercrombie & Fitch will find that, by making this change, they'll be able to attract a more mature and responsible workforce.

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