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Cathy Hotka

Principal
Cathy Hotka & Associates

Martha Stewart is ubiquitous, with a sharply-defined identity.

The more interesting story here is the rise of the home office and the increasing number of people who are successfully self-employed. Staples has catered to this market for years, but now may find that they can hold back competition from Amazon...

What a bomb. Target basically offered merchandise it had no intention of selling. Is annoying customers really such a hot business move?

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I'm not at all surprised by the results of the JDA survey. True omnichannel is still a work in progress for most retailers, and there aren't yet best practices to work from. There are some key goals for retailers who want to succeed here, though, including product visibility, and...

Every retailer I talk to says malls are very much alive. They'll continue to evolve and serve the changing needs of their customers.

That said, it will be interesting to watch what happens to older malls that are no longer needed. I have some highly-placed analyst friends who think they'll...

Apple—the store and the very limited selection of SKUs—isn't a normal retailer, so won't represent a new business model for retailers.

That said, their careful curation of products does present an interesting model for product manufacturers. If I were managing a manufacturing company like LG, I'd certainly consider taking a...

The "let the market decide" approach is a non-starter. Without some basic regulation of the workplace, we'd once again have children working in sweatshops, and garment workers locked in dangerous buildings. Laws are passed for a reason, and I think we can all agree that a happy workforce is...

Now we're talking.

This is an opportunity for a retailer to have a meaningful conversation with customers, who'll want to return to the site soon to see what else is offered, and customers will have an incentive to offer up more information about what they prefer. This will be interesting...

Trader Joe's delivers this experience. Its relatively quirky set of house brands creates a kind of "just us insiders" sense of belonging between the brand and customers.

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I hear from retailers all the time that they're spending upwards of 80% on maintenance, but pressure is building to re-platform. It's a big jump!...but more and more retailers are looking at what the cloud can offer them.

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The Apple Store isn't a good case study of the "new store" until more retailers start carrying only 90 SKUs.

In some formats and at some times of year, traditional checkout lanes are a must. (When mom is pushing a cartload of back-to-school supplies and clothes, it doesn't make sense...

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