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Dick Seesel

Principal
Retailing In Focus LLC

For those who have declared the brick-and-mortar store dead, this is convincing evidence to the contrary. Obviously Amazon sees an opportunity given its own dominance in the category and Barnes & Noble's fading importance. At the same time, there is evidence that the appetite for "real" books (vs. e-books)...

Category captains probably make the task of space management easier and more cost-efficient for both the retailers and smaller vendors who don't have the internal resources. But I always thought the model was a case of the fox guarding the henhouse. Certainly InBev (for example) will have its own...

More than a tool to drive sales or margins, a store's return policy should be considered a marketing tool. It may seem counterintuitive that the most lenient policies are most helpful to a retailer's results, but those policies really represent a key trust-building tool with customers and a way...

The growth and penetration of the Amazon Prime program is astonishing, considering that many analysts were skeptical that Amazon could follow the Costco "membership fee" model only a few years ago. The program has created a loyalty firewall around the overall Amazon business, since Prime members receive an array...

I'm not sure whether the J.C. Penney appliance test is intended to take share from Sears right away. However, it's useful for Penney to take advantage of Sears' accelerating decline and its increased pace of store closures. It's worth finding out now (instead of after the demise of Sears)...

The CityTarget experiment has helped Target learn how urban shoppers' behavior is different. (Apartment living, public transportation or walking instead of cars and so forth.) And Target's assortments in its full-line stores are much more concise than what a typical Walmart carries — the ability to edit even further...

More and more restaurants are citing their local providers on their menus. Given the mainstreaming of the "locavore" movement, it makes sense for national chains to capitalize on this trend. It's more challenging for Williams-Sonoma (not purely a food retailer in the same sense as Whole Foods), but the...

I can see smartphones serving several purposes: First, for the same kind of communication within the store that a walkie-talkie can achieve; second, as a search tool (for example, to locate and help a customer purchase goods from a website or another location); and finally, as a mobile checkout...

I agree with the comments about team collaboration vs. individual contributions to an organization. Retail has traditionally been organized in silos and in a well-defined hierarchy. This may not be enough to attract younger managers who are otherwise drawn to the more open HR practices of tech companies and...

Full disclosure: I lived through the Kohl's LBO (in 1986) and its IPO (in 1992). Access to public markets helped fuel Kohl's expansion in the 1990s and early 2000s, but its financial requirements are different during a period of slower store growth. Any company going private might find it...

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