PROFILE

Christine Russo

Owner/Founder, Retail Creative and Consulting Agency

Christine is a consultant for retailers, brands and technology solution providers through her firm, the Retail Creative and Consulting Agency. She is a graduate of Cornell University, has made her way to retail by way of Deloitte and worked for global retail brands. Her expertise is in digital and physical retail.

RCCA works with brands and retailers from enterprise through independent and is a source for optimizing business through digitization, automation and technology.

RCCA specializes in authentic reports and interviews with leading technology platform service providers for real-talk about solutions — game-changing, affordable, manageable solutions — that have big impact on the bottom line.

She has served as a mentor and strategist for companies such as Chief Strategy Officer of The Robin Report, mentor for NY Fashion Tech Lab and Graduate School Professor of Global Retail for the Fashion Institute of Technology Graduate School.

Christine lives in New York City, has three grown daughters,  one American Eskimo and one English Bulldog.  If she wasn’t relentlessly researching retail tech and growth strategies, she’d be a very average stand-up comedian.

To learn more, visit:

rccagency.com

Instagram/@russochristine

Instagram/@connected.retail

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Christine is a consultant for retailers, brands and technology solution providers through her firm, the Retail Creative and Consulting Agency.S he is a graduate of Cornell University, has made her way to retail by way of Deloitte and worked for global retail brands. Her expertise is in digital and physical retail. RCCA works with brands and retailers from enterprise through independent and is a source for optimizing business through digitization, automation and technology. RCCA specializes in authentic reports and interviews with leading technology platform service providers for real-talk about solutions – game-changing, affordable, manageable solutions --that have big impact on the bottom line. She has served as a mentor and strategist for companies such as Chief Strategy Officer of The Robin Report, mentor for NY Fashion Tech Lab and Graduate School Professor of Global Retail for the Fashion Institute of Technology Graduate School. Christine lives in NY City, has three grown daughters, 1 American Eskimo and 1 English Bulldog. If she wasn’t relentlessly researching retail tech and growth strategies; she’d be a very average stand-up comedian.
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  • Posted on: 03/02/2021

    Are short-term leases here to stay?

    In consumer-facing real estate like retail, contrary to most opinions, shorter-term leases can work in favor of landlords. Yes, landlords love signing a long-term lease with a well qualified tenant (notice that there is a bank on every corner in NYC) with incremental increases and typically mall landlords sign long leases and leverage locations across their portfolios. But this approach has lead to stale environments and thus the mantras that the "mall is dead." With massive migration out of cities to suburbs, the likelihood of mall traffic increasing is very high. And since there are so many different types of people migrating, a mall wants to keep their options open (using short-term leases) to respond to the changes and cater to the community as it evolves. Furthermore, short-term leasing now is based on a premise that the economy will roar back and, in two years time, when three-year leases start to get negotiated, asking rents can be much higher. As long as a landlord's financing allows for short-term leases, this is the right approach.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2021

    Will the post-pandemic era be America’s next Roaring ‘20s?

    About economic prosperity and cultural upheaval: There is pent up demand in certain sectors like travel, gatherings, and theme parks. The companies that have been held back and not allowed to open will see huge gains. Makeup had been on a tear before COVID-19, remained vibrant during COVID-19 and will continue on a huge growth trajectory because it's where young creatives have low barriers to entry and can express themselves to their tribes. This creativity used to funnel through the apparel industry. Now, apparel is a rich man's game and there won't be as big of an unleashing post COVID-19. Most fashion dollars, in the younger generation, come through repurposed clothing styles customers do their own unique way. For event dressing and corporate in-person meetings/conferences/speeches/events there will be a surge in expanding a person's closet. Whether they go back to traditional clothing ownership or turn to rental packages remains to be seen. Cultural upheaval has already started and will definitely continue. New governmental leaders and localized activity will create changes in city living, opportunities and fair treatment.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2021

    Do grocers need to get better at planning for weather-related disasters?

    My answer is no wrapped in a yes. No, stores should not remain open - taking safer measures means keeping people off the streets in an ice storm, etc. Grocery stores and other essential retailers should have micro-fulfillment capabilities that are flexible and unimaginably close (think bike or scooter or even walking) to the end-consumer so that roads can remain clear, and people can stay home. The idea that people have to go TO the store vs. having the store go TO the people, especially in a crisis, is dated. There are modular, micro-fulfillment options on the market such as nanofulfillment.com and attabotics. Also, news footage of stores running out of essentials and/or food is absurd. Endless aisles in micro-fulfillment centers will also solve this.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work

    The discussion is really about -- what does a brick-and-mortar sales employee look like? Of course a proficiency in customer service and sales is needed but a digital acumen could become a critical hiring prerequisite. Will retailers incorporate technology and digitization from their corporate teams and lean on the on-store employees for clienteling and more? The smart ones will.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2021

    Starbucks’ meatless store pilot ran in stealth mode

    Short answer - no, vegan-only stores will not be prolific. It's niche and maybe possible in a few markets. Experimentation is very, very important and usually not part of business practices because of the cost, the risk, the unknown and that dreaded phrase -- "what's the ROI?" Customer feedback through experimentation is not measured in ROI and only the best businesses recognize that it still should be done.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2021

    Does Walgreens’ nursing home experience portend a slow retail recovery?

    Yes, I do think reluctance will dissipate and yes, I think retailers should have a Plan B, C, D -- you get the idea. Retail's volatility will continue for the near term and so constant evolution is required. The good news is that the tech world has taken a fancy to retail and there are ENDLESS solutions to reach and service clients.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2021

    No sweat. Target’s activewear brand’s sales move past $1B

    It's still rare for a retailer with DNA rooted in multi-brand distribution to excel at design, sourcing and production as well. We see various levels of success such as private labels like INC and others. Target has not only managed to be incredibly successful, they always have their finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. It's amazing. Their trend watch and sentiment measurement is like none other. They are never late. Always ahead of the curve.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2021

    No sweat. Target’s activewear brand’s sales move past $1B

    Hits the bullseye - good one!
  • Posted on: 02/05/2021

    Are U.S. manufacturing sources an absolute necessity for American retailers today?

    If it wasn't already obvious, production sourcing is a never ending process. There is a zeitgeist effect. Decisions move in waves and can be driven by price, quality, governmental incentives, and even governmental marketing. A look back on production for the past 20 years will show waves of movement within China and to Vietnam, India, Ethiopia and more. Add the U.S. to the wave - whether it's due to the pandemic or consumer sentiment - it is a retailer's job to continuously seek production solutions. What is becoming clearer to many is that production sourcing is not a one and done decision.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2021

    GameStop hires Amazon, Chewy and QVC vets to transform its business

    If Gamestop manages to really pivot - it will be the blueprint for so, so, so many (primarily mall) brick-and-mortar stores. The wave of gaming will only continue to grow. This could be a "game" changer!
  • Posted on: 01/28/2021

    Is Target’s limited-edition collab with Levi’s a sign of bigger things to come?

    Target is simply amazing at presentation, scarcity-marketing and picking amazing partners that traditionally slant toward being a legacy brand, but also with a modern sensibility and Levi's is no exception. I had no idea Levi's did home and I'm guessing most people didn't either, so this will surely shout it from the rooftop. Interesting to see "lifestyle" retail (a la the 2000s when brands sought to sell you their product from top to toe and home as well -- think Ralph Lauren leading the way...) come back. With the wane in popularity of the Joanna Gaines aesthetic of shiplap and farm-vibe, Levi's home collection has an opportunity to strike.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2021

    Can Rosalind Brewer cure what is ailing Walgreens business?

    New Jersey Governor Murphy has gone on record about his frustration with Walgreens -- it is interesting to see a politician call out a company by name when sidestepping is usually part of political protocol. It would be assumed that correcting their operations around the vaccine would be a major issue to tackle. It could also be expected that Walgreens will digitize, as did Starbucks so successfully blending the digital and physical experience. Perhaps Walgreens goes Global (to China) as aggressively as Starbucks? That would be fascinating.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2021

    Will Walmart gain an unrivaled edge by automating its local grocery fulfillment?

    The last mile is becoming old news -- it's now the last few blocks! Delivery times are expected to be quicker (same day) or less (a few hours). The pandemic has opened up large spaces which are perfect for micro-fulfillment centers, particularly mobile ones like companies such as Nanofulfillment (that can be set up quickly and/or be relocated -- as the data indicates -- to the closest locations and/or the most densely located consumer locations). Being as close to your clients as possible is a must and data-driven retailers can really thread the needle.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2021

    NRF 2021: Will Lululemon ever get tired of winning?

    Lululemon is a phenom. It's a wildly crowded space and the landscape is littered with lower-priced "dupes" and STILL they are exuberant. Lululemon is the absolute definition of LOYALTY. Loyalty is a brand's golden ticket - when clients are wildly (blindly) loyal then micro-transgressions will be overlooked, purchasing will continue and more. Their connection to their customer is almost at the DNA level (think back to early NW Nordstrom days). Nothing will come between Lululemon and their loyalists - it has little to do with having a Mirror, not having a Mirror, having see-through pants, whatever. Lululemon currently has a psychological connection to their clients that is almost undefinable. This is a wave they will continue to enjoy for a while. (It also doesn't hurt that they are a Wall Street darling).
  • Posted on: 01/21/2021

    Do boutique hotels and housing make sense for RH?

    On the outside this looks like a fluff move driven by personal interest however, today there is little difference between a home, boutique hotel and showroom. Many home owners get their design ideas from hotels. Additionally, with the mass move-outs of cities to second homes or full relocation due to COVID-19, the opportunity for new clients is exploding in Aspen. Here is a snippet from a Wall Street Journal article published in October: "Aspen is attracting affluent buyers from both coasts and Texas. July home-sales contracts jumped more than fivefold over that same month a year earlier, a surge that appraiser Jonathan Miller called unprecedented for Aspen in a recent report." RH will sell to all of them!

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