PROFILE

Lee Peterson

EVP Brand, Strategy & Design, WD Partners

After over 30 years as a merchant at Limited Brands, a retailer and a retail consultant, Lee brings an innovative approach to strategic assessment and brand development across diverse industries. He is particularly in tune with cultural trends, consumer demographics, and buying behavior. This experience gives Lee a well-rounded and informed approach to brand development and designing customer-focused retail and restaurant experiences. Lee wholeheartedly believes that stores must perform for the retailers, as well as consumers.

At WD Partners, he leads an experienced group of creative retail designers and strategists working on brand and prototype development for such clients as Wal-Mart, The North Face, Starbucks, Gatorade, Red Bull, Best Buy, New Balance, Safeway, Home Depot, Culver’s, Bob Evans, Whole Foods Market, eMart, Co-op Mart, Mimi’s Cafe and LensCrafters. Lee also leads WD’s marketing team which produces their web site, white papers and all marketing communications.

His comments have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, and on American Public Media’s Marketplace, as well as in industry magazines such as VM+SD, Brandweek, Chain Leader, QSR, Restaurants & Institutions, Nation’s Restaurant News, and Chain Store Age. Lee is also a frequent speaker on retail issues and trends. He is currently serving on the editorial board of VM+SD, a retail design trade magazine.  He is also an avid cyclist, outdoor enthusiast and lover of Nantucket Island.

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Chicago born, globally educated, 30+ years as a retailer and retail consultant, hammerhead cyclist
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  • Posted on: 10/18/2018

    Will rising costs throw a wrench in e-commerce operations?

    Ultimately the consumer will absorb the costs, followed closely by retailers. Reminds me of the tariffs; who do you think is going to pay for tariffs on China? No one seems to care because all boats are floating now but, at the end of the day, retailers need their vendor partners in China, just as they will need their shipping and storage partners to work with them as much as possible. Ps: I'm sure you've read where Amazon has started their own shipping company and already has over 60 cargo planes in the air. Again, ahead of the game.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    Eddie Lampert is the worst

    My top vote in the "worst" category is Terry Lundgren, especially since somehow he still gets accolades from the press for disguising the fact that he totally ruined the department store as we knew it. But I must say, Eddie is Definitely in the top three worst of all time! He's up there simply for not embracing where consumers were moving to fast enough. Sears' (and his) inability to take bold leaps cost them in the end (see Walmart for instructions on that).
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    ‘Frictionless’ is the annoying word of the year

    Well, you know, this IS the era of jargon. Jargon being defined as "any talk or writing that one does not understand." "Omni" being my favorite of last year. "Seamless" is another one now. It's kind of like getting kicked out of your company and saying, "I want to spend more time with my family." You just know that behind all that jargon, there is either A) a lot of things people (you) don't understand or B) nothing -- everything's as usual. I have a tendency to believe it's B.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Will comics, movies and music take tween retailer Justice to new heights?

    I like the idea. But this could take a while to succeed. I mean, you've got to market the idea, right? Extensively. That leaves so many questions around execution and funding. Amazon had/has endless capital back up and can afford many failures. Can Ascena?
  • Posted on: 10/10/2018

    Will Best Buy’s golden years strategy deliver long-term success?

    I like this "blue ocean" strategy (i.e.: where no one else plays), I just hope Best Buy realizes that the older generation will be close to as tech savvy as their younger counterparts the more we move down the silicon road. Example: My mom thinks Echo is the best thing that ever happened to her and is constantly talking to it (her?) and buying things as well. Yikes.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Is it too late for a new store concept from Barnes & Noble?

    The answer is yes, but 20 years ago. I know it sounds crazy, but customers know the difference between the real indie book stores and the ones that wished they'd thought of Amazon first.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2018

    Will a new private label keep Target’s customers out of Aldi and Dollar General?

    I see Target's core customer and Dollar General/Aldi's as two different things altogether with two separate marketing strategies. Having said that, it's pretty smart (pun intended) for Target to keep that discount base of their brand alive especially with private label and not turn into another department store. We have a pretty good idea of what will happen if they do.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2018

    Are retailers getting too political with voter registration campaigns?

    After the Nike move, are you kidding? Besides, less than half of eligible Americans voted in the 2016 election. I don't care who you were rooting for, that's just wrong. It's our single most important right, so IMO, retailers would be amiss to ignore it.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Can a new CEO revitalize J.C. Penney’s business?

    First of all, what does "turn around" mean? If it means closing stores and leveling off the business so it looks like they're doing better, then sure, I think she can do that. But if it means revolutionizing J.C. Penney into something relevant for young people -- I doubt it. Probably not going to happen with a 30-year veteran of other huge, close-to-irrelevant companies. Macy's: same thing. Both need REAL change, not just beating last year's numbers (which are down 40 percent from eight years ago).
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Toys ‘R’ Us to rise from the ashes of bankruptcy, but should it?

    If Toys "R" Us came back as a showroom store where you got to play with all the fun toys and then had them shipped to your home, I think there's a lot there. They were smart to keep that IP, which I bet Walmart and Amazon were licking their chops for. A showroom/experience store is such a no-brainer, it's a classic retail oversight that no one (including both of the two aforementioned behemoths) hasn't at least tried it yet. I guess "fail fast" skipped the toy business.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Will the Kroger/Walgreens pilot lead to something really big?

    I know that some retailers trying BOPIS now in their own parking lots are running into logistics problems. Given that, this is going to be a real challenge given the disparate real estate strategies. Could work in a limited way where a Walgreens is on the corner of the Kroger lot, but otherwise, this seems like good PR more than anything. Having said all that, it's good they're trying something! The fail fast mentality has finally taken hold at mass retailers. Bravo for that at the very least.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2018

    Will Amazon’s new $15 an hour minimum wage mess up rivals’ seasonal hiring plans?

    Amazon is running ads here daily for help, so to throwing this on top of their "instant job" factor will be major in this tight labor market. A great preemptive move and a nice little "OK, how 'bout this" to Bernie and company. Bravo.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Is traffic a flawed measure of engagement?

    I'm going to be the contrarian on this and say that the real "flawed" measurement going forward for physical stores is sales and especially comp sales. If your e-commerce is increasing by 15 percent to 20 percent annually, as it is for most retailers now, stores need to be measured differently altogether. It just isn't happening there anymore! As many important retail leaders are saying now, including Amazon, physical retail is about gathering information about your customer, online is where they actually buy. Footfalls are down for exactly that reason. It's a nice "plus" to get them up, but you're looking to spread the experience of the brand to anyone that comes in and have them take that collateral out as far as it'll go (word of mouth). I'd worry about creating an experience that isn't all about selling and tell stories that matter to the customer -- build THAT, and they will come.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2018

    Will Amazon disrupt retail again with its new 4-star store concept?

    This is such a no-brainer. A "best sellers" store. Sure seems like someone like Target or Walmart should've thought of this first, eh? "Our online best sellers" section. I like the flea market aspect of it as well as you may run across items you never thought of buying or just have fun seeing that others buy a lot of. That alone could be quite humorous. Fail fast! Great idea.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2018

    HiO brings pop-up vibe to new store concept

    Love this place. It's what department stores used to be until they got lost in their own scale (greedy?).

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