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
  • Posted on: 12/14/2018

    Does Starbucks have a big delivery opportunity?

    Oh, save us from more caffeine! This is SO going to work. Starbucks will proliferate even more than they have now. But on the dark side (can't help it), is anyone else waiting for the "caffeine is bad for you" hammer to drop? My doctor told me that one cup (actual cup) of coffee a day is not bad for anyone. Two cups; depends on the person's chemistry. And three cups (just short of a Venti) a day is too much for anyone and not healthy. Given that, I know people who drink at least two huge coffees a day in one form or another. Lots of them, actually. The term "everything in moderation" doesn't really apply to Americans, does it? Look out below. Question: Is caffeine in the 2020s what cigarettes were in the 1950s? Anyway, just throwing that out there to see how many "thumbs downs" I'll get. :)
  • Posted on: 12/14/2018

    Does fear motivate workers or make things worse?

    Fear/intimidation as a management tool is over. For one thing, in the American economy and with all the "right to work" (ironic term) states in play, most people are fully cognizant of the fact that they could be sacked for absolutely no reason, or even vague reasons like "restructuring" or "position elimination" at any given time. So fear is "understood" by anyone but the most naive (rookies). You don't need to make the environment worse, you need to make it better, as in, "we're all in this together." Make it work and we all win, not make it work or else. Everyone already knows that.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2018

    Is Kroger following the Sears playbook for self-destruction?

    Yeah, I think Neil's right. Kroger's stores are awful. But if you think the Sears death spiral is being played out in slow motion, wait till Kroger's comes to light. Kroger is an expert at ekeing out 1 percent increases with notes on minuscule progress of some sort. They're not going anywhere fast. And unlike Sears, they will serve a need that will take a LOT of squeezing from the much more progressive likes of Walmart, Target and Amazon (eventually) to bring about the obvious finale. Kroger is just there. There is no "there" there, they just exist because of scale and necessity. It's hard to watch.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2018

    Drugstore/grocery pilot is two-thirds Walgreens and one-third Kroger

    I don't get it. More than a third of Walgreens' space is already like a lot of parts of Kroger. Sounds like they're just outsourcing the measly 15% of their business to someone who knows how to do it better. I don't see this as a huge revenue lift at all.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2018

    Walmart gives associates a tool to deal with out-of-stocks

    That's called "endless aisle" and others (REI, Nike) have done it successfully for some time now. It's a GREAT idea and an even better idea for Walmart to add more (well-trained) associates to their sales floors to provide this service. Once again, Walmart seems to be one of the few retailers that is not going to take Amazon's onslaught lying down. You go, Wally.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2018

    Can Gap cut its way to profitability?

    Gap reminds me of JCPenney in that their main plan, brought forward by a financially oriented leadership group, is to cut their way back to profitability. Relevance to the new customer, innovation, convenience and WAY better product while right-sizing is the only way to build themselves back to a great brand and so far, they seem to be able to only inch their way towards those goals -- other than cutting, which they're great at. Sad, but like Penney, you can see the slow death spiral forming for Gap.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2018

    Are retailers better off going cashless?

    The credit card fees can always be re-negotiated, especially if they jump to a huge number. I wouldn't worry about that so much because volume-wise, it's a win-win for banks and retailers AND customers (the most important participant). On the lighter side, we were just laughing about this today: what are the hold up people going to do? Are we putting all the robbers out of business? They should go on strike! Yeah, JK.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Target vs. Walmart

    Funny, both ads say the same thing, but the Walmart/Rick James ad was the one that turned all the Millennial heads in my living room this weekend. Usually Target does a great job with music, but I'm afraid they got "Can't Touch This"'d by Walmart.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2018

    Does Amazon’s record performance point to the growing importance of Cyber Monday?

    Am I the only one that thinks the idea of "Cyber Monday" is antiquated? I mean, shopping at work or when all the kids are gone ... really? Those numbers are discount driven on an ancient theory, IMO. Consumers are now more than infamous for shopping online any time, anywhere, any outfit, right? "Turkey 5" is more like it. What's to stop anyone from shopping online the entire week? Waiting to get to work? I doubt it. Discounts driven by '90s thinking? I guess so. Give the discounts on Sunday please so I don't have to get out of my PJs. Thanks, Jeff. Made sense in 1998, but seems like something that should go in the "that is so '90s" trash can. Along with the term "Cyber," btw.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2018

    Are Black Friday results a sign of Christmas 2018 things to come?

    Seems consistent with trend lines: store traffic down, e-com and BOPIS up and overall smiley faces all around. I'm still not in favor of opening on T-Day as it only serves to flatten out what was once Black Friday, but people seem (operative term) to enjoy shopping that day in store and otherwise, so here's to them! Looks like a good holiday coming up. Appreciate it while you can.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2018

    Waitrose disses John Lewis’ Elton John Christmas commercial

    Really great. But I have to say, we should never leave it up to Americans to criticize British humor. We didn't inherit enough of it from them, unfortunately. Funniest people on earth. Well played.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2018

    Will 2018 be the last holiday season for long checkout lines?

    I was just standing in a line in a store the other day thinking, "what am i doing here?" The old online devil on my shoulder kicks in more and more for just about anything now. As slow as consumers have been to completely ditch stores, though, I think it's going to be a decade or two. But every line adds to the dilemma. Scan and go is the answer. It's just not that easy to implement or for adoption rates to skyrocket. So I believe you can look for long lines at Christmas for a while still. Bah Humbug!
  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Best Buy

    Well, it's like form vs. function, Best Buy being more of the latter. In my opinion if you're going to do a feel good ad, look at what Apple does -- amazing visuals with some great song you never heard before. i.e.: Super Hooks. It looks like Amazon was aiming at feel good but couldn't make up their minds enough to go all the way, a la Apple, so this ad totally fails on that front. The Best Buy ads are simple. They tell you what they do and sell, both of which are pretty unique, and get out of Dodge. With just these examples present, Best Buy seems the better of the two. it could be that someone coming in your house and setting up crazy tech equipment might even be called a feel good ad. It is for me!
  • Posted on: 11/15/2018

    I don’t like Amazon as much as I did last week

    It's worse than that; throw in the tax breaks they're going to get that amount to $1.5 billion, that, judging from the last time I was on the subway, New York could really use!! We have to ask ourselves, as members of our own "contest"-losing towns, what kind of business comes into your neighborhood only on the condition that they pay little if no taxes? To fix roads, to repair public transportation, to increase needed law enforcement in the designated areas, on and on? What happened to "business as community member"? It's not only about profits or the jobs, Mr. Big CEO.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Will right-sized stores drive bigger returns for Macy’s?

    It's a start, but the real answer is flipping the model itself: as Ron Johnson suggested and as Walmart is now planning, the idea of a Town Center with restaurants, work space, showroom stores and excellent staffing should also be on the docket. Think revolution vs. evolution (and slow death). Good to see that something is being tried other than useless tech and new merchandise, but simply put: stores -- all of them -- need to become something else, not just stacked merchandise, no matter how big they are.

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