Michael Berne

President, MJB Consulting (Retail Planning and Real Estate Consultancy)
One of North America's leading retail experts and futurists in his capacities as the President of MJB Consulting (MJB), as a keynote speaker at industry conferences, as a lecturer at universities, and as a freelance writer for business and general publications.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2021

    Allbirds’ profitable business soars higher as it continues opening stores

    I find it interesting that these digitally-native retailers always look to plant stores where they already have an online sales following. It makes sense as a way of mitigating risk. But how about locating them where they are not yet so well-known, as a way of generating needed visibility and brand awareness that then drives customers to the website/app? That would arguably be a more cost-effective approach to customer acquisition than the digital route, given the exorbitant costs of online advertising...
  • Posted on: 12/23/2020

    Starbucks sees even more stores in its future

    Regarding this move to smaller locations without seating: Starbucks Coffee's announcement of cafe closures in the central business districts of several superstar cities has received a lot of attention, and appears to be a move away from its "Third Place" function. The coffee giant claims that a shift towards more pickup/delivery-only locations will do the opposite, by reducing in-store congestion at the traditional coffeehouses that remain in a post-COVID-19 world. I wonder, however, whether the move is to some degree a concession to the reality that, in contrast to when the green mermaid first arrived in the urban core many years ago, most such areas now boast a wealth of indie/artisanal coffeehouses that outflank it in this regard. Indeed, pre-COVID-19, the Starbucks Coffee locations in the heart of Manhattan always felt more like miniature versions of Grand Central Terminal than places where everyone knew my name...
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