PROFILE

Roy White

Editor-at-large, RetailWire

Roy White has covered the mass market retailing scene for several decades, initially as the editor of Drug Store News and then with Perspectives Group, Inc. He was also vice president of education for the Global Market Development Center for nine years.

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  • Posted on: 07/12/2018

    New CEO focused on keeping the Dunkin’ brand relevant

    You can’t argue with success. In the most recent fiscal year, revenues (with the biggest share being franchise fees and royalties) rose 4 percent and income before taxes increased 8 percent. However, the coffee-based marketing may not be the perfect solution. During fiscal 2017, sales growth at Dunkin' Donuts U.S. was driven by breakfast sandwiches. Beverage sales were flat. Iced coffee, helped by cold brew, grew, but there was a decline in hot coffee. First quarter sales and profits continued to rise although modestly, with one of the big growth drivers being the breakfast sandwiches.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2018

    Nordstrom opening more Local stores without inventory

    That Nordstrom is opening more inventory-less Local neighborhood hubs is a highly positive development and appears to confirm the success of the initial store. Long term, it is another step in breaking the mold of the traditional store and replacing it with something exciting and different which is aimed at creating a new shopping dynamic for shoppers that no longer respond to the old format.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Abercrombie & Fitch goes to college with a new store concept


    It is highly laudable, indeed necessary, for retailers of all channels to replace the tired store concepts of the past that no longer provide the performance to survive in the 21st century. In the case of this new Abercrombie & Fitch unit in particular, the omni-functionality interplay is excellent, especially the interactive screens enabling customers to shop the entire site and move items added to their carts to in-store registers for checkout. However, the experimental store might have been more cutting edge had more technology been involved in the design, along with the marketing efforts.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2018

    Toy City pop-ups look to fill the gap left by Toys ‘R’ Us

    This is as much about the changing nature of retail as it is about filling the retail toy vacuum. Not only are traditional retailers, such as Walmart and Target (plus a start-up with toys and baby products under one roof) seeking to move into the space left vacant by the demise of Toys "R" Us, but now a different kind of operation is entering this arena. Party City not only operates with pop-ups, it’s also a vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor, franchiser and retailer. It has over 900 units globally. It achieved nearly $2.4 billion in sales last year, generated net profits equal to 9% of sales and its retail business operates on 44% gross margins. In the first quarter of this year, sales grew 7 percent and profits 14 percent. The toy retail market looks like it’s going to assume a completely different shape than before.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2018

    CVS looks to one-up Walgreens, other rivals with nationwide Rx deliveries

    This will undoubtedly strengthen CVS’s competitive position and reinforces the chain’s persona as a healthcare provider offering a very broad menu of services. Like supermarket checkouts, prescription lines at the in-store pharmacy counter are a pain and, I’m guessing, even with the fee it will be a popular benefit. It also appears CVS can afford it: In the first fiscal quarter, the corporation’s retail segment generated a 13 percent increment in operating profits on a 6 percent gain in sales. Moreover, this segment operates with pretty healthy gross margins of 29 percent. As for the issue of not getting that valuable prescription customer into the store, the front end now only accounts for less than a quarter of store sales and about 12 percent of total corporate sales. If a drug store retailer wants to set itself up to counter Amazon, this is one way to do it.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2018

    Microsoft exploring checkout-less technologies

    Current store formats do not appear to be working as well as they used to, and prototypes of new configurations are an absolute necessity if the brick-and-mortar store is to evolve into something that will appeal to the 21st century shopper. The availability of cashier-less technologies besides those from Amazon is a highly positive step that opens more opportunities for retailers to begin designing a more technology-oriented store and changing the time-worn footprints of today. While this may or may not be the way to go, experimentation is essential to find out what will work in the future.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2018

    Publix pulls political funding amid anti-gun protests

    Why a retailer which serves the general public would chose to support one candidate over another in a public way such as a donation is the mystery to begin with. No matter who you support -- saint, villain, savior, whatever -- you will make at least part of your customer base that doesn’t support that candidate feel alienated from your store. And even with an operation with Publix’s franchise, no supermarket retailer can afford to create a distance from any part its customer base for what is essentially a non-business move.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2018

    Sam’s Club takes on Costco and Amazon with a new strategy

    The best thing that could happen to Sam’s Club is to be spun off from the Walmart corporation so that it can determine its own fate. Right now it’s very much in third place in the corporate pecking order, and if the division were free it could establish an independent store opening strategy and redesign the stores themselves. The e-commerce moves are great but closing 63 stores is not an auspicious start to catching up and passing Costco. Sam’s Club profits declined in the nine months and sales were up only 3%. The absence of these closed units will stymie further sales growth. In contrast, Costco is several times larger than Sam’s Club, sales are growing much faster and it is very profitable.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2018

    Amazon Go goes live

    This is the sort of experimentation that Amazon should be doing with its Whole Foods acquisition, instead of having to defend itself on the high levels of out-of-stocks. Whether or not the store in Seattle is a full success or not, it is moving forward with exploration of what the future of retailing will be. This unit could very well be the Keedoozle or original King Kullen of the the 21st century that set retailing on a path that changed everything.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2018

    At NRF Show, CVS calls for transparency in beauty

    Whatever else this may be in terms of success, it was — and continues to be days after the announcement — a brilliant public relations move. The amount of voice that this announcement has garnered is massive, however you want to put it.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2018

    Surreal to so real – Sam’s closes 63 clubs after Walmart announces pay raise

    Talk about timing and poor planning for these announcements. The pay increases are vitally important since many Americans are extremely suspicious that any of the corporate tax benefits are going to be flowing into the pockets of workers. That they are at Walmart (at least initially – suspicion here again) is a big score. Why the stores were shuttered at this particular moment with no prior announcement in many cases is odd. Sam’s Club has been performing poorly for some considerable time, so the decision to shutter stores has to have been on the table for discussion and determination for some considerable time. To make it worse, however, ironically, in the third quarter ended October, Sam’s not only made money, the division increased profits by 13%. I doubt the stores absolutely had to go at this particular moment.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2018

    Whole Foods asks vendors to pay to play

    Many of us were hoping that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods would be the first step in a new era of store design, operations and merchandising and that the digital world would meet brick-and-mortar retailing in a positive way. Sadly, however, that Daymon is managing the remake appears to mean that Whole Foods is being recreated as a standard -- and confrontational -- supermarket chain generating some of its earnings from “contributions” from suppliers.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2018

    J.C. Penney is feeling merry about its Christmas performance

    J.C. Penney should certainly be as merry as they want with these numbers, but they should by no means get carried away. The basic dynamics the retailer faces have perhaps been alleviated during a remarkably good Christmas season for many merchants, but in fact the issues remain. For example, through the nine months ended October, corporate sales were down, the net loss after taxes widened to $370 million from $191 million, debt continues to be over $4 billion, 139 stores had to be closed during the period, and no new units were opened. J.C. Penney has a ways to go yet.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2018

    Should Amazon have Target in its acquisition sights?

    Amazon should not have Target in its sights at this point. Even for Amazon, a rapid pace of acquisitions can be risky. Target is a $70 billion in sales company with over 1,800 stores, and it needs work. Earnings are declining and corporate sales growth is marginal. Amazon is still figuring out Whole Foods and what to do with it; it has only owned it for four or five months; and Whole Foods is a lot smaller than Target, with 470 stores and $16 billion in sales. If and when Amazon gets a good handle on brick-and-mortar retailing and how to integrate it into digital and online selling, then maybe Target should be in the cross hairs.
  • Posted on: 12/21/2017

    Will a store-within-a-store work for deli?

    Any development that helps break the mold of the current supermarket has to be regarded as a plus and makes sense. That this initiative provides local, fresh artisanal brands makes it a double plus, and helps the supermarket evolve. Partnerships open up opportunities to access expertise which few supermarkets can provide internally.

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