September 21, 2017

marketIn malls across the country, food courts act as hubs where shoppers can eat, drink, and take breaks from comparing price tags. Along with sharing a common purpose, these corrals of restaurants and drink stands often serve similar fare, too. After all, walk into any food court and you’re likely to find mainstay chains like Sbarro, Subway and Panda Express alongside a couple of local options.

This dependable if slightly boring structure served retail centers well for decades as shoppers Continue reading

Continue reading...

September 19, 2017

tiia-montoThe decline of brick and mortar retail has been one of the biggest business stories of the year, with formerly successful chains like HH Gregg, Payless and others filing for bankruptcy. And this week Toys ‘R’ Us became the latest company to join this unfortunate group. Like so many other traditional retailers, Toys ‘R’ Us couldn’t keep up with the growing dominance of Amazon. The company’s CEO said it would need to slash prices in order to stay afloat, Continue reading

Continue reading...

July 13, 2017

charles-chanAs we’ve covered a couple of times already, this has been a difficult year for many American retailers. While brick-and-mortar stores struggle to compete with e-commerce outlets, online retailers as well must grapple with the ever-increasing might of Amazon. These seismic shifts in power have led many to wonder what the future of the industry might look like. Amazon has recently been experimenting with cashierless stores, but observers say the company still has a lot of work to do Continue reading

Continue reading...

June 19, 2017

robert-scobleA few months ago we looked at how increased competition has hurt sales at Whole Foods and slowed its growth in recent years. Faced with the possibility of shutting down stores, CEO John Mackey cleared five people from the board of directors, appointed a new chairwoman, and hired a new CFO. Executives even developed plans to cut costs while also improving operations.

Then suddenly everything changed: last week Amazon announced that it would buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. This Continue reading

Continue reading...

June 15, 2017

tupalo-zara2017 has not been a good year so far for many retailers. Chains like J.C. Penney and Sears plan to close hundreds of locations while J. Crew has posted 11 consecutive quarters of declining same-store sales. But as these formerly powerful brands struggle, the Spanish fashion giant Zara is thriving like never before. This week its parent company Inditex announced that first quarter sales jumped 18 percent to $733.3 million. Plus, total sales for Zara topped out at $6.3 billion, Continue reading

Continue reading...

raniel-diazSince 1967 customers have flocked to Trader Joe’s to stock up on such unusually named items as Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers and Chocolate Dilemma Cheesecake. And while the grocery chain has attracted thousands of loyal patrons over the years, perhaps no other customer has been as dedicated as Mike Hallatt. For years this Vancouver native would drive 3 hours south of his Canadian hometown to Seattle where he would pack his car with as many Trader Joe’s products as he Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 20, 2017

macysAfter losing a lot of ground during the Great Recession, today’s economic environment seems perfect for retailers looking to return to their glory days. Gas prices are low, wages are rising, and GDP has grown for the past eight years in a row. Still, even these seemingly ideal conditions can’t help this ailing industry. Nine retail chains have filed for bankruptcy in 2017, including HH Gregg and Payless. Meanwhile Macy’s, Sears, J.C. Penney and RadioShack each announced that they would Continue reading

Continue reading...

February 24, 2017

OakLabsAs e-commerce companies like Amazon become more and more popular, traditional retailers have scrambled to find ways to bring people back into stores. Along with placing scannable QR codes by items, brick and mortar outlets have also tried large internet kiosks that allow customers to browse their online stores. Despite retailers’ best efforts, though, these attempts at modernizing haven’t caught on with consumers. After all, who would walk into a place just to check its online store?

The startup Oak Continue reading

Continue reading...

February 16, 2017

KurtisGarbuttWhen Whole Foods launched in 1978, organic grocery stores were a unique concept for most of the country. As Americans became more health conscious, though, the Austin-based chain eventually expanded into an empire of 469 stores across three countries. In fact, the future for Whole Foods looked so bright that last year the company announced it would add 1,200 stores in the U.S.

But as 2017 arrived, the company’s long term outlook became far less optimistic. Now Whole Foods says Continue reading

Continue reading...

January 31, 2017

WilliamMurphyFor years American Apparel seemed poised to become the next big fashion brand. Their simple but bold cotton clothing and suggestive advertisements catapulted the company to a $1 billion valuation in 2007. A decade later, however, American Apparel filed for bankruptcy and sold its assets to a Canadian firm for just $88 million. Along with shuttering its 110 stores, the company also lost its famed garment factory in Los Angeles.

This production facility was one of American Apparel’s best assets Continue reading

Continue reading...