Goodbye Big Box

03/06/2018 | By John Cumbelich

First the old news:  Department stores are departing; Facebook has replaced the mall as our national hangout; and Amazon and its peers are where people now go to satisfy their shopping fix. These changes are taking a heavy and well documented toll on the ...

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02/22/2018 | By John Cumbelich

America’s inventory of shopping centers is ominously overbuilt.  Even if the migration of retail sales to the internet had not brought chronic overbuilding into sharp relief like it has, pre-recession overbuilding created a distorted ratio of retail space to consumers in the US.  By ...

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Raise the Bar

08/02/2017 | By John Cumbelich

A friend recently called and asked me to meet after work at a bar. I was pleased to comply, because there’s a great bar in a nice restaurant right across the street from our office. Such a request used to be so straightforward. No thinking ...

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Winner Take All

06/26/2017 | By John Cumbelich

The internet has been described as The Great Disruptor – a name that those of us in retail have no trouble appreciating. And it’s true that retail sales have been moving away from traditional stores and toward online shopping at an increasing pace. Yet ...

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Same Time Next Year

05/02/2017 | By John Cumbelich

Imagine spending exactly 48 hours with the same group of 500 people, once a year for thirty years. Imagine that in your first year you are twenty two years old, single, broke, fresh out of college and ready to take on the world.  You’re frightened ...

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Short the Stock

03/20/2017 | By John Cumbelich

The Department Store business model is dead. Macy’s and JC Penney are closing stores by the hundreds. Sears is on the verge of extinction. Mervyns and Gottschalks are bankrupt. Lest we think that these travails are only affecting the mid-tier brands, let us consider the ...

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The Pursuit of Happiness

02/27/2017 | By John Cumbelich

The world of retail is a mirror in which our culture sees itself. Like the image in your mirror at home, the changes that we see in the marketplace occur almost imperceptibly over the short term, yet the changes are inexorable. As tastes evolve about ...

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Be Prepared

10/31/2016 | By John Cumbelich

I was a Boy Scout, and now my boys are Scouts.  You have most likely heard their timeless motto, “Be Prepared”.  It’s not just wise advice for a camping trip, but a life lesson that applies to everyone, everywhere.  As uncertainty in the business ...

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