One of my favorite quotes from a retailer about the last edition of Specialty Shop Retailing is this one: “I have read, highlighted, marked up and re-read this book so many times it groans when I pick it up!” It’s been so much fun for me to hear from shopkeepers around the world about how… Read More

The busts in front of the entrance the Merchandise Mart in Chicago are all of prominent white men who founded large retail businesses, including Frank Winfield Woolworth, Marshall Field, and Aaron Montgomery Ward.  And the three largest retailers in the world today, Walmart, Costco and Kroger’s — as well as the online giant Amazon —… Read More

More than 7.5 million retail jobs are at risk of being eliminated by automation over the next several years, according to a report by Cornerstone Capital Group for the Investor Responsibility Center Institute recently quoted in an AP article by Anne D’Innocenzio.  Some of this shift is due to changes in buying habits.  Just last… Read More

I love the opportunity that our annual inventory count gives us to get our stock organized.  We start the year by throwing away broken merchandise, marking down odds and ends, and cleaning the shelves in our storage area. This year I’ve vowed to expand that fresh-start feeling to the rest of the store.  First off,… Read More

When Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, CA created the holiday of Kwanzaa in 1966, he wanted a way to preserve, revitalize and promote African American culture. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa has its own meaning, and the fourth day, Ujamaa (00-JAH-MAH) is described as “Cooperative… Read More

I was a bit discouraged to see how many of my fellow passengers were Christmas shopping on their phones as we deplaned on our trip to greet our newborn granddaughter ten days ago.  I can see how it would make sense to make use of travel time to do some online errands, but I started… Read More

This lovely gift from Royal Copenhagen is a great example of how packaging can work as an extension of your store’s identity.  For starters, the color scheme reflects the brand’s characteristic blue and white, based on the company’s signature hand-painted porcelain.  The design on the paper echoes the designs that Royal Copenhagen made famous. The… Read More

Keeping customers coming through the doors is a challenge for stores large and small.  According to a post-Black Friday Associated Press article, a JC Penney branch in NJ “was trying to make shopping in person more exciting with a DJ in the store.”  The accompanying photo implies that this attempt may not have been a… Read More

The holiday season is about to start in earnest, which means that for most of us there will be many more shoppers in the store than normal.  All of our preparation — buying merchandise, hiring and training staff, creating displays and promotions — culminate in these busy few weeks of sales. To use a sports… Read More

The Chicago Botanic Garden is one of our favorite places to visit.  We have been there in the winter, spring, summer and fall, and found that with the changing seasons there is always something new to see. But this year we stopped by in November, on a day that fell in between fall and winter. … Read More