VMSD - June 2017 - 35

SPECIAL REPORT: STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

- MEET THE EXPERTS -
Neil specializes in strategic planning and the development of new retail concepts. He prides himself
on long-standing relationships and repeat engagements with valued clients, many extending more
than 10 years. Neil leads the company's food retail
Neil Stern

biggest challenge is the pace at which sales have gone
online to e-commerce. Similarly, Peterson attributes
the onslaught of store-closing headlines this year to
retailers still working to find their "right size."
"Twelve percent of retail is e-commerce," says
Stern. "But that varies fairly dramatically by category
... It seems like when it gets to about 20 percent penetration, which is where it is now in categories like
sporting goods and apparel, that the economics of the
existing stores are really going to be challenged."
So the question then becomes: How many stores are
absolutely necessary to drive shoppers to brands' online
storefronts? "If you have ten unproductive stores, sure,
maybe a couple of them should close," says Soffe. For
others, she notes, such as Bebe or American Apparel,
who have been bleeding capital for some time, "[closing
all of their stores] is a matter of necessity - it's dollars
and cents - it's the retailers with capital that have a
little more staying power as they have room to experiment with innovative ideas and store formats."

Senior Partner,
McMillanDoolittle

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
While the state of the retail industry has been in flux
this year, the economy at large is relatively robust, says
PNC Bank (Pittsburgh) Economist Mekael Teshome.
"The wrongs that got us into the Great Recession have,
over the last eight years, been righting themselves, and
the U.S. economy is moving toward balance."
Despite a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in
March and less-than-expected first-quarter consumer
spending results, Teshome says he expects that consumer spending will be fairly positive this year. "We're
expecting 2.3 percent growth in consumer spending,
as part of the GDP component ... so overall, our outlook for the retail sector is pretty good."
Teshome notes that consumers will be in a better

Mekael
Teshome

and due diligence sectors. During his career at
McMillanDoolittle, Neil has developed strategies
and new concepts for a diverse variety of clients
across the retail industry.

Loretta is an award-winning merchant renowned
for pioneering consumer-based growth strategies,
building private and national brands, and bridging
the gap between traditional and digital retail. Following a 24-year career at Nordstrom, where she
Loretta Soffe
Principal, Loretta
Soffe Consulting

served as evp of women's apparel, Loretta transitioned into the private sector and has become
a trusted advisor and consultant to a broad spectrum of ceos, presidents and equity investors, while
providing strategic direction to her high-profile
clients.

Mekael is assistant vp and economist for The PNC
Financial Services Group, responsible for contributing to PNC's regional, national and international
economic analysis. Mekael focuses on state and
metropolitan economies within PNC's economic

Economist,
PNC Bank, N.A.

footprint as well as industry analysis. He serves on
the board of economic advisors for the North Carolina Chamber Foundation and the board of directors of the Economic Club of Pittsburgh.

With more than 30 years of experience as a
retailer, strategist and leader in brand and design,
Lee brings an innovative approach to strategic
assessment and brand development by understanding cultural trends, consumer demographics
Lee Peterson
Executive VP,
Brand, Strategy
& Design, WD
Partners

and buyer behavior. At WD Partners, he leads a
group of creatives working on a variety of retail,
restaurant and brand experiences.

VMSD.COM

|

JUNE 2017

35


http://www.VMSD.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - June 2017

Vmsd - June 2017
Contents
From the Editor
Vmsd Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
Next Store
Street Clothes
What’s the Story?
Special Report: State of the Industry
Totally Tubular!
Keep Calm and Carry on (Shopping)
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out
VMSD - June 2017 - Intro
VMSD - June 2017 - BB1
VMSD - June 2017 - BB2
VMSD - June 2017 - Vmsd - June 2017
VMSD - June 2017 - Cover2
VMSD - June 2017 - 1
VMSD - June 2017 - Contents
VMSD - June 2017 - 3
VMSD - June 2017 - From the Editor
VMSD - June 2017 - 5
VMSD - June 2017 - Vmsd Editorial Advisory Board
VMSD - June 2017 - 7
VMSD - June 2017 - The Goods
VMSD - June 2017 - T1
VMSD - June 2017 - T2
VMSD - June 2017 - T3
VMSD - June 2017 - T4
VMSD - June 2017 - T5
VMSD - June 2017 - T6
VMSD - June 2017 - T7
VMSD - June 2017 - T8
VMSD - June 2017 - T9
VMSD - June 2017 - T10
VMSD - June 2017 - T11
VMSD - June 2017 - T12
VMSD - June 2017 - 9
VMSD - June 2017 - 10
VMSD - June 2017 - 11
VMSD - June 2017 - 12
VMSD - June 2017 - 13
VMSD - June 2017 - 14
VMSD - June 2017 - 15
VMSD - June 2017 - Next Store
VMSD - June 2017 - 17
VMSD - June 2017 - Street Clothes
VMSD - June 2017 - 19
VMSD - June 2017 - 20
VMSD - June 2017 - 21
VMSD - June 2017 - 22
VMSD - June 2017 - 23
VMSD - June 2017 - 24
VMSD - June 2017 - 25
VMSD - June 2017 - What’s the Story?
VMSD - June 2017 - 27
VMSD - June 2017 - 28
VMSD - June 2017 - 29
VMSD - June 2017 - Special Report: State of the Industry
VMSD - June 2017 - 31
VMSD - June 2017 - 32
VMSD - June 2017 - 33
VMSD - June 2017 - 34
VMSD - June 2017 - 35
VMSD - June 2017 - 36
VMSD - June 2017 - 37
VMSD - June 2017 - 38
VMSD - June 2017 - Totally Tubular!
VMSD - June 2017 - 40
VMSD - June 2017 - 41
VMSD - June 2017 - 42
VMSD - June 2017 - Keep Calm and Carry on (Shopping)
VMSD - June 2017 - 44
VMSD - June 2017 - 45
VMSD - June 2017 - Showroom
VMSD - June 2017 - 47
VMSD - June 2017 - 48
VMSD - June 2017 - 49
VMSD - June 2017 - 50
VMSD - June 2017 - Ad Index
VMSD - June 2017 - 52
VMSD - June 2017 - 53
VMSD - June 2017 - 54
VMSD - June 2017 - 55
VMSD - June 2017 - Checking Out
VMSD - June 2017 - Cover3
VMSD - June 2017 - Cover4
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