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Thanks for sharing! I think that Uniqlo has a key competitive advantage over Zara since their inventory is generally focused on fashion forward basics in limited color schemes. Theoretically, this should allow them to be even faster than Zara in getting products to market because it is fewer SKUs and less variation from year-to-year. Another option would be to implement ordering online with in-store pickup. Other retailers have found success in providing choice to consumers regarding how they receive products. This also reduces delivery costs, increasing funds available to invest in digitization technologies.

On December 1, 2017, Matt commented on GameOver for GameStop? :

Thanks for the reflection – I think that you did a nice job highlighting a number of interesting issues currently facing Gamestop. In reflecting on the issues confronted by Gamestop, I wonder if there is an opportunity to launch a PowerPass-like digital platform, thereby enabling gamers to access a wide library of games (likely not new releases) – somewhat similar to the Netflix model (potentially with purchasable content as well). Additionally, along the lines of what you had proposed with converting retail locations to arcades, I think Gamestop could potentially benefit from placing stores in high foot traffic areas and incorporating experiential elements such as the ability to compete in tournaments or try out games before playing. Finally, it seems like Gamestop has made only a half-hearted attempt to be the go-to location for purchasing consoles due to limited price competition, which may be giving up the option to be the retailer of choice thereafter when considering additional game purchases.

On December 1, 2017, Matt commented on How Supply Chain Improvements are Enabling Growth At Adidas :

Very interesting! I applaud Adidas’s initiative to increase the speed and efficiency with which they deliver products to consumers. However, I think in a trend-driven industry like shoes, there will always be a place for creative directors. Adidas’s goal should not necessarily be to increase speed to increase customization, but to adopt a Zara-like model of decreasing turnaround time between design and delivery to ensure that they are able to deliver the latest trends in athletic-wear to consumers.

On December 1, 2017, Matt commented on That’s all Folks: Warner Bros in China :

Very interesting reflection on a topic that I don’t see getting much analysis in the popular press. I think that there are a number of examples of US / Western companies that have been slow to gain traction / easily pushed out by local competitors in China as a result of a better understanding of the local preferences and/or a desire of the local population to utilize a Chinese alternative (uber, amazon, whatsapp etc). I would be curious to learn the degree to which heritage brands, such as WB, have sufficient traction and popular appeal so as not to be supplanted by a local competitor. Relatedly, there has been some push back in U.S. cinema where anticipated Asian castings have been substituted with white American actors – it would be interesting to see what, if any, impact this has had on the market viability of these different films in the Chinese market.

On December 1, 2017, Matt commented on Can Macy’s Stay Competitive? :

Great commentary – thanks for posting! An interesting counterpart to Macy’s strategy is Nordstrom and their new “Nordstrom Local” stores. These stores are smaller footprint and have no inventory. Instead, there are several fitting rooms where shoppers can pre-select what they want to try on and have it shipped to their Nordstrom Local store. The stores are equipped with personal shoppers and have coffee and juice bars. It’s a shift to a more experience-based shopping experience, and could be an interesting strategy for Macy’s to emulate going forward.

On December 1, 2017, Matt commented on American Eagle Outfitters flying high on digitization :

Thanks for the commentary! I was interested to see the question that you posed around whether AEO could leverage its limited inventory and digitized platform to move toward a more Zara-like platform of expediently delivering on market trends. In my hometown, AEO had a concept store in which it displayed its next season’s apparel lines to determine what items were and weren’t selling well – thoughts on whether this is an antiquated model that AEO should move away from going forward? Additionally, toward the goal of limiting inventory, I wonder if AEO could utilize its deep data resources to create a Watson-like AI that assisted with in-store shopping decisions both around what a particular customer may be interested in and appropriate sizing (tracked through the loyalty program).