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Specialty Retail

Note from the editor

Following the narrative arc of specialty retail over the past year has been nothing short of dramatic. In the changing landscape of the industry, this particular slice of business has everything — amazing wins, startling collapses, comebacks and personal stories of triumph. 

All of this to say: Specialty retail is in the midst of transformative change. This report chronicles different aspects of the larger whole to give a sense of the trends that are playing out, including: 

  • How shifts in consumer behavior are pushing brands to adapt product offerings. 
  • The relationship between social justice and retail. 
  • Bankruptcies in the sector such as Toys R Us, Payless and Gymboree.

We are continually curious about what is happening in this space, and hope that these stories pique your interest, too. 

Kaarin Vembar Editor

Has Victoria's Secret sold its brand image to the Angels?

The L Brands banner calls itself "one of the most powerful, sexy and glamorous brands in the world." The problem is that's no longer a good look.

A timeline of J. Crew's rise and fall

The past few months have been tumultuous for the retailer.

The plus-size era is over before it began

In its place is a new standard: inclusive sizing, and retailers that haven't woken up to those changes in apparel risk losing billions in sales.

Inside Nike's new House of Innovation flagship

From customizable sneakers and apparel to a localized Speedshop for New York customers, the flagship does just about everything — including mobile.

30 minutes with Ulta's SVP of merchandising

Sephora might be the darling of beauty, but Ulta has been quietly opening stores and posting huge e-commerce numbers. SVP of Merchandising Monica Arnaudo shares the retailer's next moves.

Inside the 20-year decline of Toys R Us

Cost cuts, stressed employees, intercompany rivalries, dirty floors, dusty rafters, glitchy IT, fudged metrics: The people who ran the failed toy retailer's stores know what went wrong.

Airport retail has a long runway — for the right brands

Luxury goods, vending machines, bookstores, beauty products: Everything is fair game in the high flying world of airport retail. And the tech industry is about to up the stakes again.

The blunt truth: Cannabis retail is here

It's a growth industry where the potential is high, but retailers and consumers are both on a steep learning curve.

In search of the real J. Peterman

Seinfeld, Oprah, venture capital, bankruptcy: Catalog retailer John Peterman has endured everything the world has thrown at him. Can his company survive the digital era and the aging of its customers?