Chief Industry Advisor - Retail
Marshal Cohen chief industry advisor of The NPD Group, Inc., is a nationally known expert on consumer behavior and the retail industry. He has followed retail trends for more than thirty years, at NPD and as the head of leading fashion and apparel manufacturers as well as major retailers. As part of his work at NPD, Marshal leads many top firms in long range and strategic planning sessions. He often utilizes motivational presentations to help launch corporate goals and kick-off meetings. Marshal is the author of two books, Why Customers Do What They Do (2006) and Buy Me! How to Get Customers to Choose Your Products and Ignore the Rest (2010).
In addition to his duties at NPD, Marshal is currently a member of several Boards of Directors and has most recently been appointed to the Cotton Board and American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA). He is also a guest professor at North Carolina State University, School of Textiles. There he is introducing students and faculty to techniques for analyzing and applying data. Marshal has been a guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Savannah College of Art and Design. He has also been twice named to the Footwear News Power 100 list.
Marshal is also a regular contributor to many major media outlets. He is frequently quoted in publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, andWomen’s Wear Daily. Additionally, he appears on various television news programs including “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” and has been a regular guest on Bloomberg TV and Radio. He is also a sought after speaker at key industry events such as MAGIC, The Fairchild CEO Summits, The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Annual Convention and The American Apparel and Footwear Association’s (AAFA) Annual Executive Summit. Recently, Marshal was the only industry expert who appeared in the documentary, “God Save my Shoes,” (godsavemyshoes.com) produced by Caid Productions.
Since joining NPD in 1999, Marshal has held a variety of positions analyzing and interpreting NPD’s uniquely combined consumer and point-of-sale tracking services for the apparel, footwear, accessories, and sports industries. His career began in the training program at Bloomingdale’s, where he worked his way up to merchandise manager. From there, he became president of WilliWear and subsequently president of Stanley Blacker. He was also founder, owner and president of Motive Marketing Group.
NPD’s industry advisors hit the stores over Black Friday weekend. See their observations on store traffic, what was hot, consumer sentiment, and more.
Stores were certainly busier than last year, but from what I saw Thanksgiving and Black Friday were a mixed bag this year.
Every year we talk about how the upcoming holiday season will compare to the prior, but sometimes that isn’t the best comparison to make.
The back-to-school shopping season has gotten trickier to focus in on as a retailer. The shifting dynamics at play, from channel blurring to consumer needs, have created a very different back-to-school landscape that is testing the ability of today’s retailers to change their traditional approaches.
That's right. Despite the surge of online and Thanksgiving Day in-store sales, combined with the less-than-stellar Friday in-store sales, retailers got the boost they needed from Saturday and even Sunday in-store business. Saturday and Sunday, which was almost non-existent last year, showed up to save the overall weekend business this year.
Pre-Black Friday online sales starting earlier than in past years, opening on Thanksgiving night; and ongoing doorbuster deals all proved to work well, but perhaps too well. As Thanksgiving Day sales start to steal the business directly from Black Friday, it appears that Thanksgiving Day has become the new Black Friday, and retailers have no one to blame but themselves.
We’ve heard a lot – and are about to hear more – about how the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees feel on a wealth of issues. But what do their supporters feel about the weighty issues surrounding the 2016 holiday shopping season? And do their attitudes about holiday shopping tie back to the messages their candidate will likely be voicing during the final debate on October 19, 2016?
With less than two months to go until the 2016 presidential election it is as if the circus has come to town. Regardless of your political affiliation, there is no denying that this presidential election year is unlike any in recent history. Presidential elections typically distract consumers and less of their attention is paid to spending, but this year the distraction is likely going to be bigger than ever.
There is a growing gap between the retail world and the apparel consumer. The seasonal selling cycle is off, the emphasis on fashion vs. function is out of balance, and there is an overlooked opportunity when it comes to dressing U.S. consumers for work. In order to get back on track, especially in the wake of recent lackluster retail earnings, the apparel industry needs to realign itself with the consumer.