I just read a good interview on CNN with Mickey Drexler, formerly of Gap and now with J.Crew and Madewell.
It is an interesting read, and provides some insight into the thought process of the retail industry. He has -- like most executives not currently hibernating in some bear cave -- perceived that this is a tough market. He shares some of his thinking and strategies to make his brands successful.
His concept of 'Quality goods at a fair price' seems blazingly obvious to me. And yet, it clearly is not as obvious as it seems. It must be very easy to get off-track in the retail world, as evidenced by the junk in many of the stores, today.
This is without a doubt what took out Disney's jaunt into the retail mall channel (although they tend to blame the staff for not 'upselling' enough). During the last two of my six years at The Disney Store, our merchandise devolved into being what I could only describe as craptacular: crappy quality at a spectacularly high price. And it didn't sell. And stores closed. And that's all folks.
I wish Mickey Drexler more luck than Mickey Mouse.