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Terry Lundgren at podcast recording
Retail Trends

Terry Lundgren looks back on a career in retail

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Terry Lundgren has seen it all. From his first retail job in the executive training program at Bullock’s department store chain in California to his speedy rise through the ranks at Federated Department Stores, Lundgren’s focus on customer service never wavered. Despite the rapid change in retail, “that concept of doing whatever it takes to satisfy the customer still exists,” he says. As to where the industry is headed? He sees a “technology-driven version of what was.”

In this episode, the just-retired executive chairman and CEO of Macy’s Inc. (above right) joins NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay (above left) and Retail Gets Real host Bill Thorne (above middle) to reminisce about his career journey and share some of the wisdom he’s gained over the years.

"That concept of doing whatever it takes to satisfy the customer still exists."
Terry Lundgren

Change has always been a constant in the retail industry, and the companies that adapt to customer needs are the companies that thrive. “Retail is about the same things it’s always been about,” Shay says, referring to engaging customers where and when they are present. Whether it’s online or in-store is not the question retailers should be asking. “The consumer today doesn’t shop one or the other,” Lundgren says; Shay agrees: “It is a false distinction to say it’s between online versus in-store.”

Macy’s launched its ecommerce website in 1997 — two decades later, it’s the third-largest ecommerce site in the United States. Physical stores help, since only about 12 percent of products sold in the United States are sold online. In fact, Lundgren reiterates that nine of the top 10 ecommerce companies are retailers with a bricks-and-mortar presence.

Listen to this episode to hear Shay’s take on why holiday sales from the just-concluded 2017 season rose 5.5 percent despite the so-called “retail apocalypse.” For more great conversations from Retail Gets Real, subscribe on your favorite podcast app.


Nadee Bandaranayake is an assistant producer on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.

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