NRF Show Focuses On Store Renewal

The National Retail Federation’s 2019 Retail’s Big Show, the organization’s annual convention held in New York, kicked off on January 13 with an emphasis on evolution of physical stores as a critical component.

In one of the event’s opening Main Stage sessions, Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen discussed how the company has been “transforming from a grocery company to a growth company” through its Restock Kroger and related programs. Initiatives he highlighted included the recently announced partnership with Microsoft to develop a connected store experience and another with Walgreens where it is providing a food element for that company’s drug stores in a test program.

On the convention’s second day, Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell discussed his company’s refocus on core categories and omnichannel efforts using stores as key elements in the distribution. In the recently completed holiday season, stores fulfilled three quarters of digital orders including through in-store pickup. Cornell said that, critically, Target had gone from looking at technology as an issue to looking at technology as a tool to address the real issue, which is satisfying customers as their needs and preferences change with the times.

“Consumers still want to shop at great stores,” he said.