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NRF podcast

Retail Gets Real

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Retail Gets Real
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Subscribe to Retail Gets Real via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher for a look inside the world’s biggest — and most interesting — industry.

Retail impacts everyone, every day, everywhere

NRF’s podcast features unfiltered, insightful conversations with the industry’s most interesting people. Hear retail executives, industry experts, entrepreneurs and influencers discuss trends, their career stories and the future of retail. 

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Who should we interview next? If you know a retailer with a story to tell, please get in touch: Email podcast@nrf.com.


Episode 32: Let it snow! How retailers prep for the weather

An interview with Evan Gold, EVP of global services at Planalytics, who helps retailers account for weather when they plan their business strategy. Learn about a side of planning consumers often overlook.

Episode 31: BJ’s Chris Baldwin on what keeps this CEO up at night

An interview with Chris Baldwin, President and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club. Learn more about how the company makes strategic decisions that help it stay competitive in the face of change.

Episode 30: Beautycounter’s foundation of empowerment

An interview with Gregg Renfrew, founder and CEO of Beautycounter. Hear how she built an empire based on advocacy, education and high-performing, safe products.

Episode 29: Special holiday edition: 'Tis the season for shopping

An interview with Katherine Cullen, director of retail and consumer insights at NRF, on what retailers can expect to see this holiday, from consumer spending to what gets people in the spirit of the season.

Episode 28: Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz on putting digital first

An interview with Karen Katz, CEO of Neiman Marcus. Hear how this century-old luxury retailer adapted to drastic changes in the industry to become a digital winner with a personal touch.

Episode 27: Making the case for retail as a career

An interview with Jerry O’Brien, director of Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Learn how he helps reshape the retail career conversation with college students.

Episode 26: Supply chain management is ‘more like rocket science’ than you might think

An interview with Rick Schart, SVP of supply chain and ecommerce at Stein Mart. Listen to how the industry has evolved to gain more prominence in retail operations.

Episode 24: Allbirds gets a kick out of disrupting shoe design

An interview with Joey Zwillinger, co-founder of Allbirds. Hear how the digital startup got its foot in the door of a long-established industry with direct-to-consumer marketing.

Episode 23: Scott Galloway predicts the future of retail

An interview with Scott Galloway, clinical professor of marketing at New York University. Learn about how retailers can adapt to Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google’s power positions in the retail industry.

Episode 21: How Lane Bryant contributes to a national conversation

An interview with Brian Beitler, chief marketing officer of Lane Bryant. Discover how the century-old company is reshaping the conversation around body equality, and how the brand reinvented to appeal to the modern customer.

Episode 20: Help wanted — The retail roles you never think of

An interview with Brack Sullivan and Trey Stewart, talent acquisition executives at The Home Depot. Learn about the hidden roles the company hires for and how it has adapted hiring needs for a changing industry.

Episode 19: How Macy’s finds top talent

An interview with Anne Voller, group vice president at Macy’s Inc. and NRF Foundation board member. Learn about the mega-retailer’s approach to talent acquisition and how retail roles are evolving.

Episode 18: Behind the kitchen door — the business of restaurants

An interview with Anthony Lupo and Brian Schram of Southern Hospitality and Scarlet Oak restaurants. Learn about how they achieve rave reviews in the face of changing consumer tastes and new technologies.

Episode 17: The high point of user experience

An interview with Rob Colenso, senior product manager and UI/UX team lead for Total Wine & More. Learn about how the company gets their highly regulated products to omnichannel customers.

Episode 16: Talent acquisition’s role in business growth

An interview with Chloe Rosenthal, director of human resources for &Pizza. Learn about the popular D.C. pizza chain’s innovative company culture and approach to hiring employees.  

Episode 15: The secret sauce for small biz success

An interview with Myles Powell, entrepreneur and founder of 8 Myles gourmet sauces and seasonings. Read about how his passion for food helped him develop a successful small business and listen for mouthwatering recipe ideas. 

Episode 14 - How and why NRF forecasts the economic future

An interview with Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for NRF. Learn about the art and science of economic forecasting as Kleinhenz explains how data is modeled to provide perspective for the future.

Episode 13: S3 Active’s journey from pop-up to permanent storefront

An interview with Sarween Salih, owner of athleisure company S3 Active. Read more about her entrepreneurial story and listen to how this small retailer is building a scalable business.

Episode 12: Emerging trends in urban shopping experiences

An interview with Timothy Lowery, general manager at CityCenterDC, and Whitney Burns, senior manager of corporate communications at Hines. Find out how a mixed-use development in downtown Washington, D.C., has worked with retailers and the community to create the hottest space in town.

Episode 11: Everything you think you know about lobbyists is probably wrong

An interview with David French, NRF’s senior vice president of government affairs, on what it’s like to be a trade association lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Learn more about how lobbyists help the industry and why it’s important for retailers to share their stories with policymakers.

Episode 9: How the STORES Top 100 Retailers stay on top

An interview with Susan Reda, editor of STORES magazine. Listen to her views on what’s changing in retail and how the nation’s Top 100 Retailers are adapting to emerging trends.

Episode 8: The future of the retail store

An interview with Bluemercury co-founder and COO Barry Beck. Read about his view on changes in the retail industry and listen for insights on how one retailer is adapting to serve a new kind of consumer.

Episode 7: In search of a better fit

An interview with Philip Soriano, co-founder of menswear retailer Hugh & Crye. Learn how the bootstrapped company develops a distinctive brand and unique products, and listen to Soriano’s advice for other entrepreneurs.

Episode 6: Retail’s evolution requires a focus on talent development

An interview with former Macy’s CMO Martine Reardon and Ellen Davis, senior vice president at NRF and executive director of the NRF Foundation. Hear how the changing retail landscape is changing the talent needs of retailers.

Episode 5: How Nat Geo connects content, community and commerce

An interview with Jill Dvorak, director of merchandising and marketing at National Geographic Partners. Learn about how she helps the world-renowned publisher extend its brand through commerce.

Episode 4: Growing a small business, one scoop at a time

An interview with Victoria Lai, founder and owner of Ice Cream Jubilee. Read about how she got started and listen for her advice to other young entrepreneurs.

Episode 3: Get ready for Gen Z

An interview with NRF's Mark Mathews about the latest research on Generation Z consumers. Read more about why research is important for retail and listen for tips on what retailers can do to attract the youngest group of consumers.

Episode 2: It's not a doughnut, it's a philosophy

An interview with Greg Menna, co-founder and CEO of District Doughnut. Hear about how he built the business from the ground up.

Episode 1: How Walmart does business in China

An interview with Maggie Sans, former senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer for Walmart in China. Learn more about how she helped the retail giant cross international borders.


Meet your podcast hosts

Bill Thorne

Communicator by day and book reader by night, Bill Thorne is senior vice president for communications and public affairs at NRF. In an alternate universe he works as a landscaper, creating paintings with a living palette.

Susan Reda

As editor of STORES Magazine, Susan Reda has interviewed many retail luminaries, emerging entrepreneurs, small business owners and retail experts. She loves shopping almost as much as researching a good story, especially about the impact a new strategy, technology or tool can have on the future of retail and the shoppers who make it all possible. 

Sarah Rand

Sarah “Super Woman” Rand is vice president of digital communications at NRF and can magically expand time to fit every task that falls on her plate. When she’s not experimenting with the latest communications trends and organizational behavior, Sarah can be found at local doughnut, ice cream and bakery shops.

Katie McBreen

From ice cream scooper and J. Crew sales associate to vice president of communications and public affairs at NRF, Katie McBreen is no stranger to retail. As an Idahoan transplanted to D.C., former ski racer, identical twin and new mom, Katie’s interests spread wide and run deep. When she’s not using her gift of gab in the podcast studio, you’ll find her in or dreaming about the mountains.   

Shaquayla Mims

As student initiatives manager, Shaquayla Mims spends her days in the office marketing events and scholarship programs to Millennials, and teaching them new ways to demonstrate to their boomer parents why jobs in retail are fantastic, actually. Her Sagittarian nature and background in public relations and communications allows her to chat about anything, with anyone, at any given time.

Jessica Hibbard

Jessica Hibbard’s role as director of NRF’s online content and communications is a natural extension of her knack for idea generation. In between collecting startup stories and tracking digital commerce trends, Jessica geeks out about vintage film cameras and unwinds with analog photography. 

Tony Fontana

Tony Fontana is director, communications and head coach of the softball team at NRF. Born to be a storyteller — whether it’s in short form on social media or through dialogue on a podcast — Tony’s love of Chipotle led to his first job as a crew member for the chain.

Artemis Berry

Artemis Berry is vice president of member engagement at NRF. When she isn’t managing communities and programs she can be found reading up on all things tech and helping her toddler (#girlpower) become the next great world leader.