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Mall-based specialty retail, from Abercrombie to Zara, was in large part declared “non-essential” during this Spring’s pandemic lockdowns, and the sector still suffers in most states from reduced capacity and depressed demand. Nearly all these companies are struggling to stay solvent; over two dozen have declared bankruptcy.

CBUS Retail is developing a docuseries tailor-made for this unprecedented time, focused on the impact of Covid-19 on specialty retail companies and the strategies they are pursuing to emerge from the crisis. The series features their executives’ passion for the industry and the heroic efforts required to close, retool and reopen stores; manage cash; fix supply chains; clean up inventories; unleash ecommerce; and lure customers back as the economy reopens. We celebrate PRODUCT and BRAND. Columbus, Ohio, too, is a character, as are various well-known analysts and industry figures from other retail hubs.

One new episode will be released every week. Join to become a member of CBUS Retail or just sign up directly to get exclusive access to each episode. 

CBUS Retail takes its tagline “We Love Retail” with heartfelt seriousness. We know that the retail employees who work in stores, DCs and HQ — and those in the supporting ecosystem of technology companies, creative agencies, consultancies, etc. — as well as the tens of thousands recently laid off from these companies due to the crisis, all love this industry too. This series is for us.


Episode One


Introduces the pandemic’s impacts; explains the role that Columbus, Ohio plays in the past, present and future of the retail industry; and makes the case for watching this episodic series. The future of specialty retail is up for grabs. Are you ready?

Watch on 10/27/20

Episode Two


Discusses the factors reshaping retail before Covid and their impact on retail’s accelerated post-pandemic future.

Watch on 11/10/20



Episode Three

Supply Chain, Interrupted

Describes the supply chain challenges of shuttering stores, scattered reopenings, and re-engineering for the post-Covid future.

Watch on 11/17/20



Episode Four

Liquidity and The Lobby

Focuses on the financial challenges presented by the pandemic, the strains on landlord and vendor relationships, the changing ownership structure of the sector, and the lobbying efforts of the retail industry to seek relief.

Watch on 11/24/20

Episode Five

The Reopening

Highlights the store operations function and the extreme challenges of closing and then safely reopening and operating stores, for the most part, unprofitably. What is the future role of stores? And will they ever make money?

Watch on 12/1/20

Episode Six

What Will Women Want?

Explores the centrality of the merchandising and design functions, the product challenges presented by the pandemic, and the science and arts that determine what goes into a line.

Watch on 12/8/20


Episode Seven

Digital First

The acceleration of ecommerce, omni-channel and other digital technologies and enablers to solve for pandemic-influenced shopping behavior, sleeker supply chains, and smarter decisions across the value chain.

Watch on 12/15/20

Episode Eight

Innovation and Reinvention

Presents five signposts for retail’s future: (1) reinventing essentials, (2) Alibaba’s innovations, (3) a reinvented mall, (4) video-infused ecommerce, (5) inessential foundations.

Watch on 12/22/20



Episode Nine

CEO Roundtable

Virtual panel discussion among retail CEOs. Focuses on strategies to position for post-Covid economy.

Watch on 1/26/21




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