This week, I speak with Dana Telsey, of the Telsey Advisory Group (TAG), a research firm specializing in the study and analysis of retailers, REITs, and restaurants.
She began her career as an assistant to Ron Baron of Baron Funds ($26 billion in assets under management). Baron taught her how to assess corporate management, a skill that serves her well when analyzing individual retailers.
Telsey got her MBA at night, while working her way the corporate ladder to research analyst. She moved to Bear Stearns, where she spent 12 years covering retailers, and was a top-rated Institutional Investor for 13 straight years. Leaving Bear in 2006, she launched Telsey Advisory Group (TAG), covering retail stocks for a global institutional client base. In 2015, Ms. Telsey also formed Telsey Consumer Fund Management LP, a long/short hedge fund investing in consumer-based companies.
Telsey emphasizes the paramount importance of actually getting into stores, meeting customers, interacting with staff, looking at merchandising, store traffic, and seeing customer reactions in real time. She notes that in every city she travels to for work or pleasure, she spends time looking at regional and national stores as well as malls. What some people call shopping to Telsey is pure economic research.
We discuss the impact of online, what innovations retailers are implementing to compete, and how the landscape is constantly being altered new technology. Cashier-less stores, “Buy online/pick up in stores, new parking innovations(!) are all helping retailers in this very competitive environment.
We also discuss Amazon, the 800 pound gorilla in online retail.