Greetings From FierceRetail's New Retail Geek

      Laura Heller

I'm thrilled to join FierceMarkets and be a part of a growing group of B2B titles to the retail industry. This is a business I love, I am a true retail geek.

Retail sales are the driving force behind our modern economy. We wait for monthly, quarterly and annual sales with bated breath. A report to the positive can boost consumer confidence and buoy the economy, industry and Wall Street alike.

But the industry is much more than a collection of numbers. For me, it's far more personal. I was born and raised in Chicago, where Montgomery Ward and Sears perfected catalog retailing and where Charles Walgreen Sr. grew a neighborhood drugstore into a chain pharmacy -- and introduced the malted milkshake.

I've been covering retail for nearly 20 years, having begun my journalism career at a B2B publication to the supermarket industry. From there it was on to big box stores, discounters and consumer electronics retailers. All were for a B2B audience.

I've seen the rise, and fall, of category killers. I've reported on the struggles of venerable retailers such as JCPenney and Sears, and the resurgence of others like Macy's and JCrew, reinventing themselves for a new generation of shoppers.

And of course, there are the legions of new concepts that continue to excite shoppers and set the bar a little bit higher for everyone.

The retail executives, vendors and marketers I've encountered over the years are a collection of smart, driven, passionate and compassionate individuals. From Richard Schulze, the founder of Best Buy who showed his devotion to the company he built long after his retirement, to Jeff Bezos, whose infectious enthusiasm keeps investors and shoppers buying into the value of even in the absence of retail profits.

This is an industry of visionaries.

Smart people are working hard at innovating the retail experience today. It's a privilege to be a part of it.

The FierceMarket Retail team, including Nicole Melton and Drew Woolley, will be producing weekly newsletters, Webinars, features and eBooks. We'll be constantly updating Web content, so check back often. If there's a subject you'd like covered more in depth, please let us know.

The retail industry is a community and we'd like for everyone to find a home in FierceMarkets.

Laura Heller
Executive Editor, FierceRetail