The New Rules of Retail

Competing in the World's Toughest Marketplace

Robin Lewis and Michael Dart

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

In The New Rules of Retail , industry gurus Robin Lewis and Michael Dart explained how unprecedented consumer power, enabled by technology and globalization, is revolutionizing retail. They warned that survival in these dynamic times called for a business model based on three distinct competencies: preemptive, perpetual distribution; a neurological customer connection; and total control of the value chain. In the years since that book published, many of their predictions have come true. Now, they revisit timeless case studies like Ralph Lauren and Sears, as well as new additions like Trader Joe’s, Lululemon, and Warby Parker, to assess how retailers must continue to evolve in the era of e-commerce, data mining, and tiered distribution. They also identify the five current trends that are currently driving consumer demand, including technology integration and channel consolidation, as exemplified by Jeff Bezos at Amazon. This is a fully revised and updated guide from two proven retail prognosticators.


Praise for The New Rules of Retail

“Takes a real approach to describe why some retailers prospered and others failed through each wave of retail history. Lewis and Dart’s use of case examples brings the book to life, clearly spelling out how customers and the competitive environment have changed and how retailers today must connect with their customers and take control of their value chain to not only be successful, but survive.”

—Ken Hicks, chairman and CEO, Foot Locker, Inc., and former COO of JCPenney


The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace is an important and instructive read for industry veterans and newcomers alike. Lewis and Dart provide a practical roadmap for success in the rapidly evolving environment, along with an assessment of the retailers who ‘get it.’ With the authors’ dire prediction that 50 percent of retailers will be unable to survive the transition to Wave III, this is a must-read for everyone in the business today!”

—Jane Elfers, president and CEO, The Children’s Place


“This book is an essential read for anyone who is interested in a history of what drives 70 percent of the U.S. economy and the many challenges expected to be faced in the future. Like we are now seeing in politics, the voter/consumer is in the driver’s seat, and those serving her had better take heed.”

—Allen Questrom, former CEO, JCPenney, Federated Department Stores, and Barney’s


The New Rules of Retail is a must-read for students of contemporary retailing. Full of meaningful insights about the current environment, the authors chart the course for a successful retail future.”

—Paul Charron, former CEO of Liz Claiborne


“Lewis and Dart have written an interesting and thoroughly researched book that traces the evolution of the retail business from the distant past to the looming future. Clearly, they know and understand all the players—well worth reading.”

—Marvin Traub, former president and CEO, Bloomingdales


The New Rules of Retail is an incredibly interesting and a provocative read. I thoroughly enjoyed the authors’ insight on past events. I look forward to debate and dialogue about their predictions for the future.”

—Tom Wyatt, president, Old Navy


“Lewis and Dart give a very accurate view of the past history of retailing. But more importantly, they offer an insightful and strategic view of the consumers and business models needed to support its future.”

—Claudio Del Vecchio, CEO, Brooks Brothers


The New Rules of Retail shows how to win in an unprecedented environment where consumers have instant access to hundreds of choices for everything they need. Lewis and Dart’s recommendations are dramatic, but they show that the consequences for those who stick with the status quo will be dire. A highly original and insightful book.”

—Mark Sarvary, CEO, Tempur-Pedic International Inc.


“Lewis and Dart have so many thought-provoking ideas that I used up a box of paper clips marking the pages I wanted my various department heads to read. And they’re easy to follow—I understood the concept of a

‘neurologically connective experience’ right away. All future decisions in retailing and wholesaling will be influenced by this book.”

—Bud Konheim, CEO, Nicole Miller


“Lewis and Dart have shown once again that they have their fingers on the pulse of both consumer needs and the ever-changing retail industry. The New Rules of Retail is a must-read for anyone who wants to not only survive but to thrive in the decades to come.”

—Kevin M. Burke, president and CEO, American Apparel & Footwear Association


The New Rules of Retail is a powerful analysis of the tectonic shifts that have transformed this industry, and it reveals the secrets of succeeding in today’s new economic and digital environment. Authors Robin Lewis and Michael Dart know retailing inside and out and their thought-provoking book, with its incisive perspective, proves it.”

—Tracy Mullin, former president and CEO, National Retail Federation



Reviews from Goodreads



  • Robin Lewis and Michael Dart

  • Robin Lewis is the founder and CEO of The Robin Report. He launched the Goldman Sachs retail consulting network, Vantage Marketplace, prior to which he was executive editor of Women’s Wear Daily. He is often quoted in Time magazine, Chicago Sun Times, Financial Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Brand Week, and Advertising Age, as well as appearing on CNBC, Fox News, and Good Morning America.

    Michael Dart is a leader & partner in AT Kearney's private equity group, specializing in retail & consumer goods. He lives in San Francisco, California.

  • Robin Lewis
    Robin Lewis


Available Formats and Book Details

The New Rules of Retail

Competing in the World's Toughest Marketplace

Robin Lewis and Michael Dart