Stores are reinventing themselves in the Amazon era but will survive: Analyst

Key Points
  • Dana Telsey says retailers must change their focus and strategy to compete with Amazon.
  • "It's not that retail is left for dead, it's that retail is being reinvented," she said.
  • The veteran retail analyst says cosmetics makers and retailers are doing well.
Dana Telsey
Crystal Mercedes | CNBC

Veteran retail analyst Dana Telsey said the retail sector is undergoing dramatic changes in the era of big data and e-commerce, but will survive.

CNBC's Mike Santoli spoke with Telsey, who leads a top research and consulting firm focused on retail, in an exclusive interview for CNBC PRO. Santoli asked her about the sector's outlook as it faces Amazon's e-commerce onslaught.

"It's not that retail is left for dead, it's that retail is being reinvented," Telsey said.

"It used to be a concept is driven by repeat customers, but today, product innovation helps you get those repeat customers. Execution used to be all about inventory management, but today it's powered by speed. Speed of product delivery to one's home or to one's office and also speed of product development to shelf," she added.

Telsey explained how important data analytics and leadership is for retailers in the new world.

"Lastly, it's about management, and basically they were always driven by a vision, but how they get that vision today is data," she said. "Whether it's traffic, whether it's store closings, whether it's about omnichannel and how you integrate online with physical and digital or whether it's about millennials and new demographics."

Telsey is the CEO and chief research officer of Telsey Advisory Group. Before founding her firm, she worked at Bear Stearns covering the retail sector as a senior managing director. In 2016, Telsey won the Thomson Reuters award as the top stock picker for multiline retail. She is a 13-year member of Institutional Investor Magazine's All-America research team, where she was ranked first among specialty stores analysts for seven consecutive years.

The veteran Wall Street analyst also shared which area in retail is doing well.

"The other thing that is also so popular these days happens to be cosmetics. Social media, the way that brands are being discovered these days and everyone's taking selfies, the growth rates that you've seen of Estee Lauder, with makeup growth accelerating to nearly 16 percent ... certainly helps them. You've seen more loyalty members continue to sign up at Ulta, and then drive more market share and wallet share."

See here for the full CNBC PRO report and the interview video.