Barbara Thau

Contributing Retail Writer
A headshot of Barbara Thau, a contributing retail writer for

Barbara Thau, who writes the “Minding the Stores” retail column on, is a sucker for store openings and holiday previews. But the articles that inspire her delve into the essence of brands. “I like stories about the invisible force of a brand — that we feel but don’t see,” says Thau, who has been covering retail for 22 years. “Target, for example, conjures up something in our minds because of our interaction with the brand, so when Target loses its design mojo, we feel it.”

Thau enjoys translating what she sees behind the scenes for a business audience. She says technology is only interesting as it relates to social, economic and lifestyle trends and how that connects to the shopper. “It’s important to remember more than 90 percent of retail still happens in stores,” she says. “I pay attention to technology that adds never-before convenience and/or enhancement to the shopping experience. The bells and whistles alone don’t interest me.”