Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

The question isn't if your company will be the victim of a data breach, but when. Those were the sobering words of Martin Einstein, senior partner at Brann & Issacson, a law firm that represents online and multichannel companies, at the American Catalog Mailers Association's (ACMA) Forum last week in Washington, D.C. Einstein addressed the crowd of direct marketers on what they can do to mitigate their risk and exposure to a data breach, as well as how best to respond in the unfortunate event that a breach does occur. 

Just weeks after Macy's declared it's looking for a new way to grow revenues, a major North Carolina rival confirms it might be for sale. Analysts are skeptical the Cincinnati-based retailer wants to double-down on a traditional department store concept, however. Belk, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, operates 297 department stores throughout the Southeast from Maryland to Texas. Last week, Belk reported a $146.1 million profit on revenues of $4.1 billion, but disclosed it was reviewing its long-term strategic plan and hired investment banker Goldman Sachs to weigh its options.

The internet has flattened competition for retailers, big and small, and that means you have to build a personal connection with each shopper rather than compete for their wallets based on price. As competition in e-commerce continues to grow, global marketing campaigns have to become more tactical and focused. Here's how retailers can do that:

The electronics chain was referencing popular podcast "Serial," which investigates the murder of a 17-year-old named Hae Min Lee. According to Adweek, the high school student was strangled in a Best Buy parking lot in Maryland, after which the killer is said to have made a phone call from a payphone there. In little over an hour, the chain received hundreds of comments for the post, some of which criticized the brand. Others commented that people were overreacting to the gaffe.

Jos. A. Bank agreed to meet with Men's Wearhouse to discuss a potential merger after rejecting a sweetened $1.78 billion bid from the fellow menswear chain. The current Men's Wearhouse proposal is inadequate and not in the interests of investors, Hampstead, Md.-based Jos. A. Bank said yesterday in a statement. It reiterated that its separate deal to buy Eddie Bauer — an agreement reached earlier this month — would create significant value for shareholders.

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