The consumer sector constantly evolves new tools and channels to empower companies and the customers they serve. Buyers and sellers face a mix of challenges, from inflation to supply chain disruption to sustainable production and consumption. We focus on companies that matter most to our clients while monitoring the sector’s promising developments and trends.
Adept and adaptive to constant change in a broad arena
Blue Heron’s consumer team has developed internal tools to sustain familiarity with a sector comprised of 39 wide-ranging MSCI subindustries, including automobiles, packaged foods, luxury goods, apparel, and more. Each team member also attends to industries and companies of particular interest to provide more depth of coverage where it’s needed.
Over the past five years, Blue Heron has executed hundreds of diligence examinations within the consumer sector. Recently, we’ve helped clients learn more about:
tidal challenges retailers face as they balance e-commerce expansion with brick-and-mortar maintenance;
tensions between profitability, sustainability, and labor issues in fashion;
management team adjustments in response to Covid, changes in legislation, and changes in sustainability expectations;
electric vehicle uptake across a patchwork of regulatory and incentive settings; and
supply chain problems and shortages in the conventional auto market.
Recent areas of research
Automobiles and components
Manufacturers, tires, rubber
Hospitality, cruise lines, casinos
Durables and apparel
Home furnishings, leisure products, footwear, apparel, accessories, luxury goods
Consumer discretionary distribution and retail
Automotive, broadline, apparel
Food retail, merchandise retail, brewers, packaged foods and meats, personal care products
In examining the management team of a food production company that was enjoying strong growth, Blue Heron determined the looming risks such a company might face.
By speaking to vendors who make marketplace prioritization decisions, Blue Heron discovered perceptions of livestream auctions, boutique-versus-big-box affiliations, and third-party logistics relationships.
Using regularly scheduled, in-depth conversations with automobile dealers across the US and Europe, Blue Heron has developed a real-time barometer of sentiment among sales agents as they navigate challenges to their long-standing sales model.
Shortly after a major consumer staples company announced a change at the top of its leadership team, Blue Heron investigated the degree to which the new executive wielded the broad skill set needed to thrive at an international conglomerate.
Meet our consumer team
Sector Leader, Consumer
Jason is Consumer Sector Leader and a Senior Consumer Project Manager at Blue Heron. His responsibilities include setting the consumer practices goals and overseeing consumer-related projects. Prior to joining Blue Heron, he managed and executed research projects for 23 years with the grassroots research division of Allianz Global Investors, working with journalists and researchers to customize qualitative, interview-based business investigations that informed the decision-making of analysts and portfolio managers. Jason holds a master’s degree in education from Stanford University.
Beth is a Consumer Project Manager with over 20 years of experience as an investment manager due diligence specialist. In addition to recommending consumer-related investment managers to clients, she evaluated consumer long/short equity strategies for an internal seeding portfolio manager platform. Previously, she was a director of hedge funds at Colonial Consulting and a director at Sandell Asset Management. She began her due diligence career as a research analyst at Ivy Asset Management. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations.
Deputy Director, Researchers Europe
Freya is a Consumer Researcher and the Deputy Director of European Researchers at Blue Heron, with a focus on consumer discretionary goods and sustainability. She previously worked as a probation officer within the UK Ministry of Justice, interviewing and managing offenders in the community. Freya has a background in anthropology and academic research, including projects in the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, and Europe. She holds a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University College of London and is fluent in English, German, and Spanish.
Ainslie is a Consumer Researcher at Blue Heron with a focus on broadline retail. Previously, she has worked as a geopolitical analyst, a French and Italian instructor, and a freelance translator. Ainslie holds a master’s degree in French and Italian sociolinguistics and a doctorate in European history from the University of Melbourne. She is fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, and Catalan.