Merchant Forecast

What We Do

Merchant Forecast is a leading independent research provider for institutional investors in the retail and consumer sector. Our clients are an exclusive list of the nation’s largest and most respected mutual funds, hedge funds, investment managers and private equity funds.

The M4 Report

In-depth focus on four companies per week. Tracks key drivers like sales, traffic, inventory, promotions and pricing. Takes a view on management quality and delivers M4’s clear view on the outlook for the company. Report includes analysis of macro trends and quick data points on other retailers.

Mall Metrics - Weekly

Flash view of key indicators across M4’s core 35 retail names. M4 grades each company A to D and updates weekly to provide its most succinct judgment across the sector. Includes year-over-year promotional posture and depth of those promotions.

Shopping Bag Count - Monthly

Monthly read on what the shopping bags are saying. Field team members identify the first 30 shopping bags they see; results are aggregated by store (excluding department stores). This simple yet powerful indicator – with seven years of back data – has proven to be predictive of shifts in market share and overall sales trends.

Luxury Trends

Qualitative analysis of bookings and trends in the luxury sector, by brand. Both private and public companies are covered in comprehensive detail. Color, judgment and insight from one of the most seasoned merchants in the luxury space.

Custom Research

M4′s field team can provide extensive reach (up to 200 locations nationwide) for customized research projects and exclusive content on diverse topics, including management team evaluations, overseas quotas, manufacturing and more. Clients receive detailed findings and interpretation (with follow-up phone calls), plus exclusive use of the research.

We get creative: if the company you are looking at has physical locations our team can cover it. We have done custom projects for clients on companies as diverse as Tractor Supply Company, Party City and Panera Bread. Our national team of retailers is on the ground ready to answer your questions.

Specialized Services

Mall Tours

M4's senior merchants take clients on regular walking tours of a regional mall and provide expert insight into how retailers are executing their individual strategies. The tours are one-on-one events and are available only to our clients.

Back to School / Holiday Coverage

During these two key selling periods M4 hosts weekly conference calls with clients. M4's senior merchants analyze trends and provide company-by-company commentary.

Idea Dinners

Clients meet quarterly with a selection of top merchants and designers in small-group informal settings.

Access to Senior Analysts

Clients receive unlimited support from M4's senior analysts. The M4 team helps clients interpret reports, assess opportunities, test invest- ment theses and structure custom research. Clients can specify how they want to be covered and with what frequency.

Focus Groups

Clients can commission customized focus groups. M4 assembles the customer group (e.g., juniors, moms, college kids, teens) and leads the discussion while the client observes from behind one-way glass. The client picks the topic, questions and companies or brands. M4 delivers a full report with findings and interpretation.


Core Coverage

Project Capabilities Outside Core

Our Founder

portrait photo of Dan Hess

Dan Hess

Founder & CEO

Dan has covered the retail sector for institutional clients since 2001 and has built a strong reputation in the buy-side community. He is considered an expert and thought leader in the retail space, and is well-versed on the operational, merchandising and financial aspects of the space. Dan does not make buy/sell recommendations, but he does help clients understand what is happening in real time from every angle, whether it’s bottom-up or top-down. Since founding Merchant Forecast in 2001, he has developed a strong track record of predicting key inflection points in the industry. Merchant Forecast has industry-high renewal percentages because Dan and his team add value by sticking to what they know: retailing. Many of the nation’s top institutional investors count on Dan as a key resource and on Merchant Forecast as a critical part of their investment process.

Before founding Merchant Forecast, Dan spent 14 years in senior level retail merchandising roles, including Director of Marketing for Macy’s East and a member of Federated’s Merchandising Steering Committee. Prior to starting Merchant Forecast, Dan founded Body & Soul, a specialty intimate apparel chain catering to urban ethnic consumers, which was sold to Urban Brands Inc. Dan holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.


Merchant Forecast LLC continues to abide by a strict code of conduct and Compliance Manual to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and the highest level of business ethics and standards.

All retail industry information attained during the course of its independent real-time research is not influenced or obtained by the use of any deceptive or otherwise unlawful business practices or devices, including the use of insider or material non-public information.

Merchant Forecast LLC continues its historic policy of not engaging current retail management personnel for information regarding their employer or affiliates of their employer in the preparation of its M4 Report and/or custom research reports and does not provide nor receive compensation to/from the retailers or entities covered in its reports.


Send a Message

Contact Info

41 East 11th Street

11th Floor

New York NY 10003-4602

P/(212) 774-6021