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Colleen Baum

PartnerNew York

Advises retailers and apparel brands on growth strategy, retail footprint, inventory management, and omnichannel fulfillment topics, and leads our work on North American retail real estate

Colleen is a partner in McKinsey's Retail Practice and leads our retail real estate work in North America. She helps retailers and apparel brands drive performance, and delivers expertise in brand and category strategy, store footprint and format innovation, assortment localization, merchandise planning and allocation, supply chain network planning, and omnichannel fulfillment.

Examples of Colleen’s recent work include the following:

  • developing a 12 to18-month inventory forecasting model for apparel and footwear retailer incorporating social media activity, past purchase history, and demographics
  • driving a holistic supply chain transformation at a leading grocer, redesigning DC network footprint, product flows and inventory management practices, and identifying near-term cost savings opportunities to fund longer-term investment
  • leading a customer-back supply chain assessment for a global luxury apparel brand, including benchmarking a design-to-delivery supply chain performance, identifying supply chain effectiveness opportunities to support customer aspirations, and designing a go-forward DC network configuration to improve delivery speed while mitigating labor risks
  • redesigning merchandising and inventory planning processes for a fast-fashion apparel brand, from assessing current merchandising, planning practices, and implementing new assortment planning, to financial planning practices for improved sell-through
  • improving inventory productivity for a specialty retailer with a focus on long lead-time apparel items, analyzing root cause drivers of declining inventory turns, and developing a set of initiatives to rapidly improve productivity
  • designing a retail real estate growth and investment strategy for a leading New York REIT including how to increase productivity of existing assets and prioritize future investments over the next three to five years
  • developing a ten-year growth strategy for a discount retailer, identifying trends that will impact the retail space, and defining a set of strategic initiatives to sustain between seven and ten percent revenue growth annually

Before joining McKinsey, Colleen worked as supply chain strategy manager at Home Depot, where she led a team responsible for selecting distribution center locations, managing store service assignments, and designing a multi-tier inventory positioning model.  She holds a BS in industrial and systems engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Published Work

Holiday shopping in 2023: ‘It started early and will end late’,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

US holiday shopping 2023: Consumer caution and retailer resilience,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

US holiday shopping 2022: ’Tis the season to be (cautiously) optimistic,” McKinsey & Company, October 2022

Perspectives for North America’s fashion industry in a time of crisis,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020 

CPG Manufacturing: Making the most of multichannel opportunities” McKinsey & Company, March 2017 

Past Experience

Home Depot
Supply chain strategy manager

Booz Allen Hamilton
Associate, analytics


Georgia Institute of Technology
BS, industrial and systems engineering