Natchitoches native Oliver Chen was recently named to 2019’s List of People Shaping Retail’s Future by the National Retail Federation (NRF) at its conference in New York City. Chen, a managing director and senior equity research analyst at Cowen, is one of the most influential Wall Street analysts in the retail industry. His research, which covers Walmart, Tiffany & Co, Target and others provides insight into how traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores can thrive in a retail sector increasingly challenged by online sales.
Chen grew up in Natchitoches, attending the NSU elementary lab and middle schools. He is the son of NSU professor, Ron Chen, and Fu-Mei Chen, who together built a highly successful import-export business as well as the local Front Street retail outlet, Brass House, where Oliver began working at age 12.
The streets and stores of Natchitoches are where Chen first realized his love of retail. Some of his earliest childhood memories include going to the town’s stores to buy holiday gifts for friends and family. Even today, when he finds himself walking down Fifth Ave in New York, nothing compares to the stores on Front Street.
Chen has received numerous industry awards and accolades for his analysis of the retail sector. The Natchitoches native was named to the 2017 and 2018 Institutional Investor All-America Research Team as one of the top analyst in the retail industry.
Chen was also recognized in 2017 as one of the prestigious Wharton School’s “Forty Under Forty” list of its brightest alumni. He regularly appears on CNBC and Bloomberg and his research has also been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and many other industry publications.