Empowering Retail Owners Institute

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This week's featured info!


Gain peace of mind. Face the future with confidence.

Use The ROI's 3-in-1 INTEGRATED Cash Flow Calculator.

The ROI's 3-in-1 INTEGRATED Calculator

Easy and quick for retailers to use and understand.

Specifically for retailers who want to see for themselves "What would happen if I...?"

This online "Retailer's Best Friend" enables any retailer, anywhere, on your own, to quickly generate a profit plan (budget) for the year, plus an Open-to-Buy plan, plus the resulting cash flow projections! 

All from the same few inputs (it's "integrated.") And without having to ask your bookkeeper or accountant.

Go here for more about this remarkable tool for retailers, available only from The ROI.

See why it is fondly known as the "Retailer's Best Friend!"

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Financially stronger than you realize?

The ROI's GMROI GROWTH RaterHere is a fast, simple, and extremely telling measure of a retailer's financial viability.

The ROI has developed the unique GMROI GROWTH Rater. It reveals how financially viable your business is.

Here's how it works:

IF your GMROI is higher than the average-performing retailer in your segment, that means your productivity is higher than average. In other words, your stores are well-positioned for growth! 

However, IF your GMROI is lower than the average, that could signal you're headed for a cash crunch. 

That information is really vital to know, isn't it? Especially in advance! 

Want to know what could be ahead for your stores? Thanks to The ROI's GMROI GROWTH Rater, you can find out in seconds, on your own, for FREE! 

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The Top Five "Killers" of Retail Businesses

Last year in the United States, one retailer failed every 12 minutes. Five failures per hour, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

Before drawing any quick conclusions as to "Why?", consider these other factoids:

• Over one-third of the retail businesses that fail are actually "profitable."

• "Declining sales" is NOT one of the Top Five causes of retail failures.

Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it? But there is definitely some good news in all this.

Go here on The ROI site to see the five principal causes of retail failures

And be sure to notice the good news: none of them is an "uncontrollable."

See? All five of these menaces are retail management basics, all within the Owner's capabilities to manage and monitor. Go get 'em!


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Commentary of Pat Johnson & Dick Outcalt

Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC • Retail Turnaround Experts • Co-Founders, The Retail Owners Institute®

Retailing's Wary Relationship with Technology

"Better to be swimming alongside than in front of the shark," observed Citi Research analysts about Kohl's plans to accept Amazon returns in all 1,150 of its stores.

We think that same sentiment can be applied to how independent retailers deal with technology.


Based on a study it commissioned*, the worldwide accounting firm BDO has identified a significant gulf between retailers who are "Thrivers"  – profitable and experiencing robust growth – and those who are merely "Survivors" – stable and breaking even.

According to Natalie Kotlyar, "Survivors tend to avoid risk and are focused on keeping pace with traditional competitors, while Thrivers are making smart bets and focused on standing out from competition with exclusive offerings. Most importantly, Thrivers are planning ahead." 

She goes on to suggest that Survivors struggle to keep up with technological innovation. Instead, they "rely on their customer service and physical assets to capture business from competitors and create more memorable in-store experiences."

What Will Be Key for Effective Technology Use?

Obviously, the idea that technology separates the top performers from the also-rans is not a new one.

However, we think the key to effective technology use won't depend on the speed of e-commerce transactions or deliveries, so-called magic mirrors in fitting rooms, in-store beacons, or other whiz bang features. 

Instead, in our view, it's all about data analytics, especially regarding customers. If Major League Baseball can embrace and apply analytics, or national and local political campaigns, so too can independent retailers! 

And here's why the use of data analytics could be especially beneficial for independent retailers. The most important element of any analytics program is the judgment of the people who are applying the findings. 

You and your stores already are "close to your customers." 

The findings that your analytics reveal will provide new insights, sometimes bearing out your intuition, other times not.  

In all cases, however, it can accelerate your good business judgments.

Meanwhile, a large national chain, with its multiple departments and layers of management and staff, cannot respond nearly as effectively. 

Learn from the example of Canadian Tire Corporation, which challenged its managers across all operations to "question everything they do and ask themselves, can I analyze some data that may get me to a different position in some of the assumptions that I've been making for years and years?"

Or, in other words, start swimming alongside that shark of customer data ASAP!

*Natalie Kotlyar, Moving Beyond Retail Survival Mode: BDO's 2019 Retail Rationalized Survey. February 6, 2019.

Webinar of the Week

featuring Pat Johnson & Dick Outcalt


Free Access, All Week Long

Go to Webinar of the Week



Compare your stores - 6 key retail benchmarks - 5 year trend charts



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The segments featured at The ROI reflect the definitions and designations of the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). The top of each Retail Segment Page on The ROI site includes the NAICS code and the NAICS definition for that industry segment.

The ROI has selected six key ratios (from the abundance of ratios available) that are particularly important for retailers to regularly monitor and manage. See The ROI's Benchmarks Resource Center to learn more about these key ratios for retailers.

The ROI's exclusive Retail Benchmark Trend Charts show the median value reported by Risk Management Association's Annual Statement Studies for each of these key ratios each year. There also is a Top Quartile – and Bottom Quartile – of results for every segment. See your bank or local library for those details.



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