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Friday, August 23, 2019

From The Co-Founders

Patricia M. Johnson & Richard F. Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC  •  Retail Turnaround Experts  •  Co-Founders, The Retail Owners Institute®

Do your stores make "happy customers"?

 

"No business has ever failed with happy customers." 

--Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire-Hathaway

 
Buffett's logic is very straightforward: people like to indulge themselves.

For some observers, this helps to explain Buffett's investments in "junk food" – from Coca Cola, to See's Candy, Dairy Queen, etc. 
  • "The CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway invests in bad food and his diet reflects it: he drinks Coke at breakfast and ice cream is an occasional accompaniment," writes Kyle Stock of Bloomberg News.
  • "When asked about his diet, Buffett has said he aims to eat like a 6-year-old because that's the age at which mortality is least likely."
  • "In terms of investing, his junk-food strategy is even more straightforward: People like to indulge."
Ahh, happy customers! Yes, couldn't we all use some of those these days?!

How could your stores indulge your customers to make them happy?

Well, when was the last time that you actually GAVE something to a customer? Didn't it surprise them? Didn't it thrill them?!? You bet it did!

Now, why not institutionalize giving thoughtful treats or extra perks to customers?
  • Buy some golf balls, and be given some tees. Buy some shoes and be given a shoe horn. Get your car fixed, and have it washed before you pick it up. Buy your lunch and be given a few French fries on the side. Buy a gift and be given a greeting card to fill in. 
Are we encouraging retailers to give their way into bankruptcy? Absolutely not!

But we are trying to get you to think, "Now, if it's good enough for Warren Buffett to believe in, it's probably good enough for my store to experiment with."

What unexpected "something extra" would surprise and delight your customers?
Monthly Retail SALES TRENDS

Is a Growth Spurt in Your Near Future?

  • Considering a multi-store launch?
  • Opening additional locations? 
  • Testing a new retail concept?
  • Launching a robust e-commerce site?
Any one of these approaches to growth requires a rigorous process: develop your plans, explore real estate or web hosting opportunities, evaluate systems, identify mid-management talent, line up financing, and on and on.

But wait! Before you get too far down the road on any of these areas, you first must decide on your fundamental growth strategy.  

Why? Because your growth strategy and your tactics must align!

Go here in The ROI's Library for Owners to see more about The Four (Only!) Ways Retail Businesses Grow. Free access for everyone. 
 
FOUR WAYS to GROW

Thinking of Selling Your Stores?

 

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK  •  Now thru Thursday August 29

Is NOW the Time?


Many retailers – especially Baby Boomers – are wondering “Is now the time to sell my stores?”

The answer, of course, is "Well, that depends." 

But, whether or not this is the right time for you to sell, it is definitely a good time to be thinking about it! And now, there's a new way for retailers to do just that!

Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt, Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute®, have developed a specialized strategic assessment tool specifically for retailers. It positions you to get the full value from what you have built.

In fact, one retail CFO said this about this approach:
  • "I think this is an excellent exercise to go through. It sets up strengths and weaknesses, and would certainly help bring out your finer points to any prospective buyer. The standard earnings multiple that accountants and bean counters use simply overlooks a lot. This is refreshing!"
First, some reminders:
  • What matters to buyers of businesses? (And thus, what you need to focus on if you are thinking about selling the business.)
  • Next, how to put a price tag on your business. (Or, how much would you/should you pay for a business? Same approach applies.)
  • Then, Pat and Dick present their uniquely-retail assessment tool, and show how savvy retail owners can apply this to their own business.
Take advantage of free access all week to this TOPICAL TUESDAYS Webinar of the Week. 

 
Free Access Now: WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

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Friday, August 16, 2019

From The Co-Founders

Patricia M. Johnson & Richard F. Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC  •  Retail Turnaround Experts  •  Co-Founders, The Retail Owners Institute®

Would you believe it?


Just this week, the National Retail Federation (see below) – "the world's largest retail trade association" – issued this finding: 
 

"Retail store numbers continue to grow. 
For every retailer closing stores, five retailers are opening stores."


Mark Mathews, VP of Research Development and Industry Analysis for the NRF, went on to explain: 
  • "Retail stores are definitely not going away. According to the just released "Retail Renaissance - A Growth Story" report from the IHL Group, for each company closing stores, 5.2 are opening stores." 
  • "For every segment of retail, there are more companies opening stores than closing stores." 
Mathews went on to note that Census Bureau data shows  that 2018 saw a net increase in retail stores in the United States. "There were almost 3,100 more stores during the fourth quarter of 2018 than the same quarter a year earlier." 

Think about that. More than 1,000 new stores opened up each month! On average, that would be 20 per state. Hard to believe, isn't it?

Or as the NRF has now confirmed, "If anything, stores remain an integral and growing part of the retail landscape. The retail landscape 10 years from now will likely be one where stores still play a vital role in the shopping experience."
 
* Retail store numbers continue to grow. Mark Mathews VP, Research Development and Industry Analysis, National Retail Federation®. August 12, 2019

"So, how are sales?"

 

Yes, we've seen the headlines.
  • "US retail sales rose solidly in July in a sign of consumer optimism."
  • "Retail sales surge in July in a reassuring sign for the U.S. economy."
And our response? That's interesting, but not significant.

Why so dismissive? It turns out, that "surge" in retail sales is from comparing July results to June's sales. Comparing to the previous month is a favored metric of many in the financial world. 

But in the retail world of seasonal sales cycles? Retailers want to know: "Did we beat last year?" 

Which explains why the Monthly Retail Sales Results that we provide on The ROI site compare each month's sales to the same month the prior year. Let's take a look at some of the latest results (issued August 14.)




The "Nonstore Retailers" continue their seemingly relentless growth.
  • Month after month, the "Nonstore retailers" show increases over LY. But, this sector actually did surge in July 2019 versus July 2018. 
  • Surprised? No. Remember how the Amazon Prime day became a two-day event this year? And how many other retailers had their own online specials associated with that same time? (And how many of the pundits explained that Back-to-School shopping came early this year? How might the August results look?)

Meanwhile, the Apparel sector is still awaiting the surge.
  • For the third month running, sales are off versus last year.
  • Optimists, however, would point out the improving trend: each month, sales are off less. 



Ahh, retail volatility. Go here on The ROI site to take a look for yourself. How do your sales trends compare?

Then, after you have reviewed the results for your own sector, take a few moments to check out some others. See what insights they prompt from you.
 
Monthly Retail SALES TRENDS

Smarter Markdowns – Made Smartly

 

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK  •  Now thru Thursday August 22

Markdowns – timing is everything! 
Think Labor Day Weekend!


Markdowns are a strategy that the savviest retailers use proactively to their advantage to achieve their overall financial goals. 

Like a punt in football, or a sacrifice fly in baseball, markdowns used at the right time and place can help accomplish the Owner's goals.

The key: timing IS everything!

This week's lively TOPICAL TUESDAY Webinar of the Week, led by Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt, Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute®, is packed with valuable know-how and strategies about the art and the science of markdown management.
  • Learn the costs of "excess" inventory (and oh yes, what exactly is "excess" inventory?
  • Markdowns: not whether; but when?
  • Practical alternatives to markdowns
Then, see for yourself how The ROI's 3-in-1 INTEGRATED Calculator enables you to plan and manage markdowns strategically, like the pros do. All on your own!

Be sure to take advantage of this powerful and eye-opening session, only at The ROI.

Full of practical, proven, and free ways for all retailers to be more savvy when it comes to markdowns. 
 
Free Access Now: WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Sharing is a good thing!

Let others know about The ROI
Forward The ROI NEWS to them.


(No obligation; it's just an FYI for them.
They have to opt-in to receive more.)
Share with a retailer