From the Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute.Tips | Tactics | Insights on the Business of Retailing.
You've heard of Comic-Con, right? It began in 1970 in San Diego to celebrate pop culture, from comic books to films and science fiction/fantasy literature. It has since grown into an extravaganza attracting 130,000+ costumed fans, industry professionals, Hollywood types, vendors and spectators.
Or, as Patricia Vekich Waldron, the CEO of Vision First observed*, "After nearly 50 years, Comic-Con has turned in many ways into the ultimate pop-up store."
And she challenges retailers, developers and brands to "pay attention to how Comic-Con continues to captivate and delight its fans."
• Those who make things happen
• Those who watch things happen
• Those who say, "Umm, what happened?"
Increasingly, it looks to us as if the 2018 Holiday Season is going to be one where most retailers will be saying, "Umm, what happened?!?"
Instead, it pertains to the bond markets. It is the difference between interest rates on short-term and long-term government bonds. When long-term interest rates fall below short-term interest rates, the yield curve becomes inverted.
Here is why that matters: According to research by the San Francisco Fed, "Every recession of the past 60 years has been preceded by an inverted yield curve."
An outdoor, upscale mall in Southern California had an extensive renovation and expansion two years ago. As reported by Linda Childers in The Washington Post (June 22, 2018), "Unfortunately, the transformed mall attracted not only new customers but also dozens of pigeons."
And, of course, pigeon droppings.
Mall management rejected adding fabric netting or strips of spikes to their property.
The so-called "Tariff War" that's in the headlines these days seems to most of the public to be a yawner, a distant spitting contest.
But to us, it seems much closer to home.
We're in the business of helping retailers and, when we can, providing a heads up when we see trends that may be impactful. The current trade disputes between the United States and most major countries in the world is one of those times. Retailers need a heads up.
Here's a revealing factoid from Bloomberg News: "Of the people who use social media, one in three makes a purchase every month through a platform such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Snapchat."
It's a trend you may not like, but heads up, folks. It's a tsunami!
As we often explain, "Retail is a mirror of society." As such, we believe all retailers have an opportunity to lead by example. And most of us do a fine job.
Recently, however, there have been some extraordinary examples of retailers taking an extra chance but certainly setting some fine examples.
Of course you do! Doesn't everybody?
But as pressures grow to raise wages, increase benefits, renew leases, improve technology, and oh yes, pay taxes, many businesses find their profits diminishing.
But retailers have a special advantage. An often under-utilized pocket of profit growth potential.
Yes, we're talking about your inventory!
For each $100 of inventory @cost, as it sells, its markup (margin dollars) helps cover expenses and adds to profit.
Even a modest increase in inventory turnover rates per year can yield a dramatic increase in margin dollars and net profits. (For the formula for turnover and more perspective, see the Retail Benchmarks section at The ROI.)
Take a look at this chart.
Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt, The Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute®, have been called "The Zen masters of retail finance!"
Since 1999, they have been assembling their proprietary content into a unique self-help website. The Retail Owners Institute is an unmatched resource that assists retailers worldwide with basic financial training, assistance and easy-to-use tools.
Their engaging and empowering how-to resources about the financial levers in retailing are informative, fun(!), and retailer-friendly. Their promise: "Everyone will 'get it'!"
Pat and Dick are recognized experts in strategic retailing. Working only as a team – Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC – they have been consulting, publishing, and speaking professionally throughout North America since 1990.
They focus exclusively on retail, or wherever retail is involved. They work with CEOs, CFOs, boards and owners of retail operations, as well as manufacturers or wholesalers expanding into retail. And they also are Retail Turnaround Experts.
There's lots more for retailers to see and use! Available nowhere else.
Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"
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