Re-Inventing Retail

From the Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute.
Tips | Tactics | Insights on the Business of Retailing.

Retailers: Who Else to Lead by Example? Bookmark

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We all are deeply involved with the retail industry worldwide. As we're apt to remind you, there are opportunities, responsibilities, and yes, obligations that come along with that.

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.

Dick's Sporting Goods
You may remember that a few months ago, shortly after one of the school shootings, Dick's Sporting Goods announced that they would discontinue selling assault weapons throughout their vast network of stores. When it was announced, you may have noticed that several gun advocates (and perhaps vendors) panned the decision, and made a bit of a fuss.

Dick's stood by their decision, and said it matched their corporate policy of the country comes first, the company comes second. Then in early June, it was announced that, since that decision, the stock price of Dick's Sporting Goods, as well as bottom-line earnings, have consistently climbed. 

Good citizenship/leadership is being rewarded. One more example of "doing well by doing good."


Here's another example. The last Tuesday in May, in response to their totally inappropriate treatment of two people in Philadelphia, Starbucks closed their stores for a company-wide afternoon of training on implicit racial bias.

Think about that for a moment. The world knows Starbucks probably more than it knows almost any other brand available. Starbucks didn't have to step up so boldly. (They had apologized, publicly and privately, in person. They had taken other steps in response to those involved in the incident. They had reached a financial settlement.)

Starbucks didn't have to address the discriminations that are rampant in this world, and try to help out a little. They didn't have to deal with the expected carping and pushback of those who scoffed at "just an afternoon?" Starbucks didn't need to take this on in this way. But they did.

Expectations for All Retailers

The public looks at all retailers 24/7. And expresses their opinion 24/7, mostly with their feet and wallets.

But occasionally, for the right reasons, the public – "we the people" – also responds with our hearts and our admiration. 


When retailers take that road that less traveled – the high road – society if not the world just might be a trifle better off. 

If you can and if you agree, please join us in applauding Dick's Sporting Goods and Starbucks. Let's hope that they are joined on the high road by many more examples of brave retail leadership. 

The need is clear; the opportunity is all of ours.

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About The Co-Founders

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.

Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"