From The Co-Founders


Tips, Tactics & Strategic Insights and Commentary
from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts

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Like every natural disaster, whether a massive storm, earthquake, wildfire, we all are victims of COVID-19. 

Not all of us have suffered being infected by the virus. But, essentially everybody has suffered losses. 

  • The loss of milestone celebrations of weddings, graduations, reunions, birthdays; anniversaries;
  • Lost access to theaters, museums, libraries, sporting events;
  • Loss of the sense of community that comes from going to work, or worship services, book clubs, or the local coffee shop; 
  • Loss of income, job losses;
  •  Or, sadly, the loss of loved ones. 

Few have been spared. 

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The Retail Owners Institute® has developed a retail strategy for "Inventory Management Going Forward." 

As we often do, it was recapped as an unassuming chart (see above) identifying the Five Stages of Merchandise Mix Management, from "Before COVID-19" to the "New Normal?"

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Customers have become very tentative and “prone to thrift”, as the economists say. As the economy reopens, the lowered sales demand drastically reduced inventory levels. 
  • However, as the inventory quantity is reduced, the new imperative is the mix of merchandise. 
  • Discretionary spending will lag; retailers must expand and feature the basics, the “never-outs,” like never before. 
Here are our BIG PICTURE thoughts on the stages that might unfold.
  • Total inventory levels must be reduced, especially at first, and then grow over time as sales levels return.
  • Importantly, the MIX of merchandise must change. Significantly!