VMSD - July 2013 - (Page 68)
Interview by Steve Kaufman
IRDC keynote speaker discusses why successful retailers sometimes lose their heads.
So, retail crystal ball, what’s your vision of the future?
I’d argue it’s not so much about my vision as the vision of today’s retailers.
And how is their vision?
Excellent, in some cases. There are still retailers that have a galvanizing sense
of who they are and who they’re not, what they want to be and how to get there.
Nike knows who it is and what it stands for. So does Lululemon. Target had to
redefine who it is in order to differentiate itself from Walmart and it did a
What about Apple?
The jury’s out on Apple, I think. There’s no better example of the loss of defining
principles. Steve Jobs is gone. Has he taken the Apple essence with him?
Retailer: Previous president of Janovic Plaza,
paint and decorating centers in New York.
Speaker: Opening keynote speaker at IRDC,
presenting “The Future of the Retail Store.”
Consultant: Founder of Retail Prophet
(Toronto), working with the likes of Walmart,
Home Depot, Disney, Microsoft and
Author: “The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining
Business for the New Age of Consumerism.”
So it’s Wall Street’s fault?
Well, Wall Street is intoxicating, but sometimes that can be to the detriment
of great brands.
Like . . .?
Like Starbucks, for example. Under Howard Schultz, the business had a very
clear brand position, but when he left in 2000, the company began pandering to
Wall Street. Schultz wrote that the mission of the company became growth for
the sake of growth. It was no longer about rich experiences, the best product,
the greatest stores.
Well, he’s back.
Yes, and when he came back, he closed 900 stores and the stock price went
through the floor. Everyone was horrified until he showed that he could restore
the brand values – including building interesting, experiential stores.
Anyone on your radar now for interesting, experiential stores?
Story, in New York, launches a new theme store every few weeks. They change
out everything – merchandise, decor, windows and graphics. And Adidas’
AdiVerse footwear wall in London is an entirely digital, interactive presentation
of about 4000 pieces of merchandise. x
68 JULY 2013 | vmsd.com
COURTESY OF DOUG STEPHENS, TORONTO
Past, Present and Future
Why does that happen?
Typically, you start off with a small, entrepreneurial company, and an individual
at the center with a high degree of priority about what the business is all
about. But as the organization scales, that leader becomes further and further
detached. He becomes occupied by share price, Wall Street and hedge funds;
and the powerful nucleus of what made that business successful starts to
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - July 2013
VMSD - July 2013
From the Editor
Vmsd Editorial Advisory Board
Chambers of Fashion
VMSD - July 2013