STORES Magazine - February 2009 - (Page 10)

CONSIDER THIS / PRESIDENT’S PAGE Waiting for the Sun BY TRACY MULLIN The Voice of Retail Worldwide STORES is published by NRF Enterprises Inc., have always believed that retailers and farmers were cut from the same cloth. Both groups are resilient, optimists by nature but who worry, among other things, about the weather. And this has been a storm unlike any we have ever seen. Retailers were happy to close the book on 2008 after wrapping up the worst holiday season in memory. Yet this year isn’t looking much better: NRF’s 2009 forecast calls for a 0.5 percent decline in sales. The million-dollar question, of course, is how long will this last? While there are about as many opinions as there are economists, our expectation is for weakness throughout the first half of the year with momentum beginning to build by the fourth quarter. It’s no surprise that the current state of the economy was a part of most conversations at our Annual Convention last month. Mark Zandi from paraphrased the current environment well when he said that 2009 will be “painful,” 2010 will be “uncomfortable” and, in 2011, retailers can begin to grow again. Until then, most retailers’ plans involve doing more with much less. Companies are focused on weathering this downturn by cutting costs, scaling back on inventory and managing it well, finding the right balance of employees to staff stores and re-evaluating underperforming locations. At the same time, retailers are looking for new ways to reach out to fundamentally-changed consumers by creating marketing plans or adjusting a merchandise mix to appeal to shoppers’ current priorities. Although retailers need to focus on their own survival, now is not the time to be stagnant. Many companies are — and should be — investing where appropriate, especially in areas that will help save money in the short term or put the company in a better position to capitalize on an economic comeback. New initiatives that streamline operations, bring in new customers or increase sales should not be dismissed despite the current recession. But even that massive to-do list isn’t enough without proper direction. CEOs from Neiman Marcus, Polo Ralph Lauren and The Container Store spoke candidly during a convention session about the magnitude of thoughtful leadership during a downturn. The panel discussed the importance of leaders’ remaining calm and being able to adjust to the unpredictability of today’s environment. Additionally, executives stressed the importance of keeping the lines of communication open, building trust with employees and not forgetting your brand — even when it’s tempting to slash prices by 70 percent. It’s been quite a year for our industry, and the next 12 months may be just as difficult. That said, I have no doubt that retailers that make it through this recession will be stronger for it. During these challenging days, we would all be well-served to take a cue from farmers who remind themselves that, even during the worst storms, the sun will eventually re-emerge. I a subsidiary of National Retail Federation Inc., 325 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. (202) 783-7971 FAX (202) 737-2849 CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, Chairman and CEO, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. VICE CHAIRMEN Philip L. Francis, Chairman and CEO, PetSmart, Inc. Stephen I. Sadove, Chairman and CEO, Saks Incorporated PRESIDENT & CEO Tracy Mullin SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTS Denise Brasse, Industry Relations Mallory B. Duncan, General Counsel Michael G. Gatti, Communications David Hogan, Retail Operations and CIO Carleen C. Kohut, CFO Steven J. Pfister, Government Relations NRF Divisions Association for Retail Technology Standards EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Richard E. Mader (202) 626-8140 National Council of Chain Restaurants PRESIDENT John R. (Jack) Whipple (202) 626-8183 FAX: (202) 626-8185 Retail Advertising & Marketing Association EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Michael G. Gatti (202) 626-8117 FAX: (202) 737-2849 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Scott Silverman (202) 626-8192 FAX: (202) 626-8191 325 7th Street, NW Suite 1100 Washington, D.C. 20004 All articles published in this magazine represent solely the individual opinions of the writers, and not necessarily those of the National Retail Federation. 10 STORES / FEBRUARY 2009 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - February 2009

STORES Magazine - February 2009
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Are You a Pusher or a Puller?
What Shoppers Think
Online Retail Satisfaction
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story - Something’s Got to Give
First Look
Online Partners
Inventory Systems
Drug Store Systems
Business Intelligence
Inventory Managment
Online Marketing
Supply Chain - Better Data, Better Decisions
Returns Management - Identifying Fraud
Data Security - Securing Intimate Data
Anti-Shoplifting - Mall of Shame?
Risk Management - Securing Consumer Confidence
Loeb Retail letter
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - February 2009