Remember the commercial for women’s hair coloring that asked, “Does she or doesn’t she?” It’s almost like what’s happening with retail executives and whether or not we are in a recession.
The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article that assembled the opinions on the state of US economy of several retail executives.
Coach Chairman and CEO Lew Frankfort said he believes the recession began in December and is unlikely to evaporate anytime soon.
Urban Outfitters Inc. CFO John Keyes said instead of a recession he would describe it as more of a resurgence.
J. Crew Group Inc. CEO Mickey Drexler told investors that he wants his company to act like there is a recession though in reality he doesn't think one exists.
Well that sure cleared it up! If we were talking about hair coloring I’d say shave your head and let’s move on!
I’m not an economist so I’m going to leave the questions of whether or not we’re in a recession to the experts. Too many people who aren’t qualified to say so are trying to tell people we are or are not in a recession. I also don’t buy into the notion that the press is causing much of the economic problems.
Let's face the facts. 2008 is not going to be a gangbuster year for the majority of retailers whether or not we have or are already in a recession. It doesn’t mean a retailer can’t have a good year, but it is going to take some smart retailing to overcome the Recession or Recession Not current economic conditions.
Last week I told the readers of my subscription newsletter The Daily Retail Experience that they have a shot at a good year if they do the following:
1. Invest more, not less, in training and development.
2. Focus on conversion, conversion, conversion. Maybe we should name 2008 The Year of Conversion. Retailers who do not focus on converting traffic to sales will struggle the most this year.
3. Fix their people problems sooner rather than later. When the economy is slowing down is when you can least afford managers or employees who aren't doing what you expect them to do.
4. And last but not least. . . no blaming the economy for falling short of a goal.
I don’t care what you call it, I don’t care who you blame, the fact is that retailing is going to be a little harder this year than it’s been in quite a while.
The good news is that recession or not, some retailers are going to not only survive but thrive. Do what it takes to be one of them.