What’s Really Up with Retail

Yesterday I took Forbes.com to task for assuming that all retail is big retail in spite of readily available numbers to the contrary.  I found their assumption that as Wal Mart goes, so goes retail to be far off the mark.

Today I had lunch with a friend who is a sales manager for a well-known manufacturer that sells to independent retailers.  He told me that his business has been amazingly good.  In spite of the dire numbers we’re getting from the news media, his dealers are doing fine, thank you very much.

My friend’s assessment of the retail landscape is right in line with what I’m hearing from independents.  They may have to work a little harder and a little smarter, but the results are worth the effort.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it many times in the future:  Big business, whether it’s retail or anything else, doesn’t have the flexibility or the human contact with customers to respond to a crisis as well as a locally-owned business.

Sadly, we’ll never go back to the days when all business was local, but the current economy is certainly a huge opportunity for independent business to study the bad examples of the chains and to provide the customer with what whe really wants and needs.

dilbertBTW, this is slightly off today’s topic but, the Dilbert comic strip has been poking fun at MBAs this week.  If you haven’t been following the strip  in your local paper, you can catch up at the Dilbert web site.  Start with Monday, May 18.

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