This morning’s papers reveal that Macy’s, Sears, and Barnes & Noble are all experiencing slowdowns, with extreme measures being taken by the first two (closings, layoffs, divestitures). One Macy’s executive commented, “We had expected better results.”
In what world would you expect better results from old-time, brick and mortar operations with no zest and no appeal? On those occasions when I’ve been in a mall with a Macy’s, it is always the dullest, most depressing of all the large stores. Sales help is few and far between and totally uninterested. The displays are uncreative and unappealing. The entire environment seems like a “going out of business sale.”
Newspapers, retailers, and bankers keep rending their garments and trying to pull another nickel out of every customer (bank fees are as pathetic today as airlines charging for overhead space). This is due to horrid management, stupid strategies, and a refusal (or inability) to appreciate the seismic changes in demographics, technology, and wealth distribution.
Unfortunately, it will be the investors and employees who get crushed, while the executives keep eating in their private dining rooms and fingering their severance packages, while expecting better results.
This is a failure of leadership so massive that no one realizes the wall they think they’re leaning against is an elephant. And it’s about to relieve itself.
© Alan Weiss 2017