“Kellwood is taking a new strategic direction with our brand portfolio and has decided it will no longer invest in start-up concepts that only have a long-term payback.”
Specialty store retailers, you can breathe another sigh of relief: Big-company corporate stupidity has struck again.
This quote, from the CEO of the apparel and retail giant Kellwood Co., had to do with the company putting one of its branded businesses up for sale, but it might as well sum up the kind of thinking that continues to plague big corporations and American big business in general. This mindset—let’s worry about this quarter and forget about anything more long-range than that – is why so few companies put into place the building and investing strategies they need today to guarantee business success tomorrow.
Now, the typical independent gift and home store doesn’t usually have a five-year plan nor does it have the balance sheet that allows for indefinite long-range strategies. But while worrying about today, most specialty stores are keeping at least half an eye on the horizon out a few years. They are experimenting with new products or classifications that may not offer an immediate payback but could prove to be successful down the road. They are looking at different real estate choices even if there are still a few years left on the current lease. They are looking into more events, more social media, more different forms of promotion and advertising rather than just sticking with the same-old.
I just don’t get companies that choose not to think about tomorrow. The future is a lot closer than most of them realize.