"Let's just wait & see." Au contraire! | New! ASSET of the WEEK | How to Speak "Conversational Banker-Ese"
Monday, March 27, 2023

From The Co-Founders

Patricia M. Johnson & Richard F. Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC  •  Retail Turnaround Experts

"Let's Just Wait and See...." 

Are we alone, or have you also noticed it?

Everything seems to be kind of stalled right now. Maybe that's for good reason. Or maybe this period of malaise is a great opportunity for the bold. Whatever, it seems weird.

Look at these examples: 
  • Sure, now the Silicon Valley Bank has been sold. Finally. But the fragileness of the entire banking system hasn't been corrected. So, if a retailer needs something from a lender, expect to hear "Let's just wait to see how this shakes out."
  • On the world stage, all sorts of powerful players are jostling for attention and position. It can be unsettling. Whether it's Russia, China, North Korea, Brazil, Israel or whomever, it's happening daily. And it seems to have many observers saying, "Let's just wait to see how this plays out."
  • And then there's the star PR magician, Donald Trump. He's the best at riveting attention on "Let's just wait to see what I do next!"
You may not agree, but we feel like our customers, our employees, our vendors, and the entirety of the retail industry is paralyzed, timid, and held hostage by the accumulated outside events. Retailing seems to be in a wait and see moment. 

IndecisionIt reminds us of the old saw,

Some people make things happen.

Other people watch things happen.

Still others say 'Uhh, what happened?!'" 

This won't surprise those of you who know us well, but we see this period of "hesitation" as perhaps an ideal time for boldness.  

If your operation has a strong balance sheet – by that we mean a low debt-to-worth ratio – maybe now is a time to seize opportunities you've been considering. Maybe now, while everyone else is shy, is a great time to make a loud noise. 

There is a time and place for all us contrarians. This may be one of them.

What do you think?
Tips • Tactics • Strategic Insights • Commentary
Want more of the strategic retailing observations from Outcalt and Johnson?  Prior commentary From The Co-Founders  is available under PERSPECTIVES on The ROI site.  ➡️


Free Access for readers of The ROI NEWS • Expires April 3

Speaking "Conversational Banker-ese"

Three Part Series

Understanding the business of retailing must begin with a good understanding of basic financial terminology. For many of us, it IS like learning another language, the language of retail business, what we call “Banker-ese.” 

This three-part series in the OWNERS Center covers the basic terms of retail financial management.  

These “language lessons” will be simple, straightforward and to the point. The retailers we describe are fictitious, but you may recognize many of the situations we describe.  

Mastering these should make you more comfortable in discussions with bankers. You'll be speaking "conversational banker-ese!"
FREE Access 🔑 ASSET of the WEEK

Free each week from The ROI NEWS

As some of you know, the OWNERS Center at The ROI includes dozens of self-help tools and resources specifically for addressing those strategic financial demands faced by retailers. These are available to all those who have Member Access Privileges.
  • However, we've realized that many of these resources have been overlooked or underutilized.
  • And we know why: they just haven't received much attention or visibility. (We also know who's at fault; that would be us.)
So, we decided to change that. The best way to do so is to "Show, Not Tell."

Now, each issue of The ROI NEWS will feature free access to The ROI's ASSET of the WEEK. For one week, anyone and everyone  who follows The ROI NEWS can read, use and start to take advantage of one of the proven resources from the OWNERS Center. Free!

This unlocks access to in-depth training and insights about the strategic financial issues faced by owners of retail businesses. 

But be alert. The clock IS ticking. That free access for each ASSET of the WEEK will expire at the end of its week.

Meanwhile, take advantage of it!
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How's Everybody Doing? | Quickly Calculate Your Ratios | Even More Comps: Monthly Sales Trends | Just bring a pencil – and your good judgment!
Monday, March 20, 2023

From The Co-Founders

Patricia M. Johnson & Richard F. Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC  •  Retail Turnaround Experts

Checking the "Vital Signs" of Retailing

Retail Benchmarks, All 45 verticals

How's Everybody Doing?

The Retail Owners Institute® makes it easy for you to get a quick financial health assessment of your own stores, as well as the retail industry, and every vertical within it. 

From farm stores to apparel stores, wine stores to tire dealers, gift shops to convenience stores; all 45 verticals.

Here's how to get started.
  • Go to the Retail Benchmarks page of The ROI site.
  • Scroll down the page to see the links to all 45 retail verticals.
  • Choose the vertical that includes your stores; immediately go to that vertical's Benchmarks page. 
  • See the results for each of 6 key ratios for the past five years. To get a better look, just click each image to make it larger. 

Quite a picture, isn't it? Which ratios are trending up? Down? Any suggest some shaky times ahead? Any surprises? But most importantly, how will yours compare?

The source data is Risk Management Association's Annual Statement Studies. As you may know, RMA collects financial statements from banks, and aggregates the findings for all industries, not just retailing. RMA presents their data in 3 sections: the Top Quartile, the Middle Quartiles, the Bottom Quartile, for five different ranges of annual sales volume. Our Five Year Charts are based on the Middle Quartiles results.

A couple reminders:
  1. These verticals reflect the definitions and designations of the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). The top of each Benchmarks Chart page includes the NAICS code and the NAICS definition for that industry segment. (In other words, we don't make this up!)
  2. You may need to examine the benchmark numbers in more than one vertical to get perspective on your own store's performance, particularly if your stores do not exactly fit the NAICS category. 
Don't stop here. See how your stores measure up! (It's free, too!)

Above Average? Find Out for Yourself

Now that you have your financial statements for 2022 in hand, it's time to use them for something other than filing tax returns!

Use the free Key Ratios Calculator on The ROI site to calculate your own ratios for your business. 

Quickly find out for yourself: is our operation above average?  That is, how do we compare to the Benchmarks for our retail vertical?

Just like the lab tests that your doctor requests for an annual checkup, your P&L and Balance Sheet contain the "vital signs" of your segment, or vertical.
  • And, just like those lab results that show a range of "no need to worry" results, so too can The ROI's Benchmark charts provide perspective on how your operation compares to the average performing retailer in your segment or vertical. 
Key RATIOS Calculator - Free

More Info Here

If you have questions about how these ratios are calculated, or what they mean, just go to the Retail Benchmarks Resource Center on The ROI site. 
Benchmarks Resource Center
Tips • Tactics • Strategic Insights • Commentary
Want more of the strategic retailing observations from Outcalt and Johnson?  Prior commentary From The Co-Founders  is available under PERSPECTIVES on The ROI site.  ➡️

Compare Sales Results, Too!

The latest Monthly Retail Sales results have been released by the Commerce Department.

Our Six Month Trend Charts comparing each month's sales to the same month the prior year have been updated to include February's sales. Go here to see how your results compare to nationwide trends. 

👀 See if you notice what we did:
  • For most sectors, February sales were up versus LY, but, thanks to the six month trend charts, we can see that the increases over last year seem to be declining for the past several months. 
However, the key is this: What are your sales trends showing?

We present these charts to enable you to get more perspective.
Monthly SALES Results

Webinar of the Week

Bring a Pencil – and Your Good Judgment
FREE Access • TOPICAL TUESDAYS Webinar of the Week

Retailing is a volatile industry. It always has an abundance of distractions. Most of these distractions are "uncontrollables."  All you can do is manage how you react to them, after the fact. You know, "damage control." 

But, there IS a way for retailers to "Control the Controllables!" What's the secret? Looking ahead! 

By focusing on projecting, not accounting, you can look ahead, compare choices, make decisions strategically, and apply adjustments in a timely way. Or, as The ROI calls it, "Turn on your financial headlights!" 

This lively, interactive and FREE webinar with Pat Johnson & Dick Outcalt, Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute introduces the Indispensable Owner's Dashboard. A simple - but elegant! - one page form, it enables you to see ahead, and make adjustments as needed. 

See how to "Control the Controllables" in your retail operation: 
  • Measure the "leading indicators" of the financial health of your business 
  • Monitor your business vitality 
  • Project the performance targets you wish to achieve 
  • Use the lead time to make needed adjustments. 
FREE Access • Webinar of the Week
The OWNERS Center at The Retail Owners Institute

✅ Remember: All ROI Members have unlimited access to this unique OWNERS Center custom-built for retailers. 

Not yet a Member? Let's fix that! Go here for immediate access.
Sharing is good!
Let others who care about retailing (or retailers!) know about The ROI. 
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  • Strategic Retailing Know-How & Resources

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Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"