From the Principal’s Office

From the Principal’s Office

We’re into the new year, the NRF Conference is now over, and we are all looking at a prosperous 2010.  Recovery appears to be on the way, but it will be very gradual.  There will be no spikes in economic activity this year.  The industry is in for more consolidation.  I mean retailers going out of business and retailers  closing additional stores.  Retailers with staying power will gain market share as others shrink or disappear altogether.  New paradigms and new ideas in retail will develop and some new retail business will emerge and eventually thrive.  Apple Computer (a computer company) will continue to teach retailers how to do retail effectively.  At over $4,000/sq. ft. in sales, they probably do just a little less than Van Cleef & Arpels, or Harry Winston.  Their customers get what they want, and have blast in the process.  Go figure!

As far as information systems and technology, demand to take on projects has been building as little was done in 2009.  Therefore, the companies with cash flow (albeit not that many) will spend on projects this year, as evidenced by the exhibit floor of the NRF Conference.  It was – in my opinion – well attended and with quality people.  Retailers were out in numbers and not just window-shopping for things they couldn’t buy.  My personal survey of solution providers is that the visitors this year have concrete plans to undertake projects, either in replacing aging or installing new systems.  The solution providers to whom I spoke were very encouraged by the number of leads that the show generated this year.  As a final note, the show IS NOT moving to Washington, D.C., as previously announced, at least not in 2011.

We have already begun to see an increase in activity among retailers.  With our fingers crossed and plenty of energy, we hope it continues…

Bob Amster – Principal, RTG

What’s New with Us

Northwest Company
After successfully completing a project at this, one of the largest retailers in Canada, we are planning upcoming phases of this relationship.
Interim CFO
Duane Wolter continues as acting CFO for a casual apparel retailer on the West Coast.
Working with the portfolio companies of this private equity fund to launch projects in Customer Surveys and Digital Receipts.
Shane Co.
We were recently engaged by the largest volume retailer of diamonds and bridal jewelry to conduct an assessment of the information systems function and the company’s implementation of SAP.  We continue to work with this 20-store retailer as it emerges from bankruptcy.
Assortment Planning Seminar
Terry Donofrio gave an Assortment Planning Seminar sponsored by SAS in Raleigh, NC.  A large number of SAS people, as well as an enthusiastic crowd of planning retailers attended the seminar.  There was lots of lively discussion.  The seminar – including basic methods as well as optimization – was also videotaped is now available on the SAS Web site.
Merchandise Planning
TD wrote 6-part series on MP for RIS News for their Merchandise Insights channel.
We are working with this long-time client on a confidential pilot of an emerging technology.