Get your fucking MBA out of my retail store… 

So an MBA is a great degree, after 26 years I feel like I have something close at least as far as practical knowledge. The MBA is expensive and impressive, most are impressed simply for the time and dedication it took to achieve it. The majority of MBAs didn’t have aspirations of being in retail, in fact it’s probably one of the lowest paying gigs an MBA can get (which doesn’t help pay off those big loans). So at best having an MBA in retail is going to score you slightly better pay, maybe high 5 figures maybe even 6 IF you have some experience. It definitely gets you more time with your families; nights, holidays and weekends. Sadly for some it also puts you so far from your actual customer and the actual workings of the business that you run… no slam your business into the ground.  
I’m over the whole blame the internet for stores closing, (starting to see it now with Gymboree on the chopping block) let’s actually be honest it falls on upper management. Greed, over expansion and if you don’t have an MBA you’re not in our club mentality, (sorry some of us have worked 25+ years learning business instead of 4 years of simulations and text book theories, I’m not dogging an MBA but retail isn’t most people’s “money making MBA dream job”, retail takes passion) they would rather listen to a survey or a paid secret shopper then listen to an employee that spends 44+ hours a week,5 to 6 days face to face, communicating with the customers. Higher prices due to over expanding stores made higher rents, compensated by creating poorer quality product, and poor, unorganized, and totally non strategic allocation.  

First talking about wanting to change the customer experience, not formulating clear methods to accomplish or even what that entails. Until 5 or 6pm Monday thru Friday you are sending massive amounts of emails about it and not actually ensuring anything is implemented. To make it worse you consistently exclude employees from any sort of feedback or ideas.  
I know you got a great degree and love to show it off, of course I would love to have the same one, but you’re missing a key part. Your staff is on the front line, they talk one on one to customers, your competitors employees, they feel and see the product, and hear feedback on it for hours at a time, 5 or more days a week, from 7AM until 10:30PM or later! You give them one bad secret shop and you automatically think they aren’t doing a great job, yet you most likely couldn’t run a sales floor on a Saturday. You create meetings, and ideas with other MBAs that have never or worked a summer or two in a store. Bottom line is you have ZERO representation from the actual people that could make the biggest and most honest difference, and help fine tune your ideas.  

Well at least your paper looks good in a frame, maybe the customers that are not coming in and are being ignored by you would like to see it some day! 

Most DMs seem to know that, but as you go higher the gap gets wide and it widens really fast! Then the next thing you know the DM is forced to pass down pointless tasks or redundant numbers gathering when the real results are right there with the people. Gymboree isn’t bankrupt because of the internet, in the late 80’s-early 90’s it was Walmart and Target killing retail, but that didn’t stop the massive expansions. My favorite was when Macy’s started buying out Hechts stores. They just slapped a Macy’s sign over the Hechts sign and you literally have TWO Macy’s in the same mall (FairOaks Mall) or right across the street (Tysons Corner)… my self made MBA saw that insanity a mile away. We have to act quicker and inclusively, no 1 solution is right, but there seems to be more talk about change, then action which scares me.

Greed is definitely a huge unspoken factor into this catastrophe. The wealth gap I don’t want to think about it’s so depressing. However it’s a lot of missed steps, poor communication and implementation, and a wealth of unused resources. From this chaos will emerge a rebuilding, and from that more retailers will continue to fall prey the same as they have done in decades past, the bubble popped. With these store closings comes more internet sales, with no stores the returns are shipped back, which will mean more logistics jobs, which means more overhead and more expense then just payroll, more trucks=health and environmental impacts not to mention overworking and under paying the delivery services. Either way the top repeat offenders will fall and the ones who change will thrive.  Just keep your MBA out of retail unless you have the passion to connect and make it grow with everyone from top to bottom!
Next article I will touch on KPI’s, and how you can still control the controllable! 

 The internet didn’t kill Brick and mortar, in fact it should actually start helping it grow relationship. The inability for the MBAs to see the reality with enough forward thinking killed it. 

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