Chris Burslem is the group managing editor of INSTORE. He loves it when good ideas triumph.
Acclaimed interior designer Bruce Brigham, whose projects included a makeover of Cartier stores worldwide, work on the storied Raffles Hotel in Singapore and a redesign of the Seattle Supersonics’ Courtside Club, died earlier this month. He was 63.
The National Retail Federation published its annual list of America’s Top 100 Retailers in early July and once again, Wal-Mart reigned above all, much as it has every year for the past quarter of a century.
That stability at the top belies a volatility that has traditionally been a hallmark of the retail industry: Longevity is the exception rather than the rule. Take a quick look at the top 10 merchants this year compared with the NRF’s list from 20 years ago, and aside from Wal-Mart, only three names remain: Kroger, Safeway and Target, which in 1994 was a subsidiary of the Dayton Hudson group.
It’s hard to get excited about consistency. Oscar Wilde disparaged it as the “hallmark of the unimaginative.” Aldous Huxley called it “contrary to life.” The only completely consistent people, he said “are the dead.” To his very short list he probably should have added the successful, for without consistency, without discipline, without daily application, not much happens.
There’s an abandoned DVD rental store that I pass when I occasionally take the long way home from my subway stop. It’s been empty for at least three years; for whatever reason – an ownership dispute, safety-code violations, bad feng shui – nobody seems to want to take it over and turn it into a new commercial venture.
A Singaporean businessman was the winner of this year’s online auction to have lunch with Warren Buffett, with a bid of $2.16 million. Andy Chua said he was happy to pay the money to the Glide Foundation, as a way to thank Buffett for all the advice he’d provided him though his books and public comments on investing and running businesses. The two have never met.