March 14, 2024

30 Weeks Out Of 52


There comes a point in the evolution of many brands where you cannot grow via marketing channels, and you cannot grow via merchandise productivity. It's a dire moment. You've exhausted everything you know. For some of us, it happens at ten million in annual sales. For others, it happens at the intersection of AI and World Domination.

During the dot.com era, I worked at Eddie Bauer, 1998. Business was awful. I attended a meeting where the marketing folks were bereft of ideas, the vault of merchandising brilliance was empty, and the creative folks (in response) overhauled imagery (i.e. younger), further harming sales.

And yet, the parent company (Spiegel) wanted the business fixed.

In a meeting with several Business Leaders, somebody broached the topic of adding a 31st sale week to the calendar (we were at 30 weeks of 52 with sales events). That would boost sales ... and nobody had to do any real work whatsoever ... just take 40% off everything and call it a day.

The CEO at the time, somebody I adored, said "we have to maintain the integrity of the sale calendar ... eventually, every week is a sale week and that means no weeks are actual sale weeks". In other words, he was prophesizing modern omnichannel Macy's.

Now we have Amazon ... one ... two ... three ....

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