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From Home Furnishing Business

Publishers Letter: In Pursuit of Excellence

By Bob George

This issue of the magazine focuses on performance. This subject is timely since much of our attention has been focused on the Winter Olympics. These exceptional athletes have trained for and concentrated the last four years or longer on these moments when they perform. The attention to the details of their sport plus the impact of external factors (such as 60-degree weather on the downhill slopes) will make the difference between an athlete winning a medal or not. This is nothing short of mind boggling.

So what does this have to do with furniture retailing?

Much the same as these athletes are those excellence- pursuing retailers with whom I have been fortunate to participate whether as clients or as Performance Group members. Many have known both the disappointment of failing performance and then the exhilaration of the comeback.

What brings about this success after potential failure? There is no silver bullet. Instead it is a process of doggedly pursuing excellence by understanding what impacts profitability and growth. In this issue of Home Furnishings Business, we break down the various revenue and expense elements for today’s retailer. While the bottom line may not be overwhelming, it will provide you a datum by which to measure your operations. Gaining a deeper understanding will allow you, similar to the downhill racer who shaves a tenth of a second off his or her performance time, to trim a percentage from each expense element. That continued effort will allow you to achieve 10 times the average.

The retail sector has few publicly traded companies for comparison and development of best practices. Our consulting and research allows us to collect comparable data, but this is all under the cloak of confidence. My dream would be to recognize those retailers who have achieved exceptionable performance in each area as well as overall. Our Performance Groups provide that recognition to a small group of peers, but not to the industry as a whole.

It is difficult to strive for excellence without recognition from others.

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