Q: The U.S. economy ended on a high note last year and there are predictions for a strong 2015. Is it reasonable to think that the improving economic activity will cause strong growth in apparel?
Steve Pruitt: A stronger economy can certainly help increase sales, but it is just one ingredient to success. Merchants that have their inventory planning in place, along with sharp marketing strategies and a well-trained sales staff are always in a better position to succeed. That’s why, even in times of economic expansion, there are still some retailers who don’t do well.
So, take advantage of this fresh start to the year to really take a critical look at your business and see where there is room for improvement. Maybe you need to reevaluate your sales goals, or increase your marketing budget, or both. Ask yourself what tools you and your staff need to be able to take advantage of the economic upswing, and invest in them. The truth is that strong companies can do well even in a down market. Make yourself stronger.