When Doug Tigert, Bert McCammon, and I started this program in 1983, we had no idea that it would become as popular and enduring as it has. However, we started the program in response to several retail companies that came to us asking for retail-specific executive education. They wanted a program that would be about retailing and from the retailer’s point of view—one that would deal with retail issues and use retail case examples and discuss the latest trends and research in retailing. Little of that existed at that time, and as it turns out, there is still a dearth of retail specific programs for the industry’s executives today. And, to our great surprise and good fortune, Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing is still around and in one form or another has now been offered approximately 100 times on an open enrollment basis and even more in private or in-house programs to an estimated more than 7,000 participants on every continent except Antarctica.
Despite the continuing bleak economic situation in Europe and the United States and down times for retailers worldwide, the Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing Program ran in September for the 55th time in North America and the 26th time at Babson College. Larry Ring, John Strong, and Ron Hess were the program faculty. Retail executives from 10 countries attended the program. This program currently is offered twice in North America (at Babson and at The College of William and Mary), once in Australia (sponsored by Melbourne Business School/Mt. Eliza in Australia), and once in Singapore (sponsored by the Singapore Retail Academy). The program is next scheduled to be offered April 29 to May 4, 2012, at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Those interested are encouraged to apply early. To register, contact Deirdre Murphy at email@example.com
The program was kicked off with “The Eight Ways to Win in Retailing,” and featured cases on Target, Best Buy and Best Buy in 2007, Zara, Zara in 2007, H&M, Starbucks, and Meijer. In addition, the faculty delivered lectures and exercises on financial and productivity analysis, strategic thinking and planning, category scorecards, basket analysis, customer satisfaction, and supply chain management. On Wednesday afternoon, September 14, the group participated in a store tour with visits to BJ’s Wholesale Club, Target, Walgreen’s, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Staples, Shopper’s World Power Center (including Best Buy, DSW, Toys “R” Us, Barnes and Noble, T.J. Maxx, Sports Authority, and others), and the newly reconstructed Natick Mall, now called the Natick Collection (Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Lord and Taylor, Sears, JCPenney, and numerous specialty stores). The highlight of the trip was our visit and guided tour of Jordan’s Furniture, including a viewing of its Mardi Gras show and its IMAX Theater.
Babson’s Executive Conference Center made for an ideal learning environment, and, of course, the food was excellent. Participants were treated to a lobster and clam bake upon returning from their store tour on Wednesday. Thursday’s lunch was the annual Doug Tigert Cheeseburger BBQ. Mary Siegel served as program manager and housemother, and looked after all members of the diverse group of participants.
The participants came from companies in a wide variety of retail sectors including apparel, food and beverage, consulting, drug, education, sporting goods, and general merchandise. The class was composed of senior level executives representing all the functions of a retail organization.