The Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing Program was conducted in Wellesley, Massachusetts, at Babson College in September 2019. Retailing executives attending this year’s class represented 11 countries. After 37 years, the program continues to be very popular.
The program kicked off with “The Eight Ways to Win in Retailing,” and featured cases on Fast Retailing Group (Uniqlo), Amazon, Best Buy case series, Midwest Markets, T. J. Maxx, Ulta Beauty, Sephora, and Restock Kroger. The Restock Kroger case is new and featured the company’s plan to create value for shareholders by focusing on redefining the food & customer experience through digital and technology, expanding partnerships to create customer value, developing talent, and creating social impact. The T. J. Maxx case was paired with a new article on store positioning using perceptual mapping and an article about the company in Fortune magazine. The Sephora and Ulta cases focused on the use and evaluation of social media in retailing and the competitive cosmetics and beauty market. The Fast Retailing/Uniqlo case traced the strategic evolution of Uniqlo from a small Japanese men’s shop to worldwide competitor to Zara, H&M, and Gap. The class paid particular attention to the company’s culture and its CEO’s “change or die” philosophy. The Amazon case appraised the various businesses and challenges facing the world’s premier online retailer and was paired with the Best Buy case series and closed the program The Best Buy cases traced the history of the “Sound of Music”, to Best Buy Concepts 1, 2, and 3, to Customer Centricity, the digital revolution and the recent revitalization of Best Buy under Herbert Joly. In addition, the faculty delivered lectures and exercises on financial and productivity analysis, strategic thinking and planning, category scorecards, merchandise management, and customer and associate satisfaction.
On Wednesday afternoon, September 18, the group participated in a store tour. We visited BJ’s Wholesale Club, Target, Ulta Beauty, Shopper’s World Power Center (including Best Buy, DSW, Toys “R” Us, Barnes and Noble, T.J. Maxx, Sports Authority, and others); the Natick Mall (Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Lord and Taylor, Zara, H&M, and numerous other specialty stores, as well as the newest and largest Wegman’s Supermarket). The highlight of the trip was our visit and guided tour of recently renovated Jordan’s Furniture and its IMAX Theater.
Program participants represented eleven countries: Argentina, Australia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, and USA. The participants came from companies in a wide variety of retail sectors, and the class was composed of senior level executives representing all the functions of a retail organization. Professors Larry Ring, John Strong, and Ron Hess were the primary program faculty for each of the programs. Carlen Adler and Elizabeth Kim served as program managers, and looked after all members of the diverse group of participants.