It's a strongly held belief within retailing that if you want to be a successful leader of a brick & mortar retail chain, you need to get out of the office and into stores. A RetailWire poll in 2011 found that 95 percent agreed that store visits were very (78 percent) or somewhat (17 percent) important to being a successful CEO of a retail company. The logical next question then becomes, are retailer CEOs getting out to stores frequently enough, particularly in light of the current challenges facing their businesses?
Many retailers continue to face an uphill battle to increase same-store sales and profits as consumers are either cash strapped or spending on big-ticket purchases such as cars and homes.
Count Macy's among the retailers being challenged. Last month, the department store reported same-store sales fell 0.8 percent. The company also cut its outlook for the year.
Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren spends 40 weeks a year visiting the company's stores. The visits are typically a surprise with Mr. Lundgren calling managers about 10 minutes out to let them know he's on the way. According to the report, Mr. Lundgren's visits "have taken on added urgency."
How effective are the trips that CEOs make to stores in improving performance?