Bob Phibbs

President/CEO, The Retail Doctor

Since 1994 companies worldwide have turned to Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor® for the passion and expertise necessary to grow their sales. A professional speaker and author, he has frequently been called on to provide commentary on Marketing and Branding for MSNBC.

  • Worked with some of the largest retail brands in the world including Brother, Hunter Douglas, LEGO, OMEGA, Vera Bradley, Viking, and Yamaha.
  • Retail consultant with a proven track record of increasing sales 20-50% within months.
  • COO with a broad range of responsibilities creating a culture of exceptional experiences.
  • CMO of second-fastest growing company in Los Angeles two years running.
  • Built two successful businesses from scratch.
  • Author of “You Can Compete: Double Sales Without Discounting”
  • Author of “The Retail Doctor’s Guide To Growing Your Business”
  • Author of “Groupon: You Can’t Afford It – Why Deep Discounts Are Bad for Business”
  • Contributor AMEX Open Forum

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  • Posted on: 03/31/2020

    Canceled orders and furloughed employees are part of today’s retail reality

    Yes, associates are more important than vendors. We are in the time of pedal meets the metal as they used to say. Culture means nothing if it does not take care of those most essential to the brand, its employees.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2020

    The coronavirus outbreak has shifted the online competitive landscape

    Demand is gone. Serve now to sell later. Keep in front of your customer on social and with email -- but the reason they aren't buying a KitchenAid mixer isn't because they're waiting for a coupon.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2020

    Joann Stores and Neiman Marcus sew hope for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus

    Anything anyone can do to help all of us should be applauded. Period.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2020

    Are retailers and landlords destined to head to court over rents?

    Three bills have been passed already and it is widely expected another couple could emerge as well. While I expect action at the state level it boggles the mind an inflexible landlord would rather sue and lose a retailer than try to work something out. One thing I am sure of is that on the other side of the virus, there won't be a stream of new retailers looking to fill empty storefronts. Better to get reduced rent and be a partner than have no rent and be seen as Mr. Potter.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    Which retail businesses are ‘essential’ during the coronavirus outbreak?

    It's a confusing time for everyone. Trying to stay open misses the point, demand is essentially gone for the next several weeks. Pushing the point you are essential and in the same category as food and medical care seem quite off the mark.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    Costco is refusing returns on hoarded items

    In hindsight, this seems obvious but all bets are off as far as any retailer knowing how to navigate this surreal landscape we find ourselves in. I applaud their actions.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    How will I pay my employees next month?

    This is a very fluid moment for everyone. These are a few of the ideas I shared in a lengthy post for retailers.
    1. Go over your financials. Plan for how you’ll be able to get through the coming months. Make a list of all fixed expenses like mortgage, car payments, etc. List all variable expenses at the bottom. Go back to fixed expenses and go to each website and search to see if they have a forbearance or postponement clause. This might be moot with new bills being drafted to defer mortgage defaults and credit. Check back at least once a week because things are changing all the time. Speak to your accountant and financial planner about all of these important matters. I am not the expert.
    2. Maximize your credit so you can live to fight another day. Check balances available on all your credit cards because they can be a tool for survival.
    3. Work with, don’t blow off vendors.
    4. Talk to your landlord about rent concessions. Ask for rent reductions for April and May of 50 percent. Propose paying over the rest of the year if you have to. No landlord wants an empty store either now or in a couple of months. They would rather get something than nothing.
    5. Every day monitor all state, federal, and local programs. Per the federal bill passed Wednesday, you can get max of $1500 a week for six weeks. Check to see where it goes.
    6. Check your state. If you have at least two employees in Florida, you’re able to get 50,000 through SBA. has a new Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to provide working capital up to $2 million. Don’t assume you don’t qualify.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2020

    How can indie restaurants survive the coronavirus?

    There are no easy answers here in the absence of government action. Quite simply restaurants are rarely money makers in the best of times. If they can't cover costs now, many will wonder why they would get a loan until there is hope when things can return to some semblance of normal.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2020

    Will GameStop lose more than it wins keeping stores open during the coronavirus outbreak?

    I believe the word is tone-deaf. Not sure what is driving this but I would imagine governors in CA and NY will see things differently. Quickly.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2020

    Does Dick’s Sporting Goods need to hunt for customers?

    Let's start from "it was the slowest moving, lowest margin products." Hunting is a dying business. I had a client in Grand Rapids tell me they used to close all the schools at the start of hunting season but haven't done that in years. Socially conscious retailers are being rewarded, e.g., compare Dick's to Modell's.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2020

    Will raising wages $2 help Amazon keep workers dealing with coronavirus chaos?

    I think it is hard to pass judgment on any retailer trying to deal with the s**tshow we're seeing now as panic rises. I hope it helps keep their doors open and associates safe. I hope no one gets sick. I hope for serious leadership from Washington.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2020

    Retailers act to protect seniors from coronavirus shopping chaos and contamination

    Without leadership at the top telling people specific steps to take to stop the spread, it falls to retailers to help in any way they can. The safety net of decades ago that the elderly grew up with for many is gone, this is a step in the right direction. But all the closings of stores are designed to protect these at-risk individuals. Is there a way groceries could be brought to them so they didn't even have to come out? My guess is that is the next step. And with the situation evolving by the hour, I expect that approach to have widespread adoption.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2020

    Which retailers are less vulnerable to the coronavirus and whatever comes next?

    Face it, we're going into a recession. When they announce mall owners like American Dream are closing and this morning that Wynn and a bunch of other Vegas properties are closing, it is a evidence we are in uncharted territory. When people can't work, can't feel safe, and 70 percent of our economy is built on the consumer, it only points to decreasing demand. That's why the Dow dropped 2500 at open today. Hopefully it will be short-lived and we can make up some of the ground lost in Q3 and Q4. And while it is due to a lack of leadership at the top, all we can do now is concentrate on minimizing the impact on people in the ICU in 14 days.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2020

    Should retail close?

    Your doors have already been shut, you just don’t know it yet. This has to be a WE not a ME problem. Though you and your family may be fine, your actions may determine someone's outcome in the ICU in 14 days. The problem continues to be no leadership from the top which is making every state, county and person have to figure it out on their own. If you are planning on staying open, consider reading my post Retailers: How To Deal With Coronavirus.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2020

    Why is Neiman Marcus shuttering its Last Call off-price business?

    I think it is smart to focus on full-price customers instead too. I agree the opportunity is in full-price offerings but everything is off the table with the virus fears and oil war.

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