Sara Mays

Principal Consultant, The Retail Coach Consultant Group-NY
I am a people-centric results-driven retail leader, based in New York City and a founding partner of The Retail Coach Consulting Group whose mission is to help retailers drive sales and profits. I have 25+ years of retail management experience. From February 2004 until March 2017 I was the Director of Loss Prevention, Stores, and Training at Barnes & Noble, Inc. where I was responsible for all inventory shrink and safety initiatives for 640 stores throughout the U.S. Barnes & Noble, Inc., is a Fortune 500 company. I have a consistent track record of profit enhancement through communication and partnerships. During my career, I have developed and executed multiple training programs in a variety of mediums and subjects centric to profitability and safety. Topics include; service, physical inventory and safety initiatives that protect employees, customers, physical assets, and brands. I have been recognized as a cross-functional collaborator with a broad set of skills that help me achieve organizational objectives. I am also the founder of Strokes for Strokes, a charity whose mission is to provide swim lessons for underprivileged children, for which I have won multiple awards from the retail community.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2018

    What does it take to improve an underperforming retail sales team?

    Shoppers are more educated on pricing than in the past so modeling customer-centric values is key for all leaders. Minimizing tasks to allow associates time for customer interactions drives the message that customers are more important than the tasks. Building processes for continuous training, communication and associate feedback will create a positive environment for the associates and ultimately the customer. Celebrating sales stories and goal achievement keeps teams focused on the importance of service during all phases of the sales cycle.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2018

    Macy’s new Muslim clothing line launches to accolades and anger

    Retailers have been selling conservative clothing to women and men of various religions for many years. Understanding your community and serving the needs of that community is smart business, and the retailers that can adapt to the needs of the local communities will benefit. Smaller retailers that continue to thrive do so because they listen and adjust their inventory to their customer's needs. Chain retailers that encourage and empower local managers to understand and support the product needs of their communities will reap the profits.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2018

    No joke – Walmart asks CPGs for higher priced products

    Marc Lore drove Walmart's online sales increases using free two-day shipping without a membership fee. Clearly expecting lower margins during the early implementation with a variable of strategies to manage once online traffic was optimized. Increasing selection to higher price points would be a simple step to grow margins but long-term Walmart must figure out how to improve the service end of their online business. Personal experience reflects that their customer service has not yet adopted those standards of a truly integrated retailer.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2018

    Are chargebacks necessary for supply chain collaboration?

    The goal of any chargeback program is to drive sales which is mutually beneficial for the vendor and retailer. Understanding and responding to supply chain issues requires a collaborative audit routine that allows for the identification of root cause issues. Technology can provide enhanced visibility but without a trusted partnership, the finger pointing will continue. Chargebacks ensure that the vendors remain partners in the selling process until the goods are in the customer’s hands.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2018

    Amazon rolls out Prime Now deliveries from Whole Foods

    This solidifies Amazon's efforts to be the go-to source for everything in your home. Selection and pricing are important, but as an NYC resident, I've experienced first hand the delivery challenges in groceries, specifically perishable products. Once-melted ice cream loses something in the re-freeze. Ensuring a strong logistics infrastructure should determine the roll-out schedule or they risk damaging the brand.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2018

    Will a CEO without department store experience transform Hudson’s Bay business?

    Ms. Foulkes has proven she is an innovative leader with a customer-centric focus. Providing a seamless experience between clicks and bricks will be a challenge but she plays the long game and in the end, she will succeed.
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