Survival Strategy: Cutting Store Days
By Tom Ryan
After decades of being open seven days a
week, Portland-based retailer Kitchen Kaboodle is closing its doors on
Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in order to survive the downturn. The
owners figures that with consumers only buying on sale, the cost savings
from closing the doors on those days will enable the company to bring in
lower prices on the other four days of the week.
"What our customers want and what everybody
wants is lower prices," John Whisler, a co-owner of the five-unit
kitchen appliances chain, told the Portland Business Journal. "We
were thinking, if that’s the ‘new normal’ and everybody wants everything
on sale, we as a retail business, and locally-owned one, feel we need to
get people what they want."
If the store just slashed prices across all
days, it would lose money. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have long been
the stores’ slowest days. The savings come mostly in labor costs.
Every item is now discounted 10 percent to
50 percent across the store, with lower-margin products getting the smaller
discounts. Mr. Whisler said the stores’ prices are now lower than many
big chains like Crate & Barrel.
Mr. Whisler admits the idea is a "bold
step" but is really a logical reaction to the marketplace.
"I think we all, in any business, get
invested in how we’ve done things. You think we’ll just tough it out and
trim here and cut here and hold the line on this expense. But after a while
in this economy it’s pretty challenging," he said. "We don’t
want to be just limping along. We want to be seen as the place that gives
people what they want."
Discussion Questions: What do think of closing
down a store a few days a week to bring in lower prices the rest of the
week? Is this just an option for smaller chains or can larger ones
benefit from closing doors on slower days?
- One Small Retailer Adjusts to the New Normal – The
Wall Street Journal
- Kitchen Kaboodle cuts back days – Portland