Question: With the industry impacted by factors that include real estate, online sales and consumer spending activity, what do you see as the top challenge facing retail today?
Edward (Trey) Basha
Bashas’ Family of Stores
VP of Retail Operations and Chairman of the Board
The overall economy, in my opinion, is the top retail challenge today. And consumers, not investors, set the tone for the economy.
Consumers’ attitudes and spending habits are changing. They’re more cautious about their spending and are tightening their budgets, allocating fewer dollars to retail and entertainment. Instead of taking vacations, people are staying home. Instead of going out to a restaurant to eat, they’re cooking more meals at home. Instead of going out to the movies, they’re watching TV at home.
People are thinking more about how, what and why they consume. They’re shopping prudently, giving a second thought to everything they spend money on. They’re more into value than they ever were before, and they expect more bang for their buck. Coupon use has skyrocketed, and a good deal is more important than ever.
The recession has changed more than just how we live; it’s changed what we value and expect. This new frugality will continue for some time to come, even after we recover from the recession.
Edward (Trey) Basha is vice president of retail operations and chairman of the board of Bashas’ Family of Stores — the family-owned grocer that operates Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Sportsman’s Fine Wines & Spirits, Eddie’s Country Store and Bashas’ Diné supermarkets. He earned his B.A. and M.B.A. from Arizona State University. Basha has been active on the boards of directors of the East Valley Child Crisis Center, Children’s Cancer Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Local First Arizona
Founder and Director
Sector: Business Advocacy Group
Today’s retailers are a tough bunch of entrepreneurs who have proven they can survive through difficult real estate times and finicky consumer spending habits. However, what very few people realize is that even the best of the best brick-and-mortar retailers won’t survive being in the cross hairs of Amazon execs who want them gone. Online shopping is destroying the America we know by draining resources from city, county and state coffers by offering merchandise without collecting sales taxes. This perceived “discount” amounts to nothing short of a scheme to shortchange our communities of much-needed revenue. Simultaneously, the online giants are abusing an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers who are required to collect nearly 10 percent sales tax on every item sold. This inequity is not only causing retailers to lose hope, it’s causing a shortfall at the state level of more than $700 million per year in uncollected taxes. These taxes go to fund our social services like fire departments, libraries, trash collection and even education. How can Arizonans think they are getting a good deal by skimping on their taxes online?
Kimber Lanning is an entrepreneur and economic specialist actively involved in fostering cultural diversity, economic self-reliance, regional planning and responsible growth in the Greater Phoenix area. She is the founder and executive director of Local First Arizona, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the positive economic and environmental impacts of supporting locally owned businesses.
Target is thrilled to be part of the retail industry during this exciting time of change, and recognizes that our guests’ needs are evolving rapidly. People are shopping differently these days — for example, they’re more focused on value, increasingly comfortable interacting with brands via social media and use a number of tools and channels to research potential purchases, shop and buy.
Savvy retailers must anticipate consumers’ wants and needs and adapt their business accordingly, as well as become experts on making connections with potential shoppers both inside and outside of store walls. In addition, retail companies should focus on delivering an exceptional shopping experience. At Target, we do this by evolving our merchandise assortment, in-store service and multichannel offerings in order to develop innovative new solutions that will help our guests find what they need, when and where they need it.
Billy Leist is a group director at Target, where he oversees stores in Arizona and New Mexico. Leist began his career at Target six years ago as a store team leader in Fresno, Calif., and later worked as a district team leader in Bakersfield, Calif. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership at California State University, Fresno. Leist is actively involved with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the United Way, local schools and food banks.
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