Al's column

June 1, 2010 | Comments Off on Al's column

NOT BAD: Retail sales continued their slow but steady climb back up in April, totaling $366.4 billion on an adjusted basis or 0.4% ahead of March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-over-year comparisons show total April retail sales rose 8.8% over April 2009. Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores, which includes flooring, gained 4.6% in April over that month last year. Looking at the total, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said April’s sales...

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Al's Column

May 18, 2010 | Comments Off on Al's Column

By Al Wahnon HARBINGER: Despite the recent bailout of Greece and the still struggling European economy, Cersaie 2010 seems unaffected by the surrounding fiscal problems and is already fully booked. How great is that? The ceramic tile show, staged in Bologna, Italy, runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 and already there are more than 800 exhibitors signed up, about 20% non-Italian companies. The 28th edition of the show will feature exhibitors from 29 countries,...

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Ready…Aim…Succeed

May 18, 2010 | Comments Off on Ready…Aim…Succeed

By Al Wahnon The other day during an afternoon reverie, I thought about my life, my successes, frustrations and failures. I thought about the war—the big one, WWII—and my military service. When I realized how similar both aspects of my life were—civilian and military—I was surprised. In both environments you must train arduously, prepare for all possible circumstances, develop offensive and defensive strategies and plan to continue fighting even after you’re wounded by enemy fire—or...

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Watch ‘Undercover Boss’ —and learn

May 4, 2010 | Comments Off on Watch ‘Undercover Boss’ —and learn

by Al Wahnon I read an interesting article on a new television show called, “Undercover Boss,” that the author urges the president of every manufacturing company and distributorship to watch. The Sunday night program depicts a top officer of a major corporation who goes “undercover” and takes a job working at his company’s various branch operations. This affords him an invaluable opportunity to go directly to the source to learn how effective the company is...

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Al's column

May 4, 2010 | Comments Off on Al's column

by Al Wahnon OPTIMISM: As industries continue to report better profits and add new jobs, economists are optimistic about prospects for growth this year, but they still expect the recovery to be slow. In a recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics, 70% believe the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow by more than 2% this year, up from 61% polled in January. And 24% are predicting real GDP will grow by more...

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Checking in: Consumers, let’s make a deal

May 4, 2010 | Comments Off on Checking in: Consumers, let’s make a deal

by Steven Feldman About a year ago I was taking to Jim Mudd, president of Sam Kinnard’s Flooring Outlet in Louisville. Good news, bad news. Despite the economy, when he had a warehouse sale or special limited-time promotion, he did near to record business for that particular event. However, no sale, no business. He said consumers were needing a reason to buy. One year later, as the economic recovery shapes up stronger than expected, with...

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Checking in: Random thoughts from the ivory tower

April 20, 2010 | Comments Off on Checking in: Random thoughts from the ivory tower

by Steven Feldman This is an exciting month. Maybe not for you, but certainly for me. Even though I’ve been doing whatever it is I do for the better part of 16 years, I can still visit new places, cover events for the first time, and most importantly, learn new things. I’ll illustrate. A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Preferred Brands summit at Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville, Ga. First,...

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The boys of summer

April 20, 2010 | Comments Off on The boys of summer

by Al Wahnon There are economists who feel the recession has bottomed out, that we have turned the corner. Then, there are those who believe we are approaching the corner and others who think the corner is distant but in sight. Whether the recovery has begun or is poised to begin, there are enough economists to express every point of view. And these financial wizards do just that: express every point of view. Over the...

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Al's Column

April 20, 2010 | Comments Off on Al's Column

by Al Wahnon REBOUND: After plummeting 10.5 points in February, the consumer confidence index bounced back more than half way in March. According to the Conference Board, the index rose 6.1 points to 52.56 in March. Both of the components—present situations and expectations—made significant gains as well, with the present conditions index adding 4.3 points and the expectations index rising 7.3 points. In addition, the percentages of consumers who viewed present and future conditions as...

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Make the meeting count

April 5, 2010 | Comments Off on Make the meeting count

Most meetings are important. They are the window into the company’s heart and mind. If you learn how to execute a winning high-level meeting, you will open doors to the offices of senior executives. Getting the attention of top management in a high-powered company is a major achievement, but it can also cause major anxiety. To hold the focus of a superior and move the discussion to the next level, salespeople must go into these...

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