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TWICE Retail Winners Think Outside The Box

10/20/2013 08:00:00 PM Eastern

With the baseball playoffs in full swing, the “Manager of the Year” awards in the American and National Leagues come to mind. Shouldn’t they go to those field generals who either win the World Series or their league’s pennant gets the award?

Well, more than a few of past winners have said they really deserved the award when they finished a few games over .500 and came in second- or third-place. That’s when they thought they gave their best managerial performances by overcoming obstacles to keep their teams in contention.

A couple of members of the 2013 class of TWICE Retail Excellence Award winners are overcoming internal and external obstacles to achieve growth. Others are taking on new categories to achieve the same goal.

All of them are thinking outside of the box, so our official congratulations to this year’s honorees:

• Best Buy

• Conn’s

• Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City

• Nebraska Furniture Mart

• RadioShack

• Starpower

Best Buy and RadioShack are clearly two retailers in the turnaround mode, with former a lot farther down the road than the latter.

Best Buy was left for dead by Wall Street and retail pundits last year. But CEO and president Hubert Joly and his team helped maintain its leadership role in the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report. But more than that, Joly and his team were imaginative and came up with Samsung and Microsoft departments; unveiled special new technology products in TVs, smartphones and video games; and instituted a price-matching program to stay competitive with online retailers.

The road is less clear for RadioShack, but you have to give CEO Joe Magnacca, former Walgreens executive, and his new team credit for improving operations, updating the brand and product assortment, upgrading stores and trying to attract a new generation of consumers.

Wall Street has taken notice and same-store sales are up for the first time since 2010. Magnacca is emphasizing RadioShack’s strengths: With all those locations, it still is the neighborhood CE store in the U.S. But the chain’s future is still far from safe as it continues to deal with red ink. Still, this may prove to be a winning strategy for the longtime CE chain.

As for the other winners, all of them have thought outside the box. Nebraska Furniture Mart could be also be called “Texas Furniture Mart” if its notable expansion in Dallas is successful. Conn’s, which was on the brink of disaster a few years ago, has reinvented itself as a home store. Also in Texas is Starpower, which is known as an upscale CE retailer and has expanded into luxury major appliances. Cowboy Maloney’s not only added mattresses successfully, but introduced Dish Network’s DishNet last fall and has also expanded its major appliance business.

All of this year’s winners have been willing to take chances to not only enable their companies to survive and thrive, but to provide top-notch goods and services to their customers.

Again, congratulations to all the winners!

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