Jules Steinberg, Retail Expert, Dies At 88

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TEMPE, ARIZ. — Jules Steinberg, 88, business consultant, longtime TWICE columnist and former executive director of National Association of Retail Dealers of America (NARDA), died here on March 20.

During his 25-year tenure at NARDA, the association’s membership grew from fewer than 600 independent electronic, appliance and furniture retailers to 4,500 firms.

Steinberg devoted a major part of his efforts to getting all the links of the distribution chain — from manufacturer to retailer — to work together for their mutual benefit, and served as management consultant to suppliers and wholesalers.

He purchased a computer for NARDA and organized an electronic data processing service for members. Steinberg wrote original computer programs for tracking inventory movements, and for judging the performance of sales and product repair personnel.

To lower the discount rate on credit card sales, he started the NARDA credit union and arranged for a pooling of all sales of association members. He also provided a group health program for members, their employees and families.

His annual Costs-of-Doing-Business- Survey, based on a compilation of member input, provided a yardstick of average expenses for individual dealers.

It was at one of his annual week-long “Institutes of Management” sponsored at Notre Dame University and Stanford University that he perfected his original “Gross Return on Investment” formula, which entails combining the gross profit and inventory turns on each product to measure its true comparative profitability.

He also authored a book on salesmanship called “Customers Don’t Bite.”

Steinberg was born June 10, 1921, in the Bronx, N.Y., and raised in Manhattan. After graduating from Stuyvesant High School, he entered New York University and graduated with degrees in fi nance and journalism. In June 1942 he joined the U.S. Navy and served on the destroyer U.S.S. Heermann DD532 in the Pacific.

At war’s end, he organized his own wholesaling and import/export businesses for several years before he turned to writing as a columnist and editor for trade publications.

In 1961 he was named to head NARDA, headquartered in Chicago. Upon retirement from NARDA, he continued to do management consulting, wrote a column for TWICE and published a monthly newsletter, “Management Digest.”

Steinberg was voted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame in 2003 for his contributions to the industry.

He is survived by his wife, Marietta Marcin, a sister, son, daughter and step-daughter, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

(For an appreciation of Steinberg’s World War II record read the blog by senior editor Doug Olenick at www. TWICE.com.)


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