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
He also authored a book on salesmanship
called “Customers Don’t
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
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
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
(For an appreciation of Steinberg’s
World War II record read the blog by
senior editor Doug Olenick at www.