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“A compendium of street-smart retailing insights and acumen.”

427 lessons taught only on the frontline of retailing. No academic theory here—just the hard-nosed realities shrewd retailers discover through experience and use to build profitable stores. Retail truths like:

Wholesale is the cost of the merchandise, not the cost of the sale.
There is no magic close.
Profit is not immoral.
Expecting to get the sale is half of getting it.
They hear what you say, but they do what you pay.
A manager is not a referee.
A return policy is a tool, not a rule.
Good management is an attitude, not a technique.
Be-backs don’t come back.
He who underestimates his costs gets the sale.
A sales presentation is not the place to give a business education.
You’re not in business if you’re not in show business.
The last few percentage points are the profit.
Merchandise is for sale, not for storage.
People like to do business where business is being done.
Inventory expands to fill all space.
A good salesman makes a bad buyer.
Building a brand doesn’t make you its owner.
A weak competitor is a useful nuisance.
Good isn’t good enough; only best gets the sale.
The measure of a competitor is the price he can get.
A company is known by the people it keeps.
A retailer’s effectiveness can be measured by the animosity of his competitors.
The applicant pool is not a cross section of the population.
Tell the job, don’t sell it.
Low wages aren’t a bargain, good people are.
All applicants are smart until they speak.
If it’s important to know, certify that it’s known.
Employees treat customers as managers treat employees.
The only appropriate discipline is de-hiring.
Growth doesn’t produce cash, it consumes it.
Bankers want you most when you need them least.
A banking crisis is always just a personnel change away.
Two stores don’t make twice as much.
All business is gambling, but double-or-nothing is soon nothing.
A little success creates a lot of overhead.
If at first you do succeed, try not to believe you’re infallible.

Chip Averwater is a third-generation, 38-year veteran of retailing. In Retail Truths he shares the lessons of a career, gathered in over twelve years of writing.

“If you could own only one book on retailing, this should be the one.”

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