Narta retailers react to conference content (with videos)

By James Wells

SORRENTO, ITALY: Narta retailers including John Murphy from Winning Appliances, Rob Sinclair from E&S Trading and Tom Antonio from Electrical Discounters were all inspired by a fellow retailer on the first day of the buying group’s conference.

The presentation by Jeff Lind from Nebraska Furniture Mart in Kansas City was an intriguing retail story about a business which was started in 1937 by Russian immigrant Rose Blumpkin, who did not speak or write English. She started the business with $500 to become the single largest home furnishing store of its kind in the United States and passed away in 1997 at 104 years of age just one year after she stopped working in the business.

The business with 328 staff across just two stores with an approximate turnover of $400 million from one store front sells furniture, appliances, flooring and electronics, is now owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway group and operates based on four key philosophies – selling cheap, telling the truth, providing the greatest selection and service to improve people’s lives and that cash is king.

“Everything we do, begins and ends with the customer,” Lind said who manages the Kansas City store which covers one million square feet.

Other values within the business include integrity, honesty, customer loyalty, happy staff and operational efficiency.

The business recovers 70 per cent of its delivery costs and targets a five per cent net profit after tax.

Lind estimates the lifetime value of a customer is $US100,000 through purchases, goodwill and recommendations. The business focuses on customer loyalty which is proved when a retailer has made such a substantial connection that you return to make additional purchases.

Stores are regarded as a constant work in progress, working very closely with suppliers to obtain supply chain efficiencies and executing planning strategies.

Lind seeks to eliminate inventory which wastes money and replace this with information. There is a culture of education within the business including manager and leadership development and all available information is mined for business advantage.

Click on the video the below to hear from John Murphy at Winning Appliances…


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Click on the video below to hear from Rob Sinclair from E&S Trading…


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Click on the video below to hear from Tom Antonio from Electrical Discounters…
 

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