the Insiders


February 23, 2012 1:32 PM

Adjusting the Bar

If you think this blog is not good, you're reading it the wrong way....

If you think this blog is not good, you're reading it the wrong way.
Yes, the net quality of this post, under generally accepted editorial principles, is about two-thirds of last week's blog. (There was no comparable year-ago blog.) But that is a stuffed-shirt way of viewing blogs that only accountants and federal regulators could love.

Following the lead of public fashion companies that are now filing year-end reports, I am adopting a new metric for evaluating my blog performance called ABAR -- adjusted blog analysis regimen.

This new program more accurately illustrates my contribution to your knowledge of what's happening in retail right now.

Whereas Kohl's emphasized a 9 percent gain in earnings per share last quarter -- the result of share buybacks since net income fell 8 percent -- I will be adjusting for the number of stories I wrote for the paper, since their value to readers should be factored into the worth of this blog.

I will also begin projecting the quality of my next blog. This will provide a benchmark to aid its evaluation and avoid the shocks delivered by, say, Dillard's, which gives no such guidance. The company's fourth-quarter earnings came in at $2.77 a share, or as adjusted for the settlement of a lawsuit, $2.21. Only two analysts were brave enough to guess at Dillard's take, and they came up with $2 and $2.04 -- closer to the adjusted result than Wall Street has come in more than a year. My projections will provide more certainty surrounding future performance.

I will not be officially incorporating temperature variation into ABAR, but I will note, strenuously, that the warmer-than-usual weather might be disrupting my commute and routine in unknown ways. My competing bloggers also face such conditions, but I cannot be certain if their efforts were hindered or helped more or less than my own by all the nice days.

Taking all the above into account, this blog is at least 17 percent better than last week's blog -- ahead of internal projections for a 15 percent improvement. I am cautiously optimistic a robust improvement can be sustained for the foreseeable future.

All that's left to do is to band together with other bloggers so we, collectively, can convince our editors of the reasonableness of these adjustments. Then performance across the field may be measured once and for all with blinding accuracy and outrageous fairness.
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