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CEO Summit: Execs Focus on China, Retail

Leaders from top firms said they are focusing on long-range opportunities.

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Panelists also stressed the importance of maintaining candid retail relationships.

“The key to being successful right now is to have transparency between our two businesses,” said Rick Graham, SVP of sales at Skechers, who joked about Chairman Robert Greenberg’s desire for rapid expansion into new categories. “The more transparent we are with each other, the better our business is.”

Dan Bazinet, CEO of Birkenstock USA, added, “Our relationships with independent stores are the most important relationships we have.”

He acknowledged his firm had mismanaged some of those relationships in the past, comparing Birkenstock’s actions to the Japanese worldview wabi-sabi. “It’s the art of imperfection, which we’ve mastered in the last five years,” Bazinet said. “Now we’re back on track to improving those relationships, managing inventory and doing what we can locally and nationally to support branding.”

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