Survival Time

Five top independent footwear retailers share their tips and offer advice on trimming costs and preparing for a post-turnaround market.

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Isack Fadlon

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Let’s Make a Deal

In addition to working more closely with vendors, Jassem suggested talking to landlords and trying to get a reduced rate on rent. “If you’ve been a good tenant, they want you to remain a tenant,” he said.

Fadlon agreed that landlords are open to revisiting existing leases. “It’s legitimate to go back to your landlord and get any concession you can,” he said. “Of course, they have expenses, too, and it can be difficult, but when they lease to someone new, they’re able to give out a free month or two, or [property] improvement money. So they should be able to do something.”

Jassem also suggested approaching credit-card processors to get a reduced rate. “If you can save 1 percent on processing, that is a huge number,” he said, noting that all footwear retailers should review their businesses with a magnifying glass in search of savings. He suggested sitting down with insurance companies, freight companies and banks to make sure the company is taking advantage of the lowest rates available.

Also, Jassem recommended running reports on sales to determine peak shopping times and perhaps consider adjusting store hours. “If you’re not doing business, reduce your hours,” he said. “It is very easy to see what hours you’re selling shoes. So make sure you have people there to service the customer when you’re selling, and maybe close early when you’re not.”


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