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Worthy of Applause

On the big retail stage, smart companies are the ones seeking to reinvent themselves.

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Before I joined VMSD magazine, I worked on one of parent-company ST Media Group’s other publications focused on screen printing. While there wasn’t much cross over between the two magazines, I always picked up the latest copy of VMSD when it arrived in the office. One of my favorite reads was Peter Glen’s column. He died a year before I joined the VMSD staff, so I never got to meet or work with him. But I always appreciated his personal and humorous writing style. After writing for VMSD for 11 years, I’ve also come to better appreciate the ideals that he championed.

Glen was a designer, consultant, industry critic and motivational speaker who held some demanding criteria for smart retailing: market awareness, innovation and an intuitive understanding of who its customers are and what they want, need and expect. To him, it wasn’t just about sales numbers. It was also about retailers who really understood their customers, who adapted to their changing needs and were constantly looking to reinvent their brands and refresh their ways of thinking. If a retailer was getting stale, Glen was sure to call them out in one of his columns. (Federated, Walmart, Martha Stewart and Toys “R” Us were just some of the companies providing fodder for his monthly prose.) He believed “retail is theater” and the best companies were those constantly seeking an encore.

After Glen’s death, the magazine created its VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year award to honor those companies that lived up to his expectations. Past winners of this award include Whole Foods, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Costco, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Federated Department Stores, Neiman Marcus, Apple Computer, Limited Brands and Target. This year, we’re presenting our annual award to Macy’s Inc. for adapting to a changing marketplace and employing a spirit of innovation, from the way it markets to millennials to the $400 million renovation of its iconic Herald Square department store.

We also honor that spirit of reinvention in this year’s winning projects from the VMSD 2012 Retail Renovation Competition. Crossing all sectors and budgets, there’s something to inspire everyone looking for ideas for their next retail project. (See page 28 for profiles of this year’s winners.)

Let’s take a moment to applaud these award-winning retail leaders, as they provide the ideas and solutions to keep our industry moving forward.
 

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