retail news in context, analysis with attitude

As always, lightly edited for clarity…

Yesterday MNB reported that The Business Roundtable, made up of the CEOs of the nation’s top corporations, released a statement suggesting that companies should not make increasing shareholder value their driving motivation and top priority. Rather, the statement says, companies should have a broader perspective - “delivering value to our customers,” “investing in our employees,” “dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers,” and supporting the communities in which we work,” followed by “generating long-term value for shareholders.”

Got a number of responses to this story.

MNB reader Chris Grathwohl wrote:

Our company uses an airplane as a symbol of the company, with the various parts of the plane representing the stakeholders – customers (engine), vendors (wings), employees (propellers), owners (cockpit) and community (tail). Each stakeholder/part is important and if one fails the plane’s flight becomes erratic.

A balance must be struck among all the stakeholders, for the benefit of all.

I saw a statistic recently that the average tenure for a Fortune 1000 CEO is less than 5 years, which makes them feel the need to focus on the short term.
Too bad.  The companies that are able to take a wider and longer term strategic view are generally better off for all the stakeholders.

Another MNB reader wrote:

The statement is similar to Costco's core values/code of ethics.

From a 2008 interview of Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal published in the New England Journal of Entrepreneurship:
"We believe that there are four things that every business has to do (1) obey the laws,(2) take care of its customers,(3) take care of its people, and (4) respect the suppliers.  And if [the business] does all those things, pretty much in that
order, they will do what they ultimately have to do as a public company or as a corporation, which is reward the shareholders.”

The aging population was a subject yesterday, as we quoted a Washington Post story:

“From 2015 to 2050, the number of Americans 85 and older will increase by more than 200 percent, while those ages 75 to 84 will rise by more than 100 percent, according to AARP. By contrast, the number of Americans younger than 65 will increase by about 12 percent.”

And, the Post used a term I hadn’t heard before - that people 65 or older are “super aged.”

MNB reader Lisa Malmarowski wrote:

Wait, what? You mean the relentless pursuit of youth dollars may not be the only way to compete?

I’m shocked, I tell ya’.

Also, I’m trying to get past the idea that 65 is the gateway to “super aged”. (I have some years to go to get there, but it’s damn close.)

Tell me about it. I’m like 76 days away from becoming “super aged.” But who’s counting?

In Portland, Oregon, they refer to such people as “honored citizens,” which is marginally better.
KC's View: