retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece from the Wall Street Journal about how the current economic moment - higher inflation than at any time in recent decades, a slowdown in consumer spending, and a stock market roiled by economic and geopolitical uncertainty - is creating job insecurity for a number of retail CFOs.

Companies like Walmart, Lowe’s, and Wayfair are swapping out their CFOs, the story says, as changed circumstances seem to be calling for fresh blood and new perspectives.

"The turnover comes as the boom in retail sales during the pandemic - particularly for e-commerce companies - shows signs of slowing," the Journal writes.  "Higher prices for groceries, gas and other items are squeezing U.S. consumers, who are facing inflation at a four-decade high. Household spending has slowed in recent months and retailers selling big-ticket items, such as beds and appliances, have reported lower demand."

KC's View:

There are a lot of companies and people grappling with circumstances with which they've never dealt before.  Tom Furphy and I talked about this last week in the Innovation Conversation - Amazon, for example, has dealt with a recession, but came into being well after the last time that we experienced any sort of significant inflation.  This is new territory for any company that's come into being in the past quarter-century, and they indeed may find that they need some different perspectives in navigating it.

It shouldn't be just CFOs who are at risk, though … one can imagine that a lot of c-suite occupants could be at risk if they don't respond to the moment effectively.