Category Archives: Culture

When Will We Be Back?

When will the economy open up?  When will we get out of our homes?  When can we go back to work?  When can we visit my kids?  When will we be normal again?

These are the questions that are on all of our minds as we continue to go crazy and try to adapt to these new circumstances.  As a research analyst trying to predict consumer trends, lately I just throw up my hands and say, “What the &$!#%?  I have no idea!”

What to do?  We ask the audience, our big database online.  Morning Consult does a great job of surveying a panel of consumers and gets the data out fast, almost in real time.  This week, they’ve updated the consumer sentiment panel regarding when certain groups will be comfortable going to several types of facilities and events.  The latest surveys show big differences between political leanings.  I don’t know about you, but that makes no sense to me.  Facts are facts, right?

Share of U.S. adults by political party  who said they’d feel comfortable doing the following activities right now. Activities are ordered by the share of all adults who said they’d feel comfortable doing them in the initial poll.

In the latest update to tracking data on consumers’ comfort levels returning to certain activities during the pandemic, the gap in comfort between Millennials and Baby Boomers has begun to reopen for some activities, including going to gyms, amusement parks and concerts.

Still, less than a quarter of adults will be comfortable doing many leisure activities.  This will gradually improve as time passes and a new vaccine is available.

When will you feel comfortable going out to eat? Or to a movie?  Or shopping?  Let us know.  We always like your input!

 

 

 

Nimble, Responsive, Proactive, Creative, Woke!

I am not in any way discounting the dangerous and dire straights we are in these days with the global pandemic and how it is affecting our health and economy.  But it occurred to me when I was not doing anything this weekend (which happens a lot these days) that we are a nation of innovators, and that most of the tech innovations and discovers came from the U. S.  If ever there was a time to “think outside the box” (why do we use that expression?  Why don’t we think outside the parallelogram or the rhombus?) it is now.

Businesses are closing down by the hundreds.  How to fix this?  What can we do?  And just as I was musing/obsessing about this, we drove by a billboard on the 101 in San Francisco for Salesforces’ new product “Work.com”.  Full disclosure, my son works for Salesforce, so I am not completely objective, but my thought was “that’s brilliant”  Work.com, is described as “providing all the latest thinking, models, advice and all new work.com solutions.” Some of the things you can do with the new system are quoted as follows:

  • Get products to support your return to the workplace
  • Find thought leadership content from renowned experts
  • Access all the latest COVID-19 data
  • Learn through inspiring stories
  • Extend with guidance from our ecosystem

Brilliant!  A solution, instead of a worry or obsession.  I began to look for other exciting new solutions to our current state and I found another.  The whole movie industry has been turned on its head, with the closure of cinemas.  New releases and summer blockbusters, so important to viewership at theaters, are being scheduled for first run on television private services.  One proactive solution, the reemergence of drive-in theaters!  Anyone over 30 remembers going to the drive in first with your parents when you were a kid, and then with your friends as you got older and were able to drive.  I remember getting in the trunk at the drive-in gate, with some of my friends, so we didn’t have to pay as much.  Morning Consult provides an amazing array of data on topics important to all of us.  Their entertainment sector report this morning presented data from another completely nimble solution, the return of the drive-in movie theater.

This gorgeous picture is an aerial drone view of a temporary drive-in movie theater at the Rose Bowl stadium, known for its spectacular Fourth of July fireworks which were canceled this year to reduce large public gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns. The latest polling of 2000 adults over 18 in the United States shows the following fascinating results:

Results indicate that the majority of Americans (55%) are interested in returning to the theater in a safe fashion.  The bravest is Gen Z, (aged 10 to 25 years of age) including 66 percent of Gen Z adults. Adding to the potential draw of the drive-in is that audiences are 12 percentage points more likely to be comfortable with watching a film outdoors than inside, according to separate Morning Consult polling.

Drive-in or picnic style movies are simple to set-up and earn revenue on food and beverage.  Some drive-ins have even tried offering upscale sandwiches, picnic baskets, small-batch microbrewery beers, and designer wine brands curated by a sommelier.

For commercial real estate owners, business is not good right now.  But what if we thought new:  Let’s host art shows, turn our parking lots into drive-ins (Walmart is doing this!), offer our locations for COVID testing!  Let’s have a “can do” attitude and turn around our dire situation right now! Maybe we can even give our clients and customers something to smile about!

Let me know what you’re doing creatively in your spare time.  We always love to hear from you and right now, nothing is more important than sharing ideas and innovations!

And Just Like that……Everything Changes!

These days, my blog just seems to write itself. Experiences and new ways of accomplishing almost everything, from washing clothes to shopping, are the norm. But as humans, it takes an exceptionally long time to change our ways so that all our new activities feel stiff and unfamiliar. Take for example, shopping, my passion! Here in Napa County, we are in Phase Two A of the process. That means many retail locations can reopen, except ones that involve person-to-person contact like salons, nail parlors, gyms, and spas.

About a week ago, my husband and I went to the University of California San Francisco hospital, where he had a follow-up appointment for a recent health scare. Since no one is allowed in the hospital other than the patient, I had to occupy myself with walking around nearby.

UCSF is in Mission Bay, as is the beautiful new Chase Center Warriors and concert arena. This venue opened in September 2019 at a cost of half a billion dollars. Besides the 18,000-seat arena, the project boasts 580,000 square feet of office space and 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Additionally, a new light rail system connecting the arena to downtown is also proposed, at a cost of $1.0 billion. The MANICA designed arena opened with a Metallica concert playing to a sold-out crowd.

Huge investment full of vision and promise. A community gathering space that would be alive at least 250 nights each year. The one and only first-class arena for concerts in San Francisco. A new space for artists to add to their tour routes! We attended the Sara Bareilles concert in January and though the house was set in the concert-configuration at 10,000-capacity, it seemed like we were onstage with her.

Here is what it looks like now:

Eerie. A boarded-up ghost town cordoned off to all seeking to visit. The many restaurants were either not yet operational when the Pandemic began or closed now because of it. A special favorite of Northern Californians is Gotts, a local hamburger and milk shake joint that now offers sushi and other fancy stuff. I almost cried when I saw this:

   

How could this happen? Who could have predicted this devastating blow to a brand-new entertainment venue in one of the best entertainment regions in the world?

And just like that, everything changed again! Last week, stores were allowed to open in Napa County, where I live. I was thrilled. It was advertised that the Napa Premium Outlets were not yet open, but that the Vacaville Premium Outlets were (both Simon Properties). I drove the 35 minutes to the Outlets and was greeted by a very spotty opening sequence. Most stores were still closed, and signs disclosed they would be open next week or the week after. The few stores that were open look like this:

One or two customers in each shop.  The stock was plentiful because it has been sitting in a warehouse for two or three months, awaiting opening of the stores . I felt particularly sorry for a new William Sonoma Factory store that just opened for the first time, with no customers in its beautiful store:

I have PTSD from trying to keep up with the world. It’s like when you have your first baby, or worse yet, your second baby, and just when you think you have it nailed, their behavior changes, they start sleeping less or more; they don’t like the food today that they loved yesterday; they cry endlessly for no reason, and you want to run away. But of course, you don’t, except for maybe a minute or two when you lock yourself in the bathroom and sob for, which is all the time you are allowed to yourself as a new parent. That is what I feel like today. I want certainty; I want routine; I want to get on a plane and go on my summer vacation; I want to see my grandbabies; I want to kiss my kids! I will just keep muddling along, as I imagine we all will. And I will keep writing blogs that someday may seem like the poetry you wrote when you were a stoned college kid.

What are you doing to stay sane? Share with us your tips for slogging through your days.

Some Bright Spots on the Jobs Horizon

While we’re all at home doing a bit of R&R and obsessively watching the news (oh, maybe that’s just me) for any glimmer of hope, I found some good news.  While the GDP shrank by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020 and unemployment nationally is upward of 16%, there is plenty to worry about. 

But some companies are expanding and hiring like mad! These are the frontline businesses that need to ramp up workers to meet the short-term growing demand for their products and services, according to a report by Linkedin.    Here is a list of some of these growing companies:

Upwards of 51,000 Employees 

25,000 to 50,000 Employees 

  • CVS Health is hiring 50,000 employees to serve in various capacities across its business.
  • Dollar General says it’s looking to add 50,000 employees by the end of April.
  • Walmart is hiring 50,000 workers for its distribution and fulfillment centers.
  • FedEx is hiring 35,000 people for essential roles.
  • Allied Universal is hiring more than 30,000 people for open positions.
  • Ace Hardware is hiring 30,000 people to work in its stores nationwide.
  • Pizza Hut is hiring 30,000 permanent employees to serve as drivers, shift leaders, cooks and managers.
  • Lowe’s is hiring 30,000 employees
  • Dollar Tree, which is also the parent company of Family Dollar, is hiring 25,000 workers for its stores and distribution centers.
  • Walgreens is hiring 25,000 employees for permanent and temporary roles.

10,000 to 20,000 Employees 

400 to  9,999 employees 

  •  Office Depot is hiring up to 8,000 people to be seasonal retail        associates.
  • PepsiCo says it plans to hire 6,000 employees over the coming months.
  • AdventHealth is hiring more than 5,000 people to fill open roles.
  • TNG Retail Services is looking to hire 5,000 people for hourly roles.
  • Amwell is hiring people to fill 5,000 positions across the country.
  • Nestle USA is hiring more than 5,000 people.
  • Lockheed Martin is hiring more than 5,000 people to fill open positions.
  • Tractor Supply Company is hiring more than 5,000 people at its stores and distribution centers.
  • Rite Aid is hiring 5,000 people to work in their stores and distribution centers.
  • Big Lots is hiring 5,000 people to help meet increased demand.
  • Outschool is looking to hire 5,000 teachers to start offering online classes.
  • Providence St Josephs is hiring people for more than 3,000 positions.
  • Bon Secours Mercy Health is hiring nearly 3,000 people for open positions.
  • United Wholesale Mortgage plans to hire 2,500 people over the coming months.
  • Addus HomeCare is hiring people for 2,400 open roles.
  • CommonSpirit Health is hiring for more than 2,200 positions.
  • Mercy is seeking to hire more than 2,000 co-workers for essential health care roles.
  • Fidelity Investments plans to hire 2,000 people to fill roles, including financial consultants, licensed representatives and customer service representatives.
  • Salesforce is hiring for more than 2,000 positions.
  • Love’s Travel Centers and Country Stores is hiring more than 2,000 people to meet demand.
  • IQVIA is hiring for more than 2,000 roles.
  • Takeda, a large pharmaceutical company, is hiring for 2,000 positions.
  • Mercy Health is hiring nearly 1,900 people for open positions.
  • L3 Harris is hiring more than 1,800 people for open roles.
  • BAYADA Home Health Care is hiring more than 1,5000 people.
  • Trillium Health Partners are hiring 1,500 people for open positions.
  • Capital One is hiring for more than 1,300 roles across the U.S.
  • UCHealth is hiring people to fill more than 1,200 positions.
  • Bon Secours is hiring nearly 1,100 people for open positions.
  • Aveanna Healthcare is hiring more than 1,000 people for open roles.
  • Pruitt Health is hiring people for more than 1,000 roles.
  • Parsons Corporation is hiring more than 1,000 people for open positions.
  • Tetra Tech is hiring people in North America for 1,000 roles.
  • Better.com is hiring 1,000 employees — with a focus on hospitality employees.
  • Success Academy Charter Schools plan to fill about 1,000 full-time positions in New York City.
  • Publix Super Markets is hiring “thousands” of workers to meet increased demand.
  • Safeway is hiring thousands of workers due to the demand created by the virus.
  • Shipt is hiring “thousands” of people across the country.
  • CHRISTUS Health is hiring more than 1,000 people for open positions.
  • Regions Bank is hiring more than 900 people for open roles.
  • Philips is hiring roughly 900 people for open positions globally.
  • Ball Aerospace is hiring to fill more than 800 positions.
  • Veeva Systems is hiring people for more than 800 positions.
  • Fifth Third Bank is hiring nearly 750 people for open positions.
  • MUFG is hiring 700 people for open positions.
  • KLA is hiring workers for 700 roles.
  • Electronic Arts is hiring people to fill more than 700 roles.
  • Autodesk is looking to hire nearly 700 people for open roles.
  • Apple is hiring people for 600 roles in the U.S.
  • GoHealth is hiring 600 people for open positions.
  • Fortive is hiring 500 people for open roles.
  • New York City is hiring people for 500 non-clinical positions.
  • The CDC Foundation is hiring up to 500 people for open positions.
  • FactSet is hiring people for nearly 500 positions.
  • FirstGroup America is hiring people for 475 jobs.
  • Corizon Health is hiring more than 400 people for open roles.
  • Western Governors University is hiring more than 400 people.
  • Liberty Mutual is looking to hire more than 400 people to fill open roles.
  • DocuSign is hiring people for over 400 positions.
  • CommScope is hiring 400 people for open positions.
  • Fannie Mae is hiring 400 people for open roles.

Other Businesses that are expanding:

  • GHA Technologies
  • Cargill
  • Koch Industries
  • ServiceNow
  • The U.S. Census
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Blue Apron is looking to hire in New Jersey and California.
  • Land O’Lakes is looking to hire to meet increased demand.
  • Support.com is hiring a for remote positions.

These businesses are essential  retailers or those with strong cloud formats They include drug stores; other “Essential Retailers” (especially those that offer cheap good such as Dollar Tree), and businesses that can conduct all business remotely.

Will these firms continue their growth for the long term, or are they merely meeting new demand generated by the COVID-19 pandemic?  That’s the big question! Let us know your thoughts?  We love hearing from you!

 

 

Notes from the Underground – An Update on How We’re Doing

Are you as sick of washing your hands and your shelter-in-place roommate, husband, family, extended family as I am? I am ready to go ballistic if my husband puts one more item away that I just took out to use! We are all getting on each other’s nerves, and I don’t care how emotionally even you are (I am not!) or how much you promise yourself you will be calm, cool and collected, we are all experiencing cabin-fever and long for the days when we could go into Starbucks to get the morning cup of Joe.

Well, I have no answer for you.  Surprised?  You thought I’d give you four coping strategies.  But I have none. However, I can share some things that work for me.

 

  1. I have found that walking my dog with or without my husband, helps bring me back into the moment.  My dog, however, is tuckered and runs away when I bring out his leash.

 

  1. Playing the guitar and writing music helps. Now that is REALLY challenging when I feel completely uninspired and dried up, creatively speaking. It’s a real chore and maybe I will look back on these works someday, like you did when you wrote a poem when you were stoned and say to yourself, “what was I thinking?!”

 

  1. Writing blogs (which now seem like “Dear Diary” entries) and just simply going about the requisite chores have helped me stay sane.

 

  1. Each evening, making a list of the tasks for the next day. I never thought “order dinner from _____” (insert name of your favorite restaurant) would make it onto a to do list.  Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available).

 

  1. Also, the new-old sharing/visiting apps, ZOOM or Facetime, or Skype (does anyone use that anymore?) are actually very soothing and helpful. It is uplifting just to hear what my friends and family are experiencing, see their faces, giggle at something not really funny, or just share stories of our days.

We had an online Seder on Sunday, with many of my family members on both coasts, something we couldn’t do before because who travels cross-country for a Seder?  It was wonderful to connect with the extended family, Jewish and gentile, and drink red wine (not Manischewitz, some lovely Santa Rosa Cabernet, because, hey, it’s the local offering)

  1. We are planting our summer vegetables including tomatoes and zucchini. Have I ever done that before? Have we met? No, that’s Charley’s job, ‘cause he is from Indiana.

 

  1. Shopping online for spring and summer dresses. That might just be me, probably doesn’t help most people.  But I’ve gotten some really great stuff that fits perfectly, which doesn’t happen very often!  My favorite website for this is VICI.com.  Really airy, adorable comfortable dresses.  Retail is my vocation and avocation.

So that’s it for now.  Let us know how you are coping. Sharing is caring in this new world!  I feel better already!

What Will the World Look like in 2025? Five Things to Know for the Future

 

It’s a question on everyone’s mind.  In times of uncertainty, we look to the past, we look to the future, because we just can’t understand what’s going on right now!

In my world (and probably yours), I am working digitally.  That’s nothing new for me.  But right now, I have a profound sense of loneliness.  I miss the sights and sounds of movies, shopping, visiting with my grandkids, even going to doctor’s appointments!  I miss the gym (well maybe not too much) and I miss going out to dinner!!

In these quiet moments, I’ve been thinking about how our world will change in the next five years.  Here are five of my predictions about what we will be doing and how we will be doing it in 2025.

  1. People have short memories. That’s a good thing.  If it were not so, no one would ever have a second child!  One of my major prognostications is that the gathering spots all over the nation will be teeming with people and activity.  But it will be different.  Visitors will “keep their distance”, be more polite, and leave space for their fellows both in front and back.  This new behavior will change necessary planning factors for public assembly.  Our current “order-of-magnitude” space requirements for various entertainment and attraction venues – theme parks, movies, museums, convention/conference centers and retail spaces – are all planned this way.  We will need new numbers, and that will put pressure on the size of many of our social institutions and facilities.  This will make them bigger, and thus likely more expensive to build.

 

  1. Consumers will pivot spending from big ticket items to more affordable choices.  Theme parks and cinemas are considered recession-proof.  That’s not true, but they are much more sustainable than expensive cars, hotels, high-priced vacations and restaurants during and after a recession.

As a corollary, Millennials who are the darlings of advertisers and the future of our country’s spending, will keep on the same consumption track, preferring experiences to things. But the experiences will be closer to home and without as much adventure as before.

These Millennial consumers are:

    •  Born between 1980 – 1994
    • Number 72 Million
    • Ages: 25-39
    • Forming Families Now
    • 29% of Adults in the U.S.
    • Ethnically Diverse
    • Tech Savvy
    • Multi-Taskers
    • Prefer Experiences to Things (So important to keep in mind for retailers!)
    • Prefer Health to Wealth
    • Prefer Mobile/Digital Communication
    • Responsible for $14 billion in consumption expenditure

More fascinating though is the amount spent by Generation X, those consumers born from 1965 to 1980, and aged 40 to 55.  These are the most prolific spenders, accounting for $24 billion in annual expenditure.  Why we aren’t planning for and paying more attention to these mid-life consumers is beyond my understanding!  (In fact, a comparison of the average annual expenditure on Entertainment by cohort shows GenXers spending $3,231 per household, followed by Boomers at $3,286 per household and finally the younger Millennial Generation at $2,186 per household.  Average for the nation is about $2,800.)

These expenditures will likely be at the same in 2025 as they are today.  But smart owners and developers will target the groups that spend the most.

  1. New entertainment-infused projects that continue planning and development during this relatively short period of confinement will come out on top. These projects will be first to market.  If planners/owners develop well thought out, well designed, well executed projects with rational business plans, they will reap the benefits of a surge in demand immediately following the downturn and thereafter.

 

  1. Cultural entities such as museums and live theaters will present content that is relevant, easily understood and fundable. They will likely lag behind the uptick in commercial entertainment activity.  This is because spending for nonprofit activities are seen as more discretionary than other forms of entertainment.  In fact, for the past 20 years, expenditures on cultural attractions have been slipping. Why?  Baby Boomer parents did not do a good job of educating their children on the value of theater and art.  That’s the number one factor in propensity to spend on the arts:  exposure as a child.  Our institutions will reflect the society and cultural needs of a diverse population.  Many of our older institutions were born in a homogeneous America that no longer exists.

 

  1. We will return to a simpler time, albeit with sophisticated tech all around us. Everything old will become new. Consumption of just plain fun with some silliness will be the norm!

While living abroad for a year, I experienced this uncomplicated world that offered          simpler and enduring fun.

I went to the mountains with my friends:

I attended Oktoberfest in Munich:

I attended  opera at La Scala and the Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze. I went to formal            dances:

And I lightened up, became a kid again, upped my joie de vivre:

What are your thoughts about the world after Covid-19?  Write us and let us know.  We want to keep connecting with our friends during this time.

It’s Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Sum-Summertime!

This is our first article in a series of three regarding the fun summer unfolding and the way we will spend it.  To make it more interesting, we’ve divided our expected spending and behavior patters by the major spending generation.  Baby Boomers are now 55 to 73 years of age.  Gen X is 40 to 54.  Millennials, our largest group are now 24 to 38.

With summer-time upon us, the travel season is hitting the peak.  Consumers are hitting the roads and taking to the skies in droves in order to do everything from working, to visiting family, and even just taking the time to do something as simple as creating a memorable and educational experience.  With schools out for the summer, many families are taking summertime as the usual opportunity to create multi-generational memories.  And with Atlanta being the busiest airport in the world, with more passengers coming through per day than any other airport (and Chicago a close second), Atlanta is perfectly situated not just for domestic travel, but for international travel as well.

So who is traveling and where are they going?  We gathered up some interesting statistics from current studies to give you a glimpse of who might be coming to your neck of the woods and what they might be doing when they get there.  According to a survey by AARP taken in 2018 of more than 1,700 American travelers, we get a pretty good idea of where the three main groups  are going and why in the table below.

Base:  International and Domestic Trips in 2018: 
Data based on Total Responses, up to 5 trips discussed 
n = base number of responses; pink indicates most popular selections. 
Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report 
and JB Research Company

Millennials are traveling more than other generational groups, and they are taking more celebration vacations.  They are enjoying multi-generational trips, which is important because family size and expenditures are necessarily higher.  Baby Boomers also are planning multi-generational trips.  Gen X takes the most weekend getaways.

The primary mode of transportation for domestic and international travel are: plane (66% domestic & 87% international), cruises (5% domestic & 35% international), train (6% domestic & 16% international), rental car (24% domestic & 14% international), personal car (60% domestic & 13% international), and buses (2% domestic & 10% international) (AARP).

According to the same  survey, here is a more detailed look at why the three main demographic groups choose to travel in 2018:

Base:  International and Domestic Trips in 2018: Data based on 
Total Responses, up to 5 trips discussed

n = base number of responses; pink indicates most popular 
selections.

Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report 
and JB Research Company

Other reasons the three groups choose to travel are visiting family and friends, rejuvenating, and getting away from a busy life:

Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report

Many in each of these groups will choose not to travel this summer, with cost being the main impediment, as shown below:

Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report

Source:  AARP “Travel Research: 2018 Travel Trends” Report

All three generations plan to spend spend significantly more in 2018 than 2017, with Millennials planning to spend the most on vacations.

As suppliers of retail, dining and entertainment experiences, we should take note of these trends and make this the best and most profitable  year ever!

Sources:

 

THE POWER OF GLOBAL GENDER PARITY

I am just back from ICSC.  Besides much discussion of the demise or denial of the demise of  bricks and mortar shopping opportunities, I saw a presentation about this “Gender Parity” study completed by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).  Take a look!

Click Picture to Download Report

“Narrowing the global gender gap in work would not only be equitable in the broadest sense but could double the contribution of women to global GDP growth between 2014 and 2025. Delivering that impact, however, will require tackling gender equality in society.

“MGI has mapped 15 gender equality indicators for 95 countries and finds that 40 of them have high or extremely high levels of gender inequality on at least half of the indicators. The indicators fall into four categories: equality in work, essential services and enablers of economic opportunity, legal protection and political voice, and physical security and autonomy.  We consider a “full-potential” scenario in which women participate in the economy identically to men, and find that it would add up to $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to annual global GDP in 2025 compared with a business-as-usual scenario. This impact is roughly equivalent to the size of the combined US and Chinese economies today. We also analyzed an alternative “best-in-region” scenario in which all countries match the rate of improvement of the best-performing country in their region. This would add as much as $12 trillion in annual 2025 GDP, equivalent in size to the current GDP of Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined, or twice the likely growth in global GDP contributed by female workers between 2014 and 2025 in a business-as-usual scenario.

“Both advanced and developing countries stand to gain. In 46 of the 95 countries analyzed, the best in-region outcome could increase annual GDP in 2025 by more than 10 percent over the business as-usual case, with the highest relative boost in India and Latin America.

“MGI’s new Gender Parity Score, or GPS, measures the distance each country has traveled toward gender parity, which is set at 1.00. The regional GPS is lowest in South Asia (excluding India) at 0.44 and highest in North America and Oceania at 0.74. Using the GPS, MGI has established a strong link between gender equality in society, attitudes and beliefs about the role of women, and gender equality in work. The latter is not achievable without the former two elements. We found virtually no countries with high gender equality in society but low gender equality in work. Economic development enables countries to close gender gaps, but progress in four areas in particular— education level, financial and digital inclusion, legal protection, and unpaid care work—could help accelerate progress.

“MGI has identified ten “impact zones” (issue-region combinations) where effective action would move more than 75 percent of women affected by gender inequality globally closer to parity. The global impact zones are blocked economic potential, time spent in unpaid care work, fewer legal rights, political underrepresentation, and violence against women, globally pervasive issues. The regional impact zones are low labor-force participation in quality jobs, low maternal and reproductive health, unequal education levels, financial and digital exclusion, and girl-child vulnerability, concentrated in certain regions of the world.

“Six types of intervention are necessary to bridge the gender gap: financial incentives and support; technology and infrastructure; the creation of economic opportunity; capability building; advocacy and shaping attitudes; and laws, policies, and regulations. We identify some 75 potential interventions that could be evaluated and tailored to suit the social and economic context of each impact zone and country.

“Tackling gender inequality will require change within businesses as well as new coalitions. The private sector will need to play a more active role in concert with governments and non-governmental organizations—and companies could benefit both directly and indirectly by taking action.”

http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth

 

The Best Job I Ever Had

Oscar Museum 2

Ten years ago, in about 2004, I got a call from a prospective client, a newly hired director of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences museum project, asking if I would be interested in conducting some market research for a new attraction/museum themed on the Academy Awards.

Would I Ever!!!

I had been the one lucky enough to do the work for the Dolby Theater at Hollywood & Highland where the ceremony takes place, so it seemed a good fit and logical that I continue on to do the museum feasibility.  But my joy, my heart, for Hollywood, no one knew that!

No One Had Ever Known That:

  • My family had always been in the entertainment business, with my father involved on the business side, having been a pioneer in the cable television industry.
  • My aunt always working for this or that movie star as an executive assistant.
  • I was lucky enough to visit the back-lot of 20th Century Fox before it was Century City!
  • I spent countless hours watching movies being filmed, then sitting in theaters watching them roll by me on the big screen.

Would I be interested?  Heck, yea!!

Since that time, I have been the consultant called upon to do the background market research, analysis and financial projections for the site selection, sizing and operation of museum.

I learned a thing or two during those years like:

  • I gained a deep knowledge of large museums and what keeps them thriving.
  • How an endowment can shrink during a deflation.
  • Money earmarked to never-be-touched has a way of disappearing in hard times.
  • I learned about the conundrum of keeping things fresh so that resident visitors will keep returning, time and again.

I am thankful that my job always changes and that I always learn, no matter the engagement.

Picture of Oscar 2Over the years, we have wrestled with all the issues associated with new development including disagreements about what it should look like, what its mission should be, where it should be sited, who is its targeted audience (please, don’t say everyone!), and what’s the best way to keep the project on-time and on-budget.  To be clear, these issues are complex and are made more difficult when there are many masters to serve.  Still, when the project is to reflect the points of view, hopes, dreams, and legacies of America’s most important cultural export, (which I believe is cinema) there must be the most careful consideration to each one.

This was my best job ever.  Write and tell me about yours in the comments below.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Rockefeller_Center_christmas_tree

If you are like most Americans, you feel better this year, but there is still a nagging doubt in the back of your mind, “is this as good as it gets?”  True, the economy has picked up, spending is up, the recession is no more, but we are still feeling the pinch.  How shall we shop for Christmas this year?

duluthsnow-w_AQBL

We did some digging to find out how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

The following figures provide some context for the economic growth since before the recession until after, with per capita GDP not yet recovered to pre-2008 levels:

united-states-gdp-per-capita

The gross domestic product increased from $13.3 trillion in 2007 to $15.1 trillion in 2012.

united-states-gdp 06-12

GAFO retail sales seem to be slowly recovering from the recession, and consumers are spending again.  Consumer confidence is back up to about 73 percent of what it was in 2006, but spending at shopping centers is ACTUALLY DOWN in real constant dollars (adjusted for inflation):

united-states-consumer-confidence 08-12

GAFO retail sales in the nation increased from $968 billion in 2002 to $1,032 billion in 2010,  for a compound average growth rate of 1.1 percent.  However, from 2007 to 2010, compound average growth was  -.03 percent nationally.

As everyone knows, brick-and-mortar stores are in competition with internet retailers for market share.   With the ease of shopping online in the comfort of your home or office, and the ability to compare sale prices amongst retailers, the brick-and-mortar stores have to come up with creative ways to appeal to the consumer as the better way to shop drawing them to their retail store locations.  Some retailers are offering free shipping, extended hours along with other special promotional items available only in stores.

Electronic shopping and mail order retailers suffered only a mild set back during the recession and bounded back with sales for the twelve months through February 2012 accounting for $308 billion.  The overall sales market rose 30 percent since the peak in 2008 as reported in an article, “Retail Sales Recover, Mostly, From Recession”, written in The New York Times, by Floyd Norris.

One of the biggest impacts of the recession on the retail market is the change in the behavior of shoppers.  People are bargain shopping and looking for the biggest bang for their buck.  They are more interested in products or items that are reliable and have lasting value rather than purchasing the latest gadgets.

Consumers are looking to save money where possible, which has increased on-line shopping as well as sales at discount and dollar stores such as Wal-Mart, 99 Cent stores and Target.  Not only are shoppers finding better bargains, they are saving time and money especially when factoring savings of not having to drive with high gas prices.

Target shoppers

The recession has also caused a spike in sales at thrift shops/resale stores,  as  the number of resale shops opened within the last year increased approximately seven percent.

According to comScore.Inc,  holiday retail spending over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend was estimated at $59.1 billion dollars nationally, up nearly 13 percent over last year.   Black Friday online sales exceeded $1 billion, rising 26 percent to $1.04 billion.

How do you feel this year?  Let us know if your pocketbook feels lighter or if you are back to normal.  Have we stabilized at the new normal? We are anxious to hear from you!