Opportunity Knocking


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Nowadays, watching just a few minutes of the local nightly newscast can be enough to put a person into a full-blown depression.  Even businesses and individuals who are doing relatively well during these tough economic times largely feel that a (negative) change in their fortunes may be inevitable. But it's important not to get so wrapped up in the challenges presented by the recession that you can't also see the opportunities.

I explore this theme in this month’s cover story, entitled "5 Recession-Driven Opportunities." Based on the premise that things are tough all over, the article points out five specific areas in which healthy retailers can improve their businesses by leveraging the current state of the economy. Focusing on things like advertising, the market for commercial real estate, staffing the store, construction and remodeling, and a dwindling field of competition, the story was inspired by research that we did for earlier articles.

Since early last year, when rampant energy prices were the nation’s top concern, Pet Business cover stories have looked at common retailer concerns through the prism of a challenging economic environment. Understandably, more often than not, this meant that the articles focused heavily on the many difficulties that faced pet stores. But there was also a positive thread that ran through many of the comments that we received from the various experts that we consulted for our cover stories—and I’m not talking about the recession resistance that the pet industry has displayed thus far.

No, what I’m referring to is the fact that the recession has created a buyer’s market in just about every industry out there. This means that everyone–from contractors to sellers of advertising space to landlords–is currently offering bargains that would have seemed unthinkable even a year ago. Of course, not every retailer will be in the right financial position to take advantage of these opportunities; but retailers that have remained relatively healthy through this economic storm find themselves facing a unique opportunity to improve their businesses.

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