Heard at The Boulders:

“This is a business about passion. It’s not about numbers. If you’re going to be in the numbers business, get out.” — Ralph Lauren

“I don’t ask my wholesale account how many units he’s going to buy. I challenge him to buy less and shoot for 70 to 80 percent sell-throughs. How can you have a profitable business with 40 percent sell-throughs?” — Richard Cohen, Zegna

“Today’s product lead times are 40 percent less than they were five to 10 years ago, and in five to 10 years they will be half that.” — David Cole, Kurt Salmon Associates

“It’s a cute jingle [The Softer Side of Sears], but we’re getting a little sick of it.” — Meg Rist, Sears, Roebuck

“We department store retailers must own up to the fact that we have created undue pressure on the manufacturers to give value via price promotions.” — Michael Gould, Bloomingdale’s

“If you aim at the average consumer, your business will be average. Better to be loved by 10 percent than kind of liked by everybody.” — William Green, VF Corp.

“People don’t go into stores to be serviced first, but to buy something.” — Ron Frasch, GFT

“I’m loath to listen to consumers because what they say is not what they do.” — Carl Steidtmann, Management Horizons

“This problem won’t be solved until manufacturers and retailers agree that this is not a particularly profitable way to do business.” — Marvin Traub, on chargebacks

“Transactions are not enough; relationships are everything.” — Jack Mitchell, Mitchells of Westport

“A lot of buyers today are order-takers, just selling the same proven people. It’s more about real estate than picking the best items. Most stores look the same, with no point of view or focus.” — Gene Pressman, Barneys

“What disease do you get when you do too much market research? Kurt Salmonella.” — Nick Graham, Joe Boxer

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