From the Editor: Weathering the Storm

As disruptions of life and business take hold, we must keep an eye on the long game.
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Posted March 23, 2020

When I initially began thinking about what to write about in my “From the Editor” column this month, it seemed clear that I’d share my thoughts on the EuroShop show. At that time, the VMSD team was preparing to attend the massive triennial trade show in Düsseldorf, and my thoughts were on making the most of show, covering as much ground as we could in the four short days that we knew from experience would go much too quickly.

Yes, we were aware of the new virus emerging in China, but it seemed far away and mysterious and despite the cancellations of some Asian exhibitors and attendees, we felt safe. As we walked the aisles, often running into colleagues we hadn’t seen since the last time the show was staged, many of us dismissed the signs advising visitors to forgo handshakes in favor of elbow bumps.

One month later and the world is very different. As I write this, a national state of emergency has been declared in the U.S. and many businesses, among them retailers, have temporarily closed their doors in an attempt to keep workers and customers safe.

To say these are uncertain times is to state the obvious. Our global economy has virtually ground to a halt; the trade deals that tie us together mean we will all feel the domino effect this pandemic has created beyond the borders of any single country. The strength of the global supply chain is being tested as consumers rush out to purchase essentials.

As is the case during any crisis, transparency and communication are vital to survival. Whether your brand closes its stores or opts to keep them open, whether you’re able to work from home or are in an essential role that requires your presence, we all share a common challenge to weather this storm, trust in the temporary nature of this time of extreme difficulty and drive our economy beyond the short term into recovery and eventual resurgence.