Foot Locker CEO Says Stores Must Act Faster in New Retail Era

Foot Locker
Foot Locker
James Gourley/Rex Shutterstock

The SAP Retail Executive Forum 2017, held Oct. 17-18 in New York, had a clear message: Retail is experiencing a “new normal.” The audience heard from key thought leaders — including Foot Locker CEO, president and chairman Dick Johnson — about how to best leverage today’s latest retail trends to enhance the customer experience.

Prior to the event, Lori Mitchell-Keller, global general manager of consumer industries at SAP, described why an event like this is vital. “Retail’s new normal is here,” she said. “It’s a time of disruption and intense competition, and we all must learn to adapt.”

It’s a peculiar time for retailers, she acknowledged, but there remains reason to be hopeful. “Retail is simply going through a period of disruption and change akin to a renaissance — not an apocalypse,” Mitchell-Keller continued. “This is the type of conversation we hope to foster during the event, continuing to prove that retail is as strong as ever and, in fact, growing.”

Mitchell-Keller expressed that it is vital to encourage this type of discussion. “Retailers are faced with a stigma that they will fail, and the simple truth is that with the right digital strategy, they can be more successful than ever,” she explained. The executive added that she hoped attendees would walk away from the event with practical insights with which to strengthen their businesses.

Of those insights, in a fireside chat featuring Foot Locker’s Johnson, the importance of maintaining both a strong in-store strategy as well as a digital one was a key discussion point. Johnson explained that it’s crucial to keep up with the pace of the consumer, and he urged the audience to stay current with that consumer wherever he or she may be — whether on a mobile app, website or in-store. “We are in the midst of a transformation,” he said.

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