Looking Back To See What’s Ahead

Can you believe another year is almost over?

That means it is time for the special HomeWorld Business Year In Review edition (December 16).

Our editors recap the people, products, transactions, trends and other retail and industry developments that helped write the HomeWorld headlines in 2019.

At a time when looking back even for a brief moment can leave you perilously behind the leaders in this fast-changing marketplace, perhaps it’s better to view this year-in-review edition as a map of what lies ahead to help you chart a course for 2020 and beyond.

The Business Continuum

We’re in as fluid a business cycle as there ever has been. Traditional schedules that once regulated the flow of products from factory to supplier to retailer to consumer have been obliterated.

Yes, retailers and suppliers await eagerly for those all-important holiday sales tallies to tell them whether the outgoing year has been a success or a disappointment. But you don’t really get a clean start on January 1 in the continuum that is today’s never-pausing, omnichannel retailing battleground.

Each product launch, each marketing campaign, each technology integration, each acquisition, each promotion and each retailing initiative covered on page and online by HomeWorld Business this year is just another point along that continuum.

Uncertain News

It was a year, for example, during which tariffs dominated the housewares retailing news cycle. The troubling uncertainty surrounding tariffs (with no resolution as I write this) more likely will accelerate into the new year, making even bigger news as consumers face more direct hits.

It was a year that saw a seemingly unprecedented array of chief executive changes among big retailers and housewares companies. But the news making has only begun as these business leaders execute during what could be a make-or-break 2020 for many.

It was a year of continued store closings for many traditional retailers, many hoping to blend the right size with the right plan to propel them into 2020.

It was also a year when many retailers and suppliers realized transformations planted a few years earlier had taken root, promising to bear fruit perhaps for years to come.

Creative Solutions

And it was a year when the home and housewares industry stared down pressure yet again to produce a bounty of creative new solutions, demonstrating its resolve, as it does year after year, as a responsive resource for the preferred lifestyles and experiences of an evolving, demanding consumer.

Take a moment, if you will, to reflect on the matters that made HomeWorld headlines in 2019. Then look ahead. And let this special year-end retrospective be a guide to what could make news in 2020.

Happy New Year.

Believe it or not, it will be over sooner than you think.