In de 1995 letter to shareholders bespreekt goeroe een erg populaire sector, retailing:
" Retailing is a tough business. During my investment career, I have watched a large number of retailers enjoy terrific growth
and superb returns on equity for a period, and then suddenly nosedive, often all the way into bankruptcy. This shooting-star phenomenon is far more common in retailing than it is in manufacturing or service businesses. In part, this is because a retailer must stay smart, day after day. Your competitor is always copying and then topping whatever you do. Shoppers are meanwhile beckoned in every conceivable way to try a stream of new merchants. In retailing, to coast is to fail. In contrast to this have-to-be-smart-every-day business, there is what I call the have-to-be-smart-once business. For example, if you were smart enough to buy a network TV station very early in the game, you could put in a shiftless and backward nephew to run things, and the business would still do well for decades. You'd do far better, of course, if you put in Tom Murphy, but you could stay comfortably in the black without him. For a retailer, hiring that nephew would be an express ticket to bankruptcy. The two retailing businesses we purchased this year are blessed with terrific managers who love to compete and have done so successfully for decades. Like the CEOs of our other operating units, they will operate autonomously: We want them to feel that the businesses they run are theirs. This means no second-guessing by Charlie and me. We avoid the attitude of the alumnus whose message to the football coach is "I'm 100% with you - win or tie." Our basic goal as an owner is to behave with our managers as we like our owners to behave with us. As we add more operations, I'm sometimes asked how many people I can handle reporting to me. My answer to that is simple: If I have one person reporting to me and he is a lemon, that's one too many, and if I have managers like those we now have, the number can be almost unlimited."
Duidelijk genoeg, al overweeg ik wel eens om enkele retailers te groeperen- Walter Schloss gewijs (2 van elke soort) - en zo een eigen retail-fonds uit te bouwen, en de individuele posities in de loop der jaren oppikken na een slecht rapport of zo, niet tegelijkertijd.
Coach (nu sukkelend) & Michael Kors (hype, shooting for the stars)
Tesco (nog meer sukkelend) & ??? (Ahold misschien?)
Bijou Brigitte (wankel) & Tiffany's (on a roll)
De wegwerp-kledij van Primark (via LON:ABF) en het omgekeerde: LVMH of Richemont
Doch momenteel moet er niks gekocht worden, en dus geen nood aan volledig nieuwe posities. Huiswerk maken, dat wel.