Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
In the New Yorker style issue, finance writer James Surowiecki looks at why Uniqlo has done so well. The trick, he says, is staffing—something Uniqlo takes seriously. When the Fifth Avenue flagship opened last fall, Uniqlo hired 650 people, 400 of whom are supposed to be working in-store at any given moment. Meanwhile, in LA, would-be managers get sent to Japan for a six-month training course.
This results in higher labor costs, of course, but it Surowiecki says it pays off. Other stores that follow the same model include Costco and Trader Joe's, who report more sales per employee than stores with smaller hiring budgets. Still not convinced? Consider the sad tale of Circuit City. In 2007, the electronics chain replaced over 3000 of its experienced employees with lower-paid newcomers. Shoppers resented the drop in customer service, and before long, the entire company was bankrupt.
· The More the Merrier [The New Yorker]
· Breaking: Uniqlo Staffing Up for LA Opening [Racked LA]