Retailer conference gives advice to beat the economy

BIRMINGHAM , AL (WBRC) - With the holiday's looming, retailers are looking for ways to beat the bad economy.    On Tuesday, they got advice from business leaders whose stores have continued to do well in spite of the economic downturn.
Mickey Newsome, CEO of Hibbett Sporting Goods spoke to the attendees.  In 2005, the company had 488 stores across the country.  Today they're up to 750 stores with 30 more to be added by next year.  As for how they reached success, Newsome says, "I'll quote Dr. A.G. Gaston.  Find a need and fill it."  Still, with a slow economy, the company has had to work hard to continue to thrive.  "So we're slowing down our store growth. But we're getting better internally and getting ready for future growth."

Experts say as the recession continues to bottom out, these folks will be getting back to basics.  "The retailers have been working with the manufacturers to make new products they can offer a little cheaper," says Dr. Bob Robicheaux, a professor at UAB's Business school.  "And they're cutting out the unnecessary features."  Robicheaux says stores will push hard for a strong fourth quarter this year, with hopes of significant strides by the middle of next year. Some business owners, like Randy Adamy says it may take a little longer.  "We probably need another year or so before people start to turn the corner."   As co-owner of O'Henry's coffees, Adamy says his stores have continued to do well by holding on to simplistic values.  "We're a conservative store, we keep an eye on the future, we have not grown fast. We're a mom and pop company."