How data deceives

Averages, ratios and indices can easily lead you to false conclusions, says this retail veteran and author.

by Ian Shepherd

"Our customers visit us on average 2.3 times a month..." "This product over-indexes with older customers..." "We hold 10 days’ worth of stock in our stores..."

Sit in any management meeting and you’ll hear statements like those thrown around about every conceivable topic – customers, financial results, operational performance and more.

It is very easy to move on from these observations and start the strategic discussions that they seem to invite. How can we increase that visit frequency, turn our stock more quickly and so on?

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