The economic crisis is fostering a consumer reset in both the level and mix of demand that will last for years to come. Retailers are on the front lines of the crisis, enduring significant near-term pain and facing challenges that their current leaders have never seen before. But with these challenges comes an opportunity to make changes that are much more difficult to implement when "it ain't broke".

This article makes a simple point: by following a handful of "rules", you can go a long way toward preserving profitability through the downturn while also strengthening your business for the long haul. It was written primarily for retailers, but it's full of ideas for any company that wants to play offense as well as defense in these difficult times.

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