Just when you thought there could not be any more to cover in the crisis at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where director Tom Campbell stepped down amid operating losses followed by revelations of a relationship with a member of the museum’s staff, along comes Boris Kachka in New York Magazine with an incisive look at the institution’s sputtering retail operations. Daniel Weiss, the acting head of the museum, is looking for a quick fix there to restart momentum:
The gift shop and restaurants, generally a source of several million dollars a year, have been losing millions recently, with revenue declining from over $72 million in 2012 to under $52 million last year. It was a management issue, and Weiss hired Will Manzer, a former executive at Perry Ellis who lists “turnaround operations” among his “core competencies,” to fix it.
Manzer is a true man of metrics, and also the only museum executive I met who wasn’t wearing a tie. […] Manzer cut the forecast losses in half over the first ten weeks, mostly by turning over inventory, decluttering, and adding signs to direct customers, and says he’s on track to convert a $3.4 million loss into a $500,000 profit. Those were the easy fixes.
Kachka goes on to describe merchandising that looks fresh and appealing, including a bag with the Marsden Hartley image above emblazoned on it.
Manzer sees no reason to believe these improvements won’t eventually get total retail revenue up to $150 million, with profit margins of at least 8 percent. If those margins went up a little more, to 10 percent, that would mean a profit of $15 million — this year’s deficit.
With Rumors, Scandal, and Budget Issues, What Broke the Met? (Vulture/NYMag)