Principles and Profits: The Container Store Story - The Minute

Feb 23, 2015 4:30 PM ET
Multimedia with summary

Profits versus virtue: that’s the cover story of the current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. Its graphic illustration of two poles of business activity that have been historically thought of as opposing, but are increasingly looked to as complementary, define the point of the issue’s feature about the Container Store. The article reports the company’s DNA as “conscious capitalism,” a business strategy with a bottom line built on a higher purpose. By profit standards, the Container Store is doing very well. Its sales for 2014 are estimated at $790 million, with adjusted earnings of $94 million. It operates 70 stores with 5,000 employees. Principles are healthy, too. The company pays those employees an average of $48,000 a year, about twice the typical retail salary, and provides many other employee benefits.

Founder Kip Tindell has trademarked his business philosophy as “the Foundation Principles,” which include considering suppliers and customers as family. The Bloomberg story ranks the Container Store with Costco, Starbucks, Panera, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines as companies that are doing well while doing good. There’s just one catch: since the Container Store went public in 2013, its share price has dropped from $46 to $20. The story details the company’s solutions to benefit shareholders as well as stakeholders. It makes for compelling, compulsory reading.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

Video source: Principles and Profits: The Container Store Story