Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2014 10:42 AM
Hoping to capitalize on the chain's success even as competing retailers falter, Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing is reportedly in talks to buy preppy clothier J.Crew. Could J.Crew become the missing jewel in Fast Retailing's bid to become the globe's biggest retailer?
Just last week there were rumors that J.Crew was planning its second IPO as a way to gain access to funds for expansion. CEO Mickey Drexler and creative head Jenna Lyons have turned the brand around over the last decade, making the mid-priced brand extremely attractive to Fast Retailing, which hopes to take advantage of J.Crew's accomplishments and build on them even as some iconic competitors, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, struggle with the finicky retailing scene.
But just because the retailer has managed some success doesn't mean it came easy. The inveterate micro-manager has admitted that J.Crew recently has "strayed too far" from the brand's core styling motif and that the company's recent opening in the UK was "tricky."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 28, 2014 06:39 PM
If the reaction to Apple's latest earnings call says anything, it's that the personal-tech bar has been set astronomically high.
After setting new quarterly sales records for iPhone and iPad in Q1 2014, and clocking sales figures of over $57.5 billion, Apple's stock proceded to fall almost 9 percent in after-hours trading on Monday.
While the report was generally positive compared to 'normal' standards, it apparently wasn't positive enough for investors, who said sales of the company's flagship iPhones fell short of expectations, despite the fact that the company sold 51 million iPhone5S and 5C models in Q3, up from 47.8 million a year earlier. With the first-time, simultaneous launch of the smartphones in the US, Western Europe and China markets, analysts were hoping to see around 57 million handsets sold.
And then there's that word again, "innovation." The charge to innovate, which has followed the brand around for nearly the last two years as it seemingly trudged through a product slump, has come up again, with anaylsts claiming that the reigning Best Global Brand must innovate again to get investors excited and to regain consumer mindshare.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 22, 2013 11:15 AM
Apple will soon begin building Steve Job’s visionary "spaceship" campus as the Cupertino, Calif. City Council unanimously approved building plans last week.
"Steve transformed Apple into one of the most innovative companies in the world and we understand the responsibilities that come from carrying his legacy forward with this project," Dan Whisenhunt, Apple's head of real estate and facilities told the Council. "We've designed it with the same care and attention to detail as we do with all Apple products."
The 2.8 million-square-foot circular headquarters, due to be completed by 2016, will have four floors, an exterior made almost entirely of curved glass, and enough space for 14,200 employees, close to three times the number previously working on the site.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 18, 2013 02:58 PM
Maybe Steve Jobs was even more of a seer than people think. It was Jobs who had the vision to shape Apple into an upscale consumer brand that, in many ways, set the standard for both technology and design. In fact, Apple has become truly fashionable and a luxury/premium brand in its own right. Witness the apparent rejection of Apple's lower-end iPhone 5c by consumers.
The just-announced addition of Angela Ahrendts, the American CEO of British luxury brand Burberry, to Apple's senior management team in a move that will occur next year, may well be the exclamation point on Apple's evolution. Ahrendts will bring a deep understanding of the marriage between fashion and technology to her role. She also will bring the shine of a luxury brand that has been a fashion and digital innovator under her guidance, and another invaluable asset: her ability to turn around Burberry's business in Asia and particularly China, a market Apple craves.
For Ahrendts, who as the new SVP of retail and online stores becomes the first woman in Apple's upper echelon, it's an intriguing career move. Could it be that she stepped down to eventually step up? Business Insider speculates that "if Ahrendts fits into Apple's culture and does an excellent job running its retail business, she probably has a good chance to become the company's next CEO."
From Apple's perspective, says Gartner Research analyst Carolina Milanesi in a Computerworld interview, it's all about the brand: "I think Apple looked at Burberry and the challenges they had in the market, and saw her as the one that brought back that aspirational brand, and then grew it in places like China, Korea, and elsewhere. Those speak to the challenges Apple is having. Like Burberry, Apple has to deal with the fact that its brand is everywhere because of the iPhone, but they cannot run the risk that the brand is seen as cheap."Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 27, 2013 03:49 PM
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: China's upcoming car problem… iPhone's "local boss" model is a success… stunts to sell property… Jolin's Swarovski music video… Liu Wen for Coach… Puma's unwanted endorsement… $40K of Barbies… bribery charges for everyone!… Bimbo's old bread… BA's panda plane... and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 29, 2013 05:37 PM
Call it The Tesla Effect: a strange pack mentality that is said to have overtaken traditional automakers that don't offer an extravagantly expensive all-electric vehicle, weren't founded by a modern super-successful serial entrepreneur, don't dare the federal government to make crash tests harder and can't find a way to send supposedly rational investors into an Apple-like buying frenzy.
It has become a phenomenon. When Tesla's market valuation surged past the $20 billion mark this week, pundits began asking whether the EV maker had passed into some kind of new vertical that is perceived by investors as more related to the sexy high-tech industry than the mundane abode of auto companies. Why, not only was that assigned value more than that of Chrysler, it was almost half the value of GM and one-third that of Ford, USA Today noted.
"Tesla doesn't reflect the traditional automaker stock evaluation for the same reason that Amazon.com isn't valued in the same way as a traditional book seller," Andrea James, an analyst in Minneapolis, told the newspaper.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 29, 2013 01:26 PM
Steve Jobs would likely be pleased that his forthcoming biopic is getting the royal social media treatment.
The film, which stars Ashton Kutcher, has released three Instagram trailers, one movie poster and now an official website fit for additional promotion and social reblogging.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 24, 2013 12:10 PM
Procter & Gamble's board is hoping that A.G. Lafley can pull a Steve Jobs and return to the helm of the CPG giant to make vast improvements, quickly.
Lafley is abruptly coming back to the CEO post from which he retired in 2010 after 33 years, this time to replace the soon-to-depart Bob McDonald, according to a P&G press release. Yet there will be enormous pressure on Lafley from the start to demonstrate that such a move—uncharacteristic of the conservative culture at P&G—was justified.
The changing of the guard, which will see McDonald formally exit on June 30 while Lafley returns as Chairman, President and CEO "effective immediately," surprised most P&G investors and employees, especially as the bombshell dropped before the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S. But perhaps it became inevitable when McDonald, after improving the company's financial and market performance for a while last fiscal year, stumbled in late April by reporting weak sales growth, following on a tumultuous year for the company and its embattled leader.
During his four years at the top, P&G had lost a step to rivals such as Unilever in terms of market share and profitability. Despite the fact that McDonald had launched the popular Tide Pods product line, a $10-billion cost-cutting program and had managed to improve P&G's position a bit during the second half of 2012, he couldn't do enough, quickly enough.Continue reading...