2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

retail watch

Men's Wearhouse Ends Takeover Saga By Buying Jos. A. Bank for $1.8 Billion

Posted by Dale Buss on March 12, 2014 05:37 PM

America's two big mainstream men's apparel brands finally found a fit with each other after several months of wrangling over whether they would get together and which would be in control if they did.

Men's Wearhouse finally agreed to acquire the smaller Jos. A. Bank for $1.8 billion by paying $65 in cash. The deal ends a months-long saga that often seemed to have a foregone conclusion as the brands operated in a mature market where economies of scale can make an existential difference.

The merger will create America's fourth-largest seller of men's apparel, with annual sales of abaout $3.5 billion. Men's Wearhouse said it would close stores duplicated in the same malls and take other measure to save more than $100 million a year for three years after the deal.Continue reading...

retail watch

Struggling A&F Tries to Rescue Sister Brand Hollister as Sales, Consumers Slip Away

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 7, 2014 04:43 PM

Abercrombie & Fitch, besieged by a slump in sales and increased competition, is revamping its teenage sister brand Hollister to make it more suitable for the fast-fashion trend set by the likes of Zara, H&M and Forever 21. 

Arthur Martinez, Abercrombie's new chairman, is looking for a new president with fast-fashion experience while working on streamlining its supply chain and shuttering between 60 and 70 US stores this year. 

Once dominant in the teen market, A&F has lost its cool among younger shoppers who’ve lost interest in “clothes emblazoned with chains' logos and now see fashion as more disposable," according to the Wall Street Journal. A&F's PR scandal, stemming from unsightley comments from former chairman and CEO Mike Jeffries didn't help the struggling brand's image either. Abercrombie shares fell nearly a third last year and are still falling.Continue reading...

retail watch

Safeway, Albertson's Combine to Take On Fast-Changing Grocery Industry

Posted by Dale Buss on March 7, 2014 03:20 PM

Cerberus is buying Safeway and blending it in with the Albertson's supermarket chain it already owns. But the transaction seems more like the end of an era rather than the beginning.

That's because the intended $9 billion merger of Albertson's and Safeway will be a play meant largely to shore up the combined operations defensively against sea changes that have been sweeping the food-retailing business that simply don't favor traditional chains such as the two that Cerberus will own.

The rise of grocery availability at Walmart, Target and other discounters; the spread of dry goods through drug stores and dollar stores and other new formats; the rising popularity of Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and their organic, natural, locally-produced and private-label ethos; the fact that online CPG sales finally seem to be gaining traction; and the strength of club stores in the grocery trade—all are conspiring against the merger of two of the long-time giants of the business.Continue reading...

retail watch

Staples Plans to Shut Stores to Catch Up with Migration to E-Commerce

Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2014 03:42 PM

Is it only online sales? Dwindling incidence of printing from the computer? Or are the winter weather, slow-growth economy, and dollar stores also to blame for the fact that Staples has become the second major chain this week to announce a mass closing of stores.

The nation's largest office-supply company, one that helped remake the face of American retailing a generation ago into a collection of "big boxes," said it's going to close more than 10 percent of its North American stores by the end of next year, up to 225 of them, as part of a plan to save about $500 million a year.

The reason cited is that nearly half of Staples' sales now are online, both to businesses and consumers, and it must adjust. "This is essential," Staples CEO Ron Sargent told analysts, according to the Associated Press in describing his plan to "fundamentally reinvent" Staples.Continue reading...

retail watch

New Image Fails to Boost Floundering RadioShack

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 4, 2014 12:52 PM

RadioShack Joe Magnacca has pulled every rabbit out of the retailer's tattered hat. The embattled electronics brand has shuffled executives, changed its logo, redesigned its stores, and even had one of the most popular Super Bowl commercials. 

But to no avail. RadioShack has continued its downward spiral and has announced with its fourth quarter earnings that it will close 1,100 of its retail locations after reporting dismal fourth-quarter numbers. 

Sales during the prime holiday-season were $935.4 million, down from the $1.17 billion made in the same quarter a year earlier and significantly lower than the $1.12 billion analysts, on average, were looking for, Reuters reports.

Stores that had been open for at least a year saw sales fall 19 percent. In 2012’s fourth quarter, the company’s net loss had been $63.3 million. This time, it was $191.4 million. The news inspired the company’s stock to drop almost 24 percent.Continue reading...

retail watch

Could Drexler and Yanai Make J.Crew the Middle Man in Fast Retailing's Empire?

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...

retail watch

The Sun Will Rise Again Over JCPenney as Retailer Reports Promising Numbers

Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2014 06:42 PM

Could it be that JCPenney finally has bottomed out after nearly a year of reversing course and going back to the future? The brand said it expects same-store sales to increase about 3 to 5 percent during the current quarter as it also today posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the fiscal fourth quarter.

Early readings on the recovering retailer's performance during the fourth quarter were colored with worry that CEO Myron Ullman wasn't reaping enough benefits, quickly enough, from his deconstruction of the radical changes that had been made to the traditional middle-market brand by predecessor Ron Johnson in 2012.

But today Ullman was able to say—with real numbers to back him up—that JCPenney might just have turned the corner. One number alone might have been enough to cheer investors and JCPenney employees alike: The chain actually reported a profit for the fourth quarter, of $35 million, after year-earlier losses of $552 million, and after experiencing two years in which CEOs were slashing jobs and expectations as the brand at times seemed to be in free fall.Continue reading...

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Target Tussles with P&G Over Amazon Tie-Up as Black Eye from Breach Remains

Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2014 01:57 PM

Apparently two giant retail brands can play the game that P&G has started by cozying up to Amazon. Target reportedly dissed P&G brands in its stores after word got out that the CPG giant had been allowing Amazon to set up shop inside its warehouses.

Target certainly has enough on its plate these days, having just reported a 40 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit compared with a year earlier after being hit by both the massive holiday season data breach and its inability to gain the expected traction in its invasion of the Canadian market.

"Results softened meaningfully following our December announcement of a data breach," Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement, which also noted that fourth-quarter results were "better than expected" before news of the breach.Continue reading...

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