retail watch

Urban Outfitters Tries to Think Big After Getting Lost in Fast-Fashion Frenzy

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 11, 2014 11:41 AM

Urban Outfitters is having an Abercrombie moment. The hip retailer is losing brand appeal as young consumers flock to fast-fashion rivals like H&M and Forever 21 where cheap clothes and product refreshes abound. 

"Clearly, there is still much work to be done for Urban to regain its fashion footing," said Richard Hayne, Founder and CEO, according to the Philadephia Inquirer. "We believe there is no fundamental structural changes in the young-adult market. There are, of course, fashion changes, and the success of each brand depends on the accuracy with which it predicts those changes."

After five consecutive quarters of sales slippage, Urban, the flagship brand in a retail family that includes Anthropologie and Free People, is now second to Anthropologie in sales—$295.8 million in net sales compared with $277.7 million—in the latest quarter.

Free People saw a 30 percent uptick in sales last quarter, prompting brand president Meg Hayne to comment, "We are working on a look and a voice that is unique to Urban Outfitter. And it goes above and beyond the product. We are focused on our customers' lifestyle and life stage ... we are really going after looks from head to toe."Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Uber Taps AMEX, Burberry Wraps Up, Sony at E3 and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 10, 2014 09:03 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

American Express partners with Uber, whose $18 billion valuation parsed by the New York Times.

Burberry features Cara Delevigne and Suki Waterhouse in new Autumn/Winter 2014 campaign.

GLAAD picks nine best brand campaigns for LGBT Pride month.

PayPal president moves to Facebook to lead messaging as new photo-messaging app revealed.

Sony reveals Playstation TV at E3.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Abercrombie & Fitch names new president as part of brand revamp.

Apple, moving creative in-house, reportedly aims to build 1,000-member team.

AT&T settles suit over refusal to carry Al Jazeera on U-verse.

Buick finds traction with Vine/YouTube project.

H&M online lookbook can be remixed like a music playlist.

HP takes a page from gaming in new high-end computing line.

Mariah Carey launches Butterfly, a social network and beverage brand.Continue reading...

retail watch

Target Takes Aim at On-the-Go Millennials with Mobile Commerce Push

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 6, 2014 05:12 PM

Beleaguered big-box retailer Target, in efforts to rise from the ashes of a disastrous data breach that affected as many as 70 million customers, is redoubling efforts to reach out to Millennials with digital initiatives to capture dollars and mindshare on mobile.

"Target has traditionally been a store where people want to go in and feel and touch the products," Jim Porçarelli, chief strategy officer at Active International, told USA Today. "It's been a destination." But as more time-constrained consumers opt to make purchases from behind a screen, Target is tasked with reimagining its retail strategy into an omnichannel experience. 

While Target has been innovative in mobile, including its shopping companion app Cartwheel and its namsake app, both of which ranked in Internet Retailer's Top 25 mobile commerce apps list, it is behind competitors like Walmart when it comes to cross-platform experience. “It was very much a static experience," said Casey Carl, Target's president of omni-channel strategy and experiences. "It required too many clicks to get where you wanted to go."Continue reading...

luxury watch

Luxury Retailers Find Success in Broader Brand Exposure

Posted by Dale Buss on May 29, 2014 06:17 PM

A stream of new quarterly reports from luxury-goods icons including Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, Michael Kors and Estee Lauder have topped expectations and have demonstrated the persistence of a separation between how the rich and the non-rich feel and spend.

“Tiffany enjoyed a strong start to 2014,” CEO Michael Kowalski said about a 50 percent jump in first-quarter earnings and 15 percent sales growth for the jeweler, which raised its profit outlook for the rest of the year as well. It bucked the wintry weather to post a strong Valentine’s Day and enjoyed a strong trade with tourists in New York.

But perhaps what is most intriguing about Tiffany's sustained success is the proliferation of the Tiffany brand beyond luxury goods. For one, the brand has continued to increase its investment in "fashion jewelry"—items that carry its glinting brand but without as much expensive metals and precious jewels that characterize its traditional “fine jewelry.” The brand's Atlas collection was its fastest-growing of its new and expanded collections, a remarkable difference from what the brand was reporting last year, according to Quartz. 

This is part of Tiffany’s overall strategy to experiment with lower-end products as well as take care of business on the high end—a risk that, perhaps, other luxury brands such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton wouldn’t take for fear of diluting brand exclusivity. But Tiffany clearly has found success so far with this approach, satisfying traditional luxury customers and providing a gateway to the brand for the middle class consumers and tourists.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Steady as She Goes, Target Outlines Revival Strategy

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2014 05:38 PM

It's been a rough few quarters for Target, and now the third-largest US retailer is doing some spring cleaning in hopes that it will uncover a strategy to revive the once golden brand. 

After booting its CEO and head of its Canadian operations following a massive security breach and the loss of nearly $1 billion in a floundering attempt at international expansion, Target today reported its first quarter earnings. And despite a 16 percent drop in profits, the results weren't as bad as some analysts thought they'd be. 

But dealing with the breach aftermath may take a backseat as the retailer is facing a much more dire crisis that's right in its wheelhouse. Facing increasing competition from brands like H&M and Amazon, Target is being forced to reimagine its retail strategy to further focus on its online business and reacquaint the brand with value-oriented customers.  

"Target built this model: cheap chic with tons of convenience," said Josh Feldmeth, CEO of Interbrand New York, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, but "Zara and H&M are moving faster, with faster replenishment and great style."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...

china

Old Navy Debuts in China with Very American Outlook

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 4, 2014 11:53 AM

It may be prominently billing itself as "from San Francisco," but it was Los Angeles' USC Trojan marching band that performed at the March 1 opening of China's first Old Navy store.

The rainy Shanghai opening featured other bits of Americana like cheerleaders, the stars and stripes, a giant gum ball machine, Caucasian bellhops in tails, and vintage cigarette girls. A man dressed as a giant camera snapped photos of visitors under a giant scoreboard—Old Navy vs. Guest—that lit up the floor. Others handed out hundreds of shiny blue and white balloons. A fire engine red, double decker tourist bus emblazoned with the Old Navy logo sat outside the store.

Localization may be all the rage for businesses in China, but there was nothing about the Old Navy opening that was Chinese. The store's signs are all in English. In fact, Old Navy doesn't even have a Chinese name. That appears to be the brand's strategy for China, though it is likely a doomed one.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...

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