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...
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...
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...
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...
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 Abe Sauer on February 21, 2014 12:26 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: House of Cards in China… Ai Weiwei's vase… Heineken… Hengda soccer's sponsorship windfall… Xiaomi… medical tourism and South Korea... WeChat mobile payments… 3M… Disneylands... gold fever... China loves olive oil... Sam's Club… Uniqlo and H&M… Airbus... GM... Furia... KFC's soy milk problem... and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 10, 2014 04:46 PM
Following in the steps of luxury brand Burberry, British retail giant Primark is the latest major brand to bow to Greenpeace's demands to go toxin-free, agreeing to eliminate hazardous chemicals in its products and across its production eco-system by 2020.
The High Street discount retailer is the 20th company to commit to detoxing its garments as a result of Greenpeace's global Detox campaign, and most recently, its "Little Monsters" report that found levels of toxins in childrens' product from global retail brands including Adidas, Gap, and American Apparel. Other brands, including Levi's, Zara, Mango and H&M have already commited to Greenpeace's five-step detox program.
“Primark’s commitment shows that it refuses to be left behind as toxic-free clothing becomes a fashion trend in the industry,” said Ilze Smit, Detox Campaigner at Greenpeace International in a press release. “From budget retailers like Primark, to luxury houses like Burberry, brands are helping put an end to this toxic nightmare. Laggards like adidas and Disney need to act now to stop these hazardous little monsters once and for all.”Continue reading...
The Big Game
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 2, 2014 05:47 PM
All rules are off this year as advertisers rush to preview their Super bowl ads and prime the social media engine before Sunday’s big game. And the majority of the advertisers have been seeding buzz with hashtag marketing on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and as teaser taglines in their video spots released before the game.
From Pepsi's #Halftime pre-Game campaign to Coca–Cola's #AmericaIsBeautiful, from GoDaddy's #ItsGoTime to H&M's contest asking if fans want David Beckham #covered or #uncovered during the brand's GameDay spot (a rhetorical question, surely), if you see a brand's 2014 Super Bowl messaging, it will inevitably include a hashtag. Whether consumers could identify the brands just based on the hashtags is another matter.Continue reading...