By  on April 22, 2011

Outside of Terry J. Lundgren’s cavernous office 13 floors above the hustle and bustle of Macy’s Herald Square flagship is nailed a silver-framed plaque with the words “Chief Customer Officer.” What could come across as a little corny is actually a daily reminder for Lundgren—whose official title is chairman, chief executive officer and president of Macy’s Inc.—of his commitment to continually improving Macy’s shopping experience as well as its bottom line. It’s a broad-sweeping vision, but Lundgren is used to painting with bold strokes. In 2005, he acquired longtime competitor May Department Stores Co. for approximately $17.3 billion. Today, Macy’s is the solid number-one retailer in terms of U.S. prestige beauty sales, and Lundgren and his executives are hard at work at bringing the buzz (and a younger customer base) back to its stores. The team recently sat down with WWD Beauty Inc’s Pete Born and Molly Prior to reveal the multipronged strategy. Read about it in “Harnessing the Might of Macy’s” on page 26.

With estimated sales of over $1 billion (versus Macy’s $23 billion-plus), flash- sale Web sites are still but a tiny piece of the retail pie. Their growth over the last four years has been supersonic, however, attracting an affluent membership base and the brands that love them. The format—in which desirable goods are sold at a discount for a limited period of time, usually 36 to 48 hours—has proved problematic for beauty, a category in which discounts are akin to heresy. In “Instant Gratification?” on page 32, I spoke to the leading sites as well as myriad industry execs for insight on how the channel might evolve for beauty.

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