J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s $163 million first-quarter loss might have signaled a rockier path forward for the chain than some anticipated, but chief executive officer Ron Johnson’s turnaround plan continues to drive the retail conversation.
“People say that J.C. Penney has stolen our mojo because their ads look like ours,” said John Mulligan, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Target Corp., at the Citi 2012 Global Consumer Conference. “I think there are a couple of commercials and circulars that look like our brand, [but] that’s not stealing our brand.…There’s the misperception that it’s getting away from us and that’s not true at all.”
Johnson has upped Penney’s marketing profile, simplified its pricing structure by eliminating coupons and is redesigning the store around shops-in-shop.
Karen Hoguet, chief financial officer, Macy’s Inc., restrained herself on the topic of Penney’s at the conference.
“Every year somebody has a new strategy,” she said. “The good news is that we’re winning. Also, we’re trying hard not to get distracted by what others are doing around us.”
Hoguet did note how difficult it is to move away from coupons and cited the company’s experience after its May Department Stores Co. acquisition. “When we tried it, we weren’t so sure the patient would survive,” she said.
Barclays analyst Robert Drbul cut his target price on Penney’s to $30 from $45 Tuesday, noting the company would remain challenged as it works to “reeducate the consumer about its new pricing.”
Here’s a look at what else was said at the Citi conference.
John Mulligan, executive vice president and cfo, Target • “Food has brought something to the rest of Target. More localized product is critical in food. A customer from Minneapolis wants that pickle from Minneapolis.…We’ve begun to bring that segmentation to the rest of our chain.”
• “Food drives people into the store. If we aren’t selling those other discretionary items, we’re just a grocery store.” Karen Hoguet, cfo, Macy’s • “The regular price [women’s apparel] goods are selling well. It’s a little harder to get rid of the clearance goods, but regular price gives us some hope that it’s getting better.”
• [Millennials] do roughly $65 billion in sales in the categories in which we compete, pretty big opportunity…there’s just a lot more to come.”
Pamela Knous, executive vice president, cfo, Chico’s FAS Inc. • “About the only new development that’s going on the United States right now is in the outlet arena…we are being sought out by the developers of these locations. There are A, B and C sites for these outlet malls, very much not a clearance [venue] anymore.”
• “[The Chico’s brand] serves a somewhat older demographic, 50-plus, but we’re very pleased to say that it’s the only aged demographic that’s growing. We continue to have very strong comps, we continue to gain share in that space. [The Chico’s brand] throws off huge, consistent cash flow that we continue to invest in our other brands.”
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)