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.”
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye