BOSTON — Wal-Mart's apparent decision to give up on launching a Manhattan store sounds sweet to rival Target.
The Minneapolis-based retailer views Wal-Mart's move as "an opportunity,'' but will take its time to find the right space at the right price, Jim Hogan, Target's group vice president for New England stores, told M.B.A. candidates at Harvard Business School on Sunday.
"Wal-Mart didn't have the support in the city…we have those relationships," Hogan said, referring to intense opposition to Wal-Mart from elected officials and organized labor. Wal-Mart chief executive officer Lee Scott said last week that he didn't believe opening in Manhattan was "worth the effort.''
However, Hogan cautioned, "We're not going to hurry in there and hurt our brand."
Hogan was among the participants in panel discussions at the third annual Retail and Luxury Goods Conference, a one-day event hosted by Harvard Business School to forge connections with retailers and luxury brand executives.
During a panel on customer experience, Hogan, who oversees 60 stores, 15,000 associates and $2 billion in annual sales in Target's New England region, described the relationship between Target and its primary competitor: "Wal-Mart is the discount strategy. Target is the differentiated strategy."
Hogan also said Target scrutinizes the stores' experiences and has begun using its sales receipts to prompt customers to participate in an online survey. The 30-question survey becomes feedback sent monthly to store managers, buyers, designers and others, and is linked to compensation.
Several companies brought recruiting teams and made pitches for students to consider careers in retail, even if it means starting as an assistant buyer.
"Our ceo is an idea machine," said TJX Cos. Inc.'s chief financial officer Jeff Naylor during a lunch forum. "We have great ideas for new concepts in the U.S. and the only thing that holds us back is talent…We're making an effort to fast-track talent."
Naylor said TJX, which operates 2,466 stores globally under Marshalls, TJ Maxx and other banners, recently hired two executives from Federated Department Stores and has also been studying the talent pool within the consumer packaged goods industry.In her keynote address, Caryn Lerner, president and ceo of Toronto-based luxury retailer Holt Renfrew, said the $550 million retailer plans to reach $1 billion in sales in five years. Spending among existing customers is up 6 percent, she said, with high-value customers, representing the top 2 percent of clientele, up 26 percent.
Speaking on a panel about brand reinvention, Kimberly Jentil, vice president of wholesale sales for Escada's U.S. division, said the company has decided to position all of its marketing for a new, younger customer but keep 70 percent of its product designed for its core customer, who are Baby Boomers and up.
"We don't want our brand pigeonholed as your mother's collection," she said.
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)