For a week starting Sept. 7, Macy’s will become Tommy Town.
The retailer is gearing up to capitalize on its arrangement to sell Tommy Hilfiger women’s and men’s sportswear collections exclusively, with the exception of the Tommy Hilfiger stores. Since forging the pact last year with Apax Partners, the Amsterdam-based owner of Hilfiger, Macy’s has deepened assortments of the brand, added space per store, renovated 300 Tommy men’s and women’s in-store shops, and has grown the brand’s distribution to more than 500 doors from 350.
For visual impact, “strike points” composed of mannequins grouped on main aisles and common areas will spotlight sportswear cross-merchandised with non-exclusive licensed products such as accessories and handbags. And Macy’s at Herald Square as well as State Street in Chicago will be rigged with technology projecting Tommy imagery streaming from window to window and visible day and night.
“You won’t be able to walk anywhere in the store and not know something big is happening with Tommy,” said Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing for Macy’s Inc.
The presentations will be most intense at the Macy’s flagships at Herald Square and on State Street, as well as those on Union Square in San Francisco and in the Dadeland Mall in Miami.
But a battery of tactics is about to be unleashed nationally, amounting to an unprecedented marketing blitz for a single apparel designer. Macy’s Martha Stewart Collection was the chain’s largest launch for a brand, though Tommy represents Macy’s biggest introduction on the apparel side, according to Reardon. She declined to specify the marketing budget or volume anticipated. Macy’s last year did about $250 million in Hilfiger sales.
The tactics for Tommy week include:
• A 28-page catalogue distributed to two million households. “That’s a very big number for a single designer — among the biggest we’ve ever done,” rivaling a Calvin Klein fall book that goes out two weeks later, Reardon said.
• Print and online campaigns, plus a new TV ad on the Emmys Sept. 21, with Hilfiger the main character and celebrities who create product for Macy’s.
• The launch of a men’s fragrance called Hilfiger on Sept. 7. Macy’s has a 30-day exclusive.
• Tommy’s “favorites,” items he considers must-haves, will be displayed prominently and changed monthly for a better flow of newness. They’re often basics and signature items that have been remade, such as Oxford shirts, colored anoraks and colored denims.
• Hilfiger will appear at Macy’s Herald Square on Sept. 9 with “a happening” band, Reardon said. His portrait, with Fourth of July fireworks in the background, is already in the store alongside those of Donald Trump, Christina Aguilera and Martha Stewart, who also provide exclusive products. They were all photographed by Mark Seliger.
• A Tommy sitelet on the Web goes live this week.
Inside the Hilfiger company, “classic American cool” has been the fashion mantra, according to Avery Baker, executive vice president of global marketing and communications. “We’ve been really evolving the product offering. We’ve upgraded the quality and fabrics and reinstituted a lot of the details. With this partnership, we are able to create so much more of an impact with the whole brand presentation.”
“There’s a new sensibility of what Tommy is all about — preppy, collegiate, lots of plaids, trenchcoats, as well as long dresses and elegant pieces,” Reardon said. “There is more risk-taking with some pieces. The collection has a little bit for everybody, though it’s a little more edgy.”
The collection includes dresses, activewear, jeans, dressy pants, blouses, T-shirts, sweaters, vests and underwear. While Macy’s has the Tommy apparel to itself, the store does have to share the license products with other retailers. That would seem to be a source of frustration, but, Reardon said, “The men’s and women’s are the guts of the business. That’s where Tommy started.”
As a close partner, Tommy Hilfiger becomes a critical piece of Macy’s program for fall, which is certain to be a season of kicking and biting for market share as the economy worsens. At retailers across the board, fierce discounting is expected well before Thanksgiving, the traditional start of holiday promoting.
Macy’s hopes to rise above the cacophony by raising the exclusivity pitch. Aside from Hilfiger, other proprietary programs such as Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, INC, Charter Club and Hotel Collection will play big roles. So will Luna, Macy’s first designer-driven private label jewelry line, officially launching in early October. The designers behind Luna are from Faraone Mennella, a fine jewelry collection sold at high-end stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. Macy’s also hopes to get a lift with its 150th birthday celebration, which runs through October and entails special visuals, advertising, shopping bags, special events and much vendor participation.
Macy’s claims about a third of its merchandise is exclusive or near exclusive, but the goal is to exceed 50 percent. The May Department Stores Co. acquisition of 2005 doubled the size and buying power of the corporation, and enabled it to accelerate efforts to procure and develop exclusive merchandise and advertise collections nationally. The strategy also involves focusing on fewer, more important vendors, particularly those that offer something special. The Hilfiger campaign could go a long way to validate the Macy’s strategy, and encourage other brands or designers to sell exclusively to the retailer.
At the same time, Apax is counting on Macy’s to help turn around the Hilfiger business in the U.S. In recent years, most of the brand’s problems have centered on women’s products.Men’s wear has sold better. Along with the quality, Apax has been elevating the price points, cutting jobs, bringing some of the licenses in-house and opening large stores in prime locations, such as on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris and on London’s Regent Street. A 22,000-square-foot flagship is set to open on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in the fall. There are more than 50 Hilfiger retail stores and 150 outlets in the U.S. Total sales did grow 14.4 percent to $1.88 billion in the latest fiscal year, but growth was mostly due to stronger retail and wholesale business in Europe. Macy’s will make the difference in the U.S.
“The launch of Tommy week at Macy’s will be a fantastic start to our exclusive strategic alliance,” said Hilfiger. He added his business has performed “exceptionally well” this year at Macy’s and considers next week’s relaunch a natural extension. “Throughout the season, we expect the momentum to grow as we continue to roll out brand new shops and elevated product offerings.”�
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
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye