NEW YORK -- Woolworth Corp. has gone around the world in 85 years, and has charted aggressive global expansion to take it into the next century.
The company has been operating stores internationally since 1909. It has planted stores in 14 countries and expanded its foreign business to account for 40 percent of its $10 billion in revenues.
Much of that growth has come within the past few years, according to Frederick E. Hennig, president and chief operating officer, who was one of the speakers at a meeting of the Retail Marketing Society here last week.
Woolworth's specialty chains are the primary vehicle for global growth. Among these are Northern Reflections, a casualwear retailer with 250 sites in the U.S. and 180 in Canada; Afterthoughts, with 1,100 accessories stores around the world, and the athletic specialty group.
Foot Locker, including its family of World Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker, has seen very aggressive growth in recent years, said Hennig. Many of its 200 European units were opened in the past three years. The firm expects to have at least 1,000 Foot Locker stores in Europe by 2000.
In December, the first Foot Locker opened in Hong Kong. Based on its "incredible" reception, the company plans additional units in Asia and expects to be operating in China within the year, Hennig added. He declined to say how many units are projected in those countries.
Foot Locker and the other athletic specialty stores, like Champs Sports and Going to the Game, have 3,500 units worldwide, with a goal of 4,500 by 2000. This year, the firm expects to open 120 to 140 Foot Locker stores in Canada and 50 to 75 units in Italy, Germany, France and the U.K.
In total, Woolworth slates some 500 foreign store openings in 1994.
"Consumers worldwide recognize and want American labels like Nike," Hennig said. "There has been an Americanization of fashion taste levels that has been projected through American movies and TV. We've planned our specialty-store concepts to reflect that image."
Hennig stated that the crucial elements to Woolworth's success in international markets include maintaining a consistent image -- for example, a Foot Locker sales clerk always wears a black-and-white striped referee's shirt, no matter where the store is -- and taking advantage of local management and global sourcing.Management information systems are standardized in all 7,500 specialty stores in foreign markets, and data on dollar volume, unit sales and inventory status anywhere in the world is available to the Manhattan corporate headquarters on a daily basis.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“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