Retail executives went down to Miami Beach Wednesday to show a bit of leg to Wall Street.
And although the economy leaves much to be desired, the U.S. is seen as overstored and technology is pushing systematic change through the industry, the retail chiefs at the 14th annual ICR XChange Conference each had a reason for why the future was theirs.
There was plenty of bragging about the still-growing potential of e-commerce, store expansion in a flat U.S. market and financial wherewithal as executives courted investors.
Here’s a look at what retail leaders from public companies had to say on day two of the three-day conference.
Michael Prince, chief operating officer, Guess Inc. • “Today we have virtually no business in Latin America, and we are working with a short list of candidates to partner with in Brazil. We know that Brazilian customers love Guess, so this is a high priority for us.” • “We are pushing partnerships in other markets — such as Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Peru — as we rebalance our supply chain to give us greater price-negotiating power.”
Christine Day, chief executive officer, Lululemon Athletica Inc. • “Our core focus right now is on run and yoga. We want to take all the oxygen out of the space in those areas.” • “There is potential for 350 stores in North America. We’re only a third built out. We launched our e-commerce channel in 2009, it’s now just over 10 percent of sales and we are just planting the seeds for international and we have a new concept called Ivivva.” • “What we anticipate doing in the future is actually launching online concepts first, and then taking them to brick-and-mortar.”
Gary Schoenfeld, president and ceo, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. • “We’re really narrowing and zeroing in how we communicate to 16- to 24-year-olds, getting in their heads.…PacSun is a lifestyle brand.”
Robert Fisch, ceo, Rue21 Inc. • “We have Paris. It’s not in France, so — but it’s Paris, Texas. It looks like a prison, but this store will do — I sometimes stand up here, and I go, ‘Oh, my God, people are going to laugh me off the stage’ — but this store will do over $1.5 million in business in less than 5,000 square feet at low rent. So we’re very proud of that Paris prison.”
William L. McComb, ceo, Liz Claiborne Inc. • “Juicy has an enormous consumer footprint.…I can’t believe how big the business and brand is around the world. It can be something in China I believe that Ralph Lauren Polo can’t be.”
Andrew T. Hall, president and ceo, Stage Stores Inc. • “Small towns do not have any competition for us. We are the only ones who are bringing national brands to those towns. Those customers are under-served, and they welcome us with open arms.” • “There is a Wal-Mart in almost every one of our small-market stores. We like Wal-Mart. We have a symbiotic relationship with Wal-Mart. They have a wide draw, and certainly our customer shops Wal-Mart, but she is shopping Wal-Mart for grocery, pharmacy…not buying her apparel at Wal-Mart.”
Chuck Rubin, president and ceo, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. • “We’re still only about 45 percent built-out on our 1,000-store objective, and that 1,000 stores are of our current format, which is 10,000 square feet.” • “Ulta.com today is a very small portion of our revenue base. It’s low-single digit as a percentage of our overall business. So, clearly, that’s one opportunity.”
David Jaffe, president and ceo, Ascena Retail Group Inc. • “Since we paid off our mortgage, we now have a debt-free balance sheet and, as of the end of the first quarter, over $400 million in cash. [That] gives us a lot of optionality to return value to shareholders — whether it’s built into a war chest for a potential acquisition someday or we continue to do stock buybacks.”
Michael Barnes, ceo, Signet Jewelers Ltd. • “Our merchandising strategy is consumer pull rather than retailer push, and therefore it significantly increases our ability to succeed. We’re increasingly focused on the personalization of our inventory on Web sites.” • “We see the potential to increase space in the U.S. by about a net 40 percent to a total of about 850 Kay mall stores, about 500 Kay off-mall locations and 300 Jareds over a period of time. We’re seeing more real estate opportunities this coming year, and we’re targeting to open 40 to 50 stores in fiscal 2013, including six to eight Jared stores, giving us a net increase in U.S. space of about 3 percent.”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)