Fashion’s financial set was out talking the talk at ICR’s annual investment conference, in Orlando, Fla., this week.
Executives from publicly held companies were out in force at the conference on Monday and Tuesday, making their case for growth in what is still a tough market for any brand that’s not ultra hip or ultra digital.
Here’s what some of the top names at the conference had to say.
Elliot Jordan, chief financial officer, Farfetch
“For consumers we offer the broadest selection of the world’s best luxury. We are the online channel for over 600 high-end boutiques and department stores, offering a selection of nearly 300,000 [stockkeeping units] across 3,200 designers and brands. This gives us 10 times more product than our nearest online competitor with over $2.7 billion in virtual stock available at any one time.”
Francis Conforti, cfo, Urban Outfitters Inc.
“We actually see [increased wages] as a good thing. There are a lot of things that we can do as a retailer to improve our business. But one thing we can’t do is put more money in the consumer’s pocket. So, if wages are going up, we see that as a good thing, and over time, we’ll execute operationally our business and we’ll make sure that we’ll have flow-through to the bottom line.”
Jen Foyle, global brand president of Aerie at American Eagle Outfitters
“When I think about the future, it is about real estate and growth….We’re prepared to open 60 stores to 70 stores next year….We’re going to go out west young man, we’re going to build the railroad and take the brand forward. So, just tons of domestic opportunity.”
David Jaffe, chairman and chief executive officer, Ascena Retail Group Inc.
“Guys like Amazon are doing a lot of business in apparel now. And we’re not going to ignore them, but what they’re doing is very basic business. So, whether it’s Amazon or, I think Walmart and Target are doing a much better job, really respect the moves that they’ve made. We just need to keep staying a couple of steps in front of them, and that’s been our focus.”
Sandeep Reddy, cfo, Guess Inc.
“If you go to the Asian business, we already come out the gate as a very strong men’s business because there’s no preconceived notion of it being a women’s brand. The first introduction to the brand is equal to both genders. So, this is a very deliberate effort from us to make sure that the celebrities that we are looking for [in our marketing efforts] are across both genders and appealing to a wider demographic.”
Shelley Broader, president and ceo, Chico’s FAS Inc.
When I look at the store count…I think of it as omni-readiness. I mean, we have for the last three years been building that customer touchpoint readiness with “buy online, pick up in store,” with our ability to create customized storefronts for each of our customers, the way that we’re personalizing our items now….This is really the next evolution of our omni capabilities as much as it is rationalizing the fleet.”