Executive attendees during the WWD CEO Summit this week got a chance to weigh in on a variety of topics via iPads. Questions to speakers were taken via the devices as well as a series of survey questions throughout the event.
The content of the polls were done in real-time, and related to the speakers on stage. The results revealed optimism about market conditions, sentiment on recent mergers and acquisitions and whether Tory Burch should take her namesake company public.
Eighty-five percent of respondents to that last question said “no,” which was followed by a qualifying response as to why not? Being subject to the “tyranny of quarterly targets” garnered the most responses at 37 percent, which was followed by “loss of control” of the company and brand. It was clear attendees — to the delight of co-chief executive officer of Tory Burch LLC, Roger Farah – thought some things were better left private.
During the M&A roundtable, respondents were asked of the deals so far this year, which one was best for the buyer. Thirty-four percent said the Galeria Kaufhof acquisition by the Hudson’s Bay Co. for $3.2 billion was a good deal. The Under Armour Inc. acquisition of MyFitnessPal Inc. for $475 million garnered 22 percent, which was followed by the Ascena Retail Group Inc. buy of Ann Inc. for $2.1 billion at 17 percent.
When asked about which country or region offered the greatest opportunity for the next three years, 48 percent cited China, which was followed by India at 25 percent and Western Europe with 17 percent. And the top investment approach in those countries and regions was to “create retail partnerships there” with 40 percent. This was followed by “expanding our own e-commerce there” with 30 percent.
Regarding the upcoming holiday shopping season, 77 percent of those executives polled said they expect to experience sales growth while 23 percent did not.