BATTLING BREAST CANCER: RETAIL’S FALL OFFENSIVE
IN RESPONSE TO THE STAGGERING STATISTIC THAT ONE IN NINE WOMEN DEVELOP BREAST CANCER, THE CFDA FOUNDATION INC., THE PHILANTHROPIC ARM OF THE COUNCIL OF FASHION DESIGNERS OF AMERICA, IN 1994 FORMED FASHION TARGETS BREAST CANCER. IT’S A CAMPAIGN THAT HAS GALVANIZED THE U.S. FASHION INDUSTRY AND RETAILERS.
AHEAD, A LOOK AT WHAT SEVERAL MAJOR RETAILERS ARE DOING TO CARRY ON THE FIGHT AGAINST THIS WIDESPREAD DISEASE
NEW YORK — Retailers say they want to make a difference.
For the next five weeks, there will be an unprecedented level of cause-related activities in the stores, namely fund-raisers, designer appearances, special sales, various limited-edition products, private shopping nights and seminars, all to promote awareness of breast cancer and raise money for medical and charitable organizations fighting the disease. October has been designated national breast cancer awareness month.
Saks Fifth Avenue is leading the charge, with the most ambitious campaign among the retailers. The store is clearly going all-out, beginning Wednesday, when the Saks flagship here will stage its largest party ever — 5,000 guests are invited and plenty of famous faces are expected. According to store officials, it’s the company’s largest ever charitable drive.
At the party, Kate Moss will sign copies of her runway CD, Paulina Porizkova will sign Escada Beaute’s collection candle, and Philip Bloch, stylist to the stars, will show customers how to build an “Oscar-worthy wardrobe,” among other guests.
There will also be Erte-inspired stilt walkers, magicians, tatoo artists, food, entertainment, prizes and about 100 designers and makeup artists stationed in their in-store boutiques to add to the fun.
Intimate, maybe not. But it’s still a “private” party, meaning by invitation only.
Two percent of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Council of Fashion Designer’s [CFDA] Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.
After Wednesday’s party, the CFDA designers will fan out cross-country for appearances at Saks stores across the country. Local breast cancer charities in each Saks market, as well as national charities, will benefit, with Saks donating 2 percent of sales from Thursday to Sunday at all stores, including the flagship, and through Folio, the company’s catalog. Saks Off-5th stores will also make donations of 1 percent of sales for the four-day period.
“The majority of Saks customers are women and I think it is particularly fitting that we are engaged in fighting a disease that poses such an enormous threat all to often women’s health, and all too, to their lives,” said Philip Miller, chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Added Stan Herman, president of the CFDA: “What better way to reach a national audience and to raise consciousness about breast cancer and funds for research than to team up with a national presence like Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s a perfect fit.”
“When we combine the talent of the CFDA designers with the experience and dedication of a major corporation like Saks Fifth Avenue, we are able to create an excitement that makes a real difference,” commented Fern Mallis, executive director of the CFDA.
Saks has corporate sponsors behind the campaign, including General Motors, American Express, The Woolmark Co. and Continental Airlines, contributing to the cause.
Saks hopes to raise a total of $1 million, including corporate donations.
In the case of Saks and other stores raising funds for fighting breast cancer and other causes, it’s not simply a matter of corporate compassion that gets them to rally to the cause. Retailers stage such charitable events because they are good for business. They drive traffic and sales, strengthen community relations and polish up the company image.
In the case of breast cancer, this year stores are using a vast array of fund-raising and selling devices. Here’s a look at several of them.
Macy’s Drive Tied To Discount Card
Macy’s East, in 82 of its 88 stores, will sell for $5 a “For the Love of Her Life” card and donate its proceeds to the American Cancer Society. “It’s a unique program designed to give shoppers, designers and manufacturers the opportunity to make a difference and to help women in their fight against this disease,” Macy’s said in a statement.
The card offers discounts, purchase bonuses and incentives throughout the store, such as, a percentage off certain products and gifts with purchases. Macy’s has teamed up with a host of premier apparel, accessories, cosmetics, housewares, and tabletop companies to “bring the best value to shoppers while helping with a good cause.” Vendors participating include Calphalon, Elizabeth Arden, Charter Club, Bali, Warner’s Olga, Reebok, Aria, Echo, Hanes Hosiery, Reaction by Kenneth Cole, Nine West, and Anne Klein Swiss Timepieces, among other firms.
In addition to the savings and gifts available to shoppers, Macy’s will host such in-store events including a personal appearance by Miss USA, Kimberley Ann Pressler, on Oct. 9 at the Cherry Hill, N.J. branch location, and Oct. 24 at the Manhasset unit on Long Island. She will speak to customers about breast and ovarian cancer.
Other Macy units will host breast cancer awareness days, with representatives from the American Cancer Society on hand to speak about detection, prevention and ways to help fight the disease.
Macy’s is also the exclusive retailer of a new Coach watch called Metropolitan Pink, a limited edition watch sold only at Macy’s Herald Square, and Coach will donate a percent of the sales to the Komen Cancer New York Race for the Cure campaign, organized through Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Komen died of breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 36. Her sister, Nancy Brinker, the wife of Norman Brinker, a well-known restaurateur, established the Komen Foundation two years later. The organization is devoted to eradicating breast cancer as a life threatening disease. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over $200 million, and is considered one of the nation’s largest private funders of research dedicated solely to breast cancer.
According to the foundation, in the U.S., every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and every 11 minutes a woman dies from the disease.
It’s the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 35 and 54. And this year, it is estimated that 175,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
In addition, there will be 1,300 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in men this year. Roughly that many men are diagnosed with the disease annually in the U.S.
According to the foundation, 43,700 women and 400 men will die of breast cancer in the U.S. in 1999. The foundation’s help line is 1-800-462-9273. The foundation’s best-known fund-raising effort is the Race for the Cure series, held in over 100 cities across the country, including New York just last Sunday.
Neiman’s Salutes Komen Foundation
The Dallas-based Neiman Marcus is staging numerous in-store events across the U.S. this fall to promote breast cancer awareness, including a Sept. 8 salute to the Atlanta affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Neiman’s will host a luncheon with guest Nancy Brinker, founding chairman of the Komen Foundation. The same day at Neiman’s, innerwear giant Wacoal will launch the Wacoal Awareness Bra and give 10 percent of purchases of any Wacoal merchandise sold that day to the Atlanta affiliate of the Komen Foundation.
The Neiman ‘s flagship in downtown Dallas is hosting on Sept. 29 a Komen Foundation luncheon committee cocktail party and plans to announce that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of a new music CD called Raising Cain by Nelda Cain, a resident of Dallas, will be donated to the Komen Foundation.
At its West Coast flagship store, located on San Francisco’s Union Square, Neiman’s will host a kick-off reception for the “Paint the Square Pink” event on Oct. 1 to salute the Komen Foundation.
The reception is a prelude to an awards luncheon for 250 women, honoring breast cancer survivors that will be held at the St. Francis Hotel across the “pink square ” from Neiman’s store. At the reception, attendees will be presented with a long stem pink rose and will accompany San Francisco dignitaries in a walk across Union Square to the St. Francis Hotel for the luncheon.
In San Diego from Oct. 11-16, Neiman’s will make a personalized donation to the Scripps Breast Care Center for clients booking services at its in-store Premier Atelier spa and salon.
The San Diego store will also present a St. John cruise fashion show to benefit the Scripps Breast Care Center on Oct. 19, with a two-day trunk show to follow.
Neiman Marcus in White Plains, N.Y. will host a Festa d’Italia fashion show and luncheon to benefit the Breast Cancer Alliance on Oct. 15 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenwich, Conn.
At its Short Hills, N.J., store, Neiman’s will salute the Komen Foundation North Jersey affiliate on Oct. 19 with a reception and salon presentation of Escada’s spring 2000 collection.
During October, American Express will make a donation to the Komen Foundation for any American Express purchase made at Neiman’s.
Penney’s Event Package
J.C. Penney Co. is presenting six retail promotions this year to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation through donations made from purchases.
The agenda includes two events in September, including a “Worthington Wellness Week” promotion set for the week of Sept. 19-25.
Worthington is an-house women’s career collection. Penney’s will donate $1 to the Komen Foundation for each Worthington travel kit sold.
From Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, Penney’s is staging a Lee Denim Day promotion and will donate $1 to the Komen Foundation for every pair of Lee Jeans purchased.
Starting in October, Penney’s will give $7.45 to the Komen Foundation for each Hope Ribbon Pin sold.
Beginning in November, “Drive for the Cure” license plate covers will be sold in Penney’s gift catalogs and select stores, with $1 going to the Komen Foundation for each cover sold.
Penney’s already has donated $153,248 this year to the Komen Foundation through retail promotions.
In January, it gave $50,000 to Komen based on sales of the Penelope Peacock Beanie Bird (FOLO).
And a unique Mother’s Day scarf went on sale at Penney’s in April two weeks prior to Mother’s Day, with $103,248 donated to the Komen Foundation based on overall checkout.
Penney’s also is the Dallas presenter of the 17th annual Komen Dallas Race for the Cure on Oct. 16. The agenda includes 5K women’s and one-mile family run events.
Nordstrom’s Decentralized Drive
At Nordstrom, individual stores throughout the country sponsor various events on women’s health issues in October, focusing on breast cancer but also including health experts discussing overall health and well being.
For example, in Seattle, there will be seminars in early October featuring a series of health and wellness speakers including a woman discussing her experience as a breast cancer survivor as well as doctors discussing the latest breast cancer treatments and diagnostic updates.
There will also be Tai Chi demonstrations, a panel of women’s health experts talking about a variety of topics, such as migraine treatment and dermatology, according to a Nordstrom spokeswoman.
Nordstrom also donates funds to several breast cancer and cancer related non-profit organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure, Y-ME National Breast Cancer Society, the Ovarian Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society.
“As a national retailer, catering to women, we recognize the importance of this issue to many of our customers,” the spokeswoman said.
Macy’s West Gets Deeper In the Game
Macy’s West has sponsored the “For Her Sake” fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society for three years and every year the program “gets a little broader and we bring more things to the table,” said Betty Krogh, vice president of public relations for Macy’s West.
Macy’s began the program because “retail is so full of women and we have done so much in the AIDS and HIV arena that one day this whole group of women said, ‘you know, there’s an issue that’s just as strong out here.”‘
“One in seven women in the Bay area will have some sort of breast cancer bout in their lifetime. We decided that we’re in a very powerful position — we talk to the female consumer all the time. We had a major opportunity to do something to get the awareness up, to raise the consciousness level,” Krogh said.
For Her Sake is a program that asks customers to donate $5 [that’s up from $1 last year] to receive a thank you card in exchange that gives them a chance to win a Ford Focus vehicle.
With a $10 donation, the customer also receives a free lingerie bath product gift set. Last year, the program was advertised only in the lingerie department, but this year has expanded into the shoe department, Krogh said.
In addition, the American Cancer Society presents in-store seminars on breast cancer awareness and breast self-examinations for customers as well as Macy’s employees.
The program and seminars are being promoted through direct mail reaching 1.7 million people in the 13 major markets of Macy’s West.
Radio and TV stations in each market are advertising the program for free.
In 1998, For Her Sake raised more than $50,000 and is projected to bring in $100,000 this year, Krogh said.
The Bon Begins Early
At The Bon Marche, the fund-raising drive began in May with a contest asking people to talk about the most inspirational breast cancer survivor they know. “We’re taking 17 of those women and parts of their story and featuring them in our downtown Seattle windows during the month of October. Our windows will be wrapped in a pink ribbon theme and those same women will be featured in our breast cancer survivors fashion show in October,” said Mary Jean Stephens, vice president of special events and public relations.
Although the fashion show has become an annual event, this is the first time a donation has been tied in with it, and it is also the first time the windows have been decorated with pink ribbons, she said.
The Bon Marche is a division of Federated, and as part of the Federated Foundation, will make a donation to breast cancer research every time a customer makes a transaction with their Bon Marche charge card or opens a new charge card account or purchases an electronic gift card. The credit promotion is expected to raise $50,000, Stephens said. Macy’s, which is also a division of Federated, has a similar credit promotion.
The downtown Seattle Bon Marche flagship store also has an in-store mammography clinic. It opened a year ago and offers basic mammography service for a fee, Stephens said.
And in Fresno, Calif., the Gottschalks department store runs ads in local newspapers for Bali and Playtex and their breast cancer awareness campaigns in October, said Gary Gladding, executive vice president of merchandising.
Rich’s Takes Leadership Role
A spokeswoman for Rich’s/ Lazarus/Goldsmith said the chain has “become a leader” in breast cancer programs, with a multi-faceted approach. Since 1997, when Rich’s opened its first in-store mammography center in Atlanta’s Perimeter Mall, four other centers have opened, in Lazarus stores in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, and in Pittsburgh, Pa.
A sixth center will open Oct. 26 in Lazarus’s Lima, Ohio store. The in-store mammography units were a spinoff of Rich’s mobile mammography program, began in 1995. They offer screenings in various store parking lots. Rich’s partners with local hospitals to provide the services.
In October, Rich’s will offer a pink ribbon rhinestone illusion necklace as gifts, with mammagrams, along with gift promotions at the Estee Lauder counter, to women who have mammograms at the stores. This year, Rich’s Augusta, Ga. store will offer events, held each Friday in the cosmetics departments, on breast cancer topics.
In addition, the store will offer mobile screenings, and a “buddy check” program.
The store will also feature a photo exhibit, “Portraits of Survival,” with photos of local survivors, taken by an Augusta, Ga. photographer. Sales associates will wear pink ribbon aprons, and distribute $1 coupon books that include discounts on intimate apparel, in partnership with key vendors.
Parisian’s Pink Ribbons
Parisian will present its fifth annual “Pink Ribbons,” breast cancer benefit, Oct. 12. The combination luncheon and fashion show, co-sponsored by Georgia Plastic Surgery, P.C. and Parisian, will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, in Atlanta, and benefits the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund. Last year’s event was attended by 446 people, and raised $32,250 for the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund. Parisian’s fashion show features winter-holiday looks, with breast cancer survivors as models during a portion of the show.
Mass Chains’ Maneuvers
Several moderate and mass chains, which increasingly have targeted women customers during the Nineties, are aiding in the fight against breast cancer by raising funds and awareness.
On Saturday, for instance, Mervyn’s California and Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation sponsored “A Golden Moment,” an ice skating event and concert that featured six female Olympic gold medalists.
In addition to Yamaguchi, skaters included Tara Lipinski, Katarina Witt, Ekaterina Gordeeva, and Rosalynn Sumners. They performed to live music from Sarah Brightman, Taylor Dane, Keiko Matsui, and the Oakland East Bay Symphony, among others. The evening was co-hosted by gold medalist Peggy Fleming, who did not skate, and Yamaguchi. Proceeds from the event, held at the Oakland Arena, will be donated to various cancer groups, including the American Cancer Society.
“In creating this event, I wanted to organize something unique and fresh that would help increase public awareness about breast cancer,” Yamaguchi said in a statement issued by her Always Dream Foundation and Mervyn’s. “A skating concert on ice with an all-female cast seemed a natural fit.”
The evening was taped for broadcast of Lifetime Television, airing as a skating special, called “Mervyn’s California Presents Kristi Yamaguchi’s A Golden Moment,” on Sunday, Nov. 7, 10:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. EST and PST. It was also recorded for a special on breast cancer, to air Saturday, Dec. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., PST, on FOX affiliate KTVU in Oakland.
“We are committed to supporting programs in the community that make a real difference in people’s lives,” stated Frank Castiglione, vice president of marketing, Mervyn’s California, which has 267 stores in 14 states. “We believe ‘A Golden Moment’ is one of these events.”
Mervyn’s corporate parent, Dayton Hudson, which is widely know for its participation in community affairs, contributes to the fight against breast cancer in other ways as well. It is a corporate sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and also has given grants in support of specific events, such as Komen’s Race for the Cure, and Lee Jeans National Breast Cancer Awareness Day, in 1998.
Most of the moderate and mass chains contacted by WWD have corporate giving programs, aimed, in part, at fighting breast cancer, but they have not yet established nationwide events at their stores to raise money and inform people about guarding against the disease.
This year, for example, Kmart has donated $80,000 to the American Cancer Society, and $50,000 to the McCarty Cancer Foundation; Wal-Mart has given $100,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and $50,000 to the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Associations; and Sears, Roebuck & Co. is a corporate sponsor of Gilda’s Club, a group in New York that provides services to cancer victims and their families.
“In terms of partnerships or promotions for breast cancer protection, we don’t have a nationwide program, although individual stores may participate in specific events in their communities,” said a Sears spokeswoman, reflecting the approach taken by all three of the country’s biggest retailers.
Joseph R. Ettore, president and chief executive officer of Ames Department Stores, the fourth-largest discounter in the U.S., said, “We haven’t done anything in the stores yet on an organized basis to fight cancer, but we have recently aligned with a giving program conducted by Wilson sport socks.”
The program calls for participating retailers, such as Ames, to give a percentage of the sales from purchases of Wilson socks to various cancer research foundations. “Maybe if we align ourselves with some more vendors doing this kind of thing, we could get a program going throughout the chain,” Ettore said.
And at ShopKo Stores, a spokeswoman said, “We haven’t pulled anything together yet. But I’ve been wanting to get ShopKo involved in the cause. I think it’s a natural, because we have a strong franchise with our health service business, and the core Target customer is a female.
“Maybe we’ll get something going for next year,” she added. “We’ve had our hands full, running the stores, with our acquisition of Pamida.”