Byline: Nancy Brumback

CHICAGO — After a year of frenzied sales promoting, Carson Pirie Scott is rethinking what it wants to hype in 1995.
“One-day sales generate a lot of volume, but they are starting to lose their appeal,” said Edward P. Carroll Jr., executive vice president, sales promotion and marketing.
Carroll, speaking Friday at the Retail Advertising Conference here, said, “We need to build back our relationship with our customer” and that Carson’s will cut back on promoting storewide sales events from 70 percent to around 55 percent over the next five years.
Carroll said about 50 percent of Carson’s advertising will “always be storewide sales. But they will be preplanned with a sane message.”
Expenditures for targeting specific departments will be increased, he noted, citing the annual men’s tailored clothing sale as an example.
Carson’s will also increase its efforts to “sell the store as the brand,” Carroll said. Campaigns that tout store remodeling and the value orientation of Carson’s three department store divisions are planned.
Stanton J. Bluestone, president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukee-based retailer, said eight stores are scheduled for remodeling this year as part on an ongoing renovation project. Since 1992, 17 Carson’s units have been refurbished.
Sales at store remodeled in 1993 increased 11.4 percent, he said, compared with a 3.3 percent gain for all other stores.
Bluestone, repeating a point he has made in the past, said Carson’s expects to grow by acquisition of “similar department stores operating in contiguous markets.”
Carson’s, as reported, has made an unsolicited offer to acquire Des Moines-based Younkers for $150 million. Bluestone said Carson’s already does “a pretty good job of covering our existing markets,” and that new department stores are not likely to be built. But Carson’s is testing freestanding furniture stores to make more space for apparel assortments in its department stores.
Private label is also growing at Carson’s, Bluestone said. It is expected to increase to 15 percent of total sales from 10 percent in the next three years. Still, he said, national brands remain important “to differentiate us from our lower-priced competition.”
Bluestone said Carson’s has shown a 64 percent increase in operating income on a trailing 12-month basis through the third quarter. The company emerged from Chapter 11 last year. — Fairchild News Service