SAKS HIRES EXECS FOR WEB PUSH
Byline: David Moin
NEW YORK — Rounding out the team to handle its big push online, Saks Inc. has hired three high-level e-commerce executives with extensive expertise in information technology, marketing and merchandising for the Saks Direct division.
The executives are Robert Dykman, chief technology officer; Jessica Pezzullo, chief marketing officer, and Lynne Ronon, senior vice president and general merchandise manager, e-commerce.
The posts are all new, reporting directly to Denise Incandela, chief operating officer, Saks Direct.
Saks Direct is to go live in June with a Saks Fifth Avenue e-commerce site. Determined to make an impact online, Saks last year formed a separate operating unit, Saks Direct, with its own team based in New York to launch Saksfifthavenue.com. Saks Direct also includes the Folio and Bullock & Jones catalogs.
“Each of them will be instrumental in the further development of Saks Direct and Saksfifthavenue.com and in maximizing our growth opportunities,” Bill Haslam, president of Saks Direct said in a statement.
Dykman will be responsible for the management of information technology application-software development, infrastructure, operations and technology planning. He was vice president of technical infrastructure for Barnes & Noble.com, and before that, he held management and technical positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Avon Products, Ernst & Young, Salomon Bros. Inc. and First Security Bank of Utah.
Pezzullo’s responsibilities will include marketing, media, customer relations, branding and business development. She was vice president, marketing director for Strategic Interactive Group, and before that held marketing positions at Hearst New Media, New Woman Magazine, Random House and Columbia House.
Ronon will oversee the merchandising direction for Saks Direct’s e-commerce initiative. She was senior vice president and general merchandise manager of ready-to-wear, children’s wear and gifts for Saks Fifth Avenue. Before that, she held various merchandising positions at Saks Fifth Avenue since 1985, as well as Gimbel’s Philadelphia. Her post at the Saks chain is still vacant.
As reported, Michael Matthews, formerly vice president and creative director of Saks Fifth Avenue, was promoted to senior vice president and creative director of Saks Direct, reporting to Incandela. Matthews was responsible for the creative development of brand advertising, catalogs and packaging.
Saks Fifth Avenue hopes its e-commerce site will be as big as its Fifth Avenue flagship in volume — roughly $450 to $500 million in annual sales, with an average transaction between $200 and $500. The site will initially have 10,000 luxury stockkeeping units. First-year sales are projected at $15 million to $20 million, and there will be about a $12 million loss, or 8 cents a share. By mid-2001, Saks sees 100,000 items on the site.
The company will explore a separate capitalization of this business during 2000 and will report [the business] separately by the end of the first quarter.
Officials believe most of the demand online will be for accessories, footwear, gifts, some children’s apparel and more basic apparel, and that the site will help fuel traffic into the stores.