OPERATIONS

Abercrombie’s exec VP of stores to lead diversity efforts

BY Marianne Wilson

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch has reorganized its Diversity & Inclusion structure. Todd Corley, who has led the efforts since 2004, is leaving to launch the TAPO Institute, which will focus on inclusive leadership based on “principles of transparency, authenticity, persistence, and optimism,” Abercrombie said.

Assuming responsibility for oversight of Diversity & Inclusion is Amy Zehrer, the company’s executive VP of stores. She will assume responsibility for all home office efforts and the company’s approximately 100,000 global store associates.

"As chief diversity officer, Todd Corley created and implemented a transformational framework for our D&I efforts and we are thankful for everything he has contributed over his ten years with A&F," said Amy Zehrer. "We will further enhance the great work that has already been completed under Todd’s leadership, such as our stores going from less than ten percent non-white associates to over 50% today.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: June events curtail shopper traffic

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Shopper traffic declined 9% in June, compared to the same month the previous year, as vacations, holidays, and record-breaking World Cup viewership cannibalized time spent on shopping-related activities. According to data from in-store analytics provider Euclid, despite the reduced traffic, high levels of consumer confidence boosted shoppers’ spending habits with .2% growth year-over-year in general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other (GAFO) retail sales

In addition, Euclid reported 4% growth year-over-year in clothing and apparel sales and 1% growth year-over-year in general merchandise sales. Storefront conversion was up slightly as June 2014 remained more promotional than the previous June, driven by competition and relatively high inventories. Average duration increased 8% from the previous year. June realized pent up demand from May as disposable income continued to grow and consumer confidence rose. Summer sales and nicer weather also contributed to the improvement.

However, visits decreased slightly year-over-year due to the same factors that affected traffic, but this trend was outweighed by the benefit of higher engagement. The best day of June was Monday, June 2, with outperformance across all metrics except for active repeat ratio as the month started with a flurry of activity. Not surprisingly, Sunday, June 15 (Father’s Day) was the worst shopping day of the month. The lowest level of traffic and low storefront conversion were experienced as vacations and family activities cannibalized mall visits.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Panjiva: U.S. imports steady in May

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Imports to the U.S. were steady in May 2014 from the previous month, though there was a measurable year-over-year increase. Data from supply chain research firm Panjiva shows that May 2014 showed levels of imports 4% above imports in May 2013.

The trend of imports into the U.S. is still positive, and Panjiva analysts say they are optimistic about the strength of the U.S. economy based on imports. Panjiva will remain positive about U.S. imports, even if there is a dip in shipment numbers in June. Typically, July or August are the strongest months for imports into the U.S. as retailers begin to gear up for the holiday season.

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