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Apparel, accessories retailer taps Stages Stores exec as CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Francesca's Holdings Corp. has found a chief executive.

The retailer appointed Steven P. Lawrence, who currently serves as chief merchandising officer for Stage Stores, as president and CEO. Lawrence, who was also appointed to the company’s board, will officially join Francesca’s in October 2016.

Lawrence replaces Richard Kunes, who has been serving as Francesca’s interim chairman, president and CEO since May 2016. Kunes will become the company’s chairman of the board.

Prior to joining Stage Stores in 2012, Lawrence worked at J.C. Penney from 2000 to 2012.

“Steve is a world-class retail executive and brings a wealth of knowledge gained over 26 years of retail experience,” said Kunes. “Not only is Steve a talented merchant, he is a strategic thinker and a thought leader who knows how to lead teams to successfully execute their strategic plans and to drive growth. We are confident Steve is the right person to capitalize on Francesca’s solid growth platform and continue to enhance Francesca’s position as a specialty retailer.”

Francesca’s operates 663 stores nationwide.

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Study: Gaps exist between online and store experiences

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Consumers have made it clear: they want to shop across a brand holistically, not a company’s individual channels.

Yet, a lack of unified customer experiences continues to haunt customer service, and fails to drive customer loyalty. These details were revealed in “In-Store Meets Online: Unifying the Retail Customer Experience,” a report from Kibo, a cloud-based unified omnichannel commerce platform provider.

A variety of issues are causing the disconnect, including almost one quarter of retailers that said they have no targeted or personalized marketing initiatives in place — a move that drives conversion both in-store and online. Meanwhile, 66% of retailers don't offer in-store pickup, and up to 54% of respondents claim their technology won't support increasingly mission-critical omnichannel retail functions, such as ship-from-store, in-store pickup, and save-the-sale, the report said.

“As customers approach e-commerce, their expectations go beyond that of a single channel, and into a connected commerce environment that retailers must be prepared to deliver,” the report summarized. “To do so, brands must effectively bridge the gap between consumers' digital and in-store shopping patterns, and drive traffic between the two without losing consumers' business and loyalty.”

On a positive note, retailers are making progress, as 77% of retailers use some type of mobile or tablet device to assist customers in-store. Meanwhile, 42% of retailers plan to invest in in-store pickup in the next 12 months, the report said, adding that concerns over investing in new technologies may have delayed important steps forward.

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L.Cee says:
Sep-21-2016 07:54 pm

Thanks for the article. I truly agree that retailers need to adopt an omnichannel approach especially when it comes to learning more about their customers' shopping habits. There was an article posted by Lightspeed POS on why the customer is key to omnichannel success: https://www.lightspeedhq.com/blog/2016/05/key-to-omnichannel-success/ Hope you enjoy it!

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Five reasons why Walmart bought Jet.com

BY CSA STAFF

Photo: Doug McMillon

With its deal to buy Jet.com officially close, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon decided to answer a question that many folks have been asking: Why Jet.com?

In a blog on its website, McMillon listed the top five reasons it bought the online startup. The top reason: to better serve Walmart customers and reach new ones.

“Jet.com created a unique, transparent way for customers to shop, helping them make choices that lower their prices as they shop — from building smarter baskets to opting out of free returns and using debit cards,” McMillon wrote.

To read about Walmart’s four other reasons, click here.

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