OPERATIONS

Gap details omni-channel strategy, global growth

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Gap Inc. highlighted its use of technology and innovation to bridge the growing digital world with its physical stores at the company’s annual meeting with investors. In new initiatives, the retailer is expanding its reserve in-store service to all U.S. Gap stores by the end of the second quarter, enabling online and mobile shoppers to now reserve items at more than 1,000 Gap and Banana Republic store locations.

In addition, the company will be testing its new order in store capability, which allows customers instant access to expanded product offerings online.

“We have the world’s best collection of American brands coupled with a strong economic model and runway for global growth,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO, Gap Inc. “As the retail landscape evolves, we continue to deliver on our omni-channel roadmap and focus on owning the shopping experience of the future.”

The company discussed its plans to continue driving online growth by leveraging technology and innovation combined with top talent to deliver new digital capabilities to customers and make further progress in mobile, personalization and loyalty programs.

Murphy and company executives also discussed plans to grow through expansion in Asia, as well as in its global outlet, online and franchise channels. Building on Old Navy’s recent debut in mainland China and Gap’s growing store base in the world’s second largest apparel market, the company said China is its largest growth initiative. It expects sales in China to triple in three years, reaching $1 billion.

Gap executives also discussed the company’s ongoing its move to a seamless inventory model and a more responsive global supply chain.

“In the next five years, we plan to leverage our scale to drive our strategic initiatives – including global growth plans, omni-channel strategies, a seamless inventory model and fully responsive supply chain. We expect these initiatives to contribute meaningfully to our revenue growth and operating profit,” Murphy added.

The company also underscored its continued commitment to delivering against long-term financial objectives.

“Over the past five years, we have increased revenue $1.6 billion, grown EPS at a 15 percent compound annual growth rate and returned an average of $1.6 billion in cash per year via share buybacks and dividends,” said Sabrina Simmons, executive VP and CFO, Gap Inc.

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FINANCE

Sycamore splits Jones Group into four businesses; CEO Card to step down

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Sycamore Partners announced that it has reorganized the remaining businesses of The Jones Group into four independent operating companies: the Nine West Group, a jeanswear company (which will be named later), Jones New York, and the Kasper Group. Each will operate as an independent company led by its own management team. In line with the new decentralized structure, Wesley R. Card will step down as CEO and John T. McClain will step down as CFO of The Jones Group

"We believe that this structure will allow each of these businesses to better serve their customers and achieve long-term success," said Stefan Kaluzny, a managing director of Sycamore Partners. "As independent companies, decision-making will be more closely aligned with the needs of the individual brands and our more than 10,000 associates around the world."
Kathy Nedorostek will be CEO of the Nine West Group, which will include footwear, handbags and jewelry.

Jack Gross, who has led the jeanswear business for the last 20 years, will be CEO of the jeanswear company.

Aru Kulkarni and George Sharp will continue to lead Jones New York and Gregg Marks will be CEO.

Sycamore Partners has previously announced that Stuart Weitzman and Kurt Geiger would each become independent companies.

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REAL ESTATE

Bank & Olufsen unveils new store design

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Bang & Olufsen unveiled its first newly redesigned store concept in North America, at the new Madison Avenue location in New York City. The 1,400-sq.-ft. store is designed to evoke a true sensory experience and demonstrate Bang & Olufsen’s commitment to providing extraordinary consumer experiences.

Other locations in New York City will adopt the new design, as well as a handful of additional locations across the United States next fiscal year.

A team of retail, brand and creative designers from Bang & Olufsen- is behind the store concept.

"The new store concept features a luxurious and welcoming atmosphere, and the interior has been designed to captivate curiosity as you move through the store," states Kathy Thornton-Bias, president of Bang & Olufsen America, Inc. "This store concept will provide the perfect platform to interact and engage in the Bang & Olufsen universe of magical experiences."

At the heart of the new retail concept is a dedicated speaker wall that showcases all of Bang & Olufsen’s best-selling speakers. Customers can listen to any kind of music, and have their own playlist streamed from their smartphone. In a more private area, customers can immerse themselves in some of Bang & Olufsen’s top-of-the-line viewing and listening combinations, viewing films on the latest flat-screen technology with surround sound.

The scalable retail concept has been designed for spaces from 540 ft. up to 2,200 sq. ft. and above, and will be implemented in select Bang & Olufsen locations in major cities around the world.

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