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Guess appoints Brooks Bros. veteran to board

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – The board of directors of Guess Inc. has appointed Joseph Gromek, increasing the number of directors to seven and bringing the total number of independent directors to five. Gromek will also serve on the Compensation and Nominating and Governance Committees of the board.

Gromek was president and CEO of The Warnaco Group Inc., a global apparel company, from 2003 until his retirement in 2012. Prior to that time, he served as president and CEO of Brooks Brothers Inc. and held senior management positions with a variety of other retail and apparel companies including Saks Fifth Avenue, Limited Brands Inc. and Ann Taylor.

"I have known Joe since he was at Saks Fifth Avenue in the early 80’s,” said Maurice Marciano, chairman of the board. “He has had an amazing career in the industry and he’s bringing with him tremendous experience both in the United States and worldwide. We are delighted that Joe will be joining our board."

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Paragon Software introduces home delivery system in U.S.

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – Paragon Software Systems Inc., a provider of vehicle routing and scheduling optimization solutions, is introducing Paragon HDS (Home Delivery System) to the U.S. market. Paragon HDS is designed to enable home delivery and home service companies to offer more accurate delivery times while improving fleet efficiency.

The software allows companies to integrate multichannel ordering and delivery booking with real-time route scheduling. It runs continually and routes orders while they are being placed, optimizing efficiency and providing narrow time slots for delivery.

“In today’s market, customers increasingly expect reliable, low cost delivery as part of the sale,” said William Salter, CEO and president, Paragon Software Systems. “Unfortunately, consumers can be let down by inadequate home delivery services that are either inconvenient, too costly, or result in late or missed deliveries. By using Paragon HDS, logistics departments will be able to work more closely with customer services departments to provide service improvements that will help build brand loyalty, as well as win new business, while reducing costly delivery failures. The improvements in customer service are balanced with the company’s home delivery resources, with the software continuously optimizing the home delivery routes as new orders are placed.”

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Interbrand report: Walmart most valuable retail brand in the world

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dayton, Ohio – Walmart is the most valuable retail brand in North America, with a brand value estimated at $131.8 billion, according to Interbrand’s "Best Retail Brands" report. The retail powerhouse maintains its number one spot and, even with a 6% decline in brand value, it retains an enormous margin over its closest competitor Target, whose brand value is put at $27.1 billion, an 8% increase over 2013. Rounding out the top five most valuable North American brands are The Home Depot ($25 billion), Amazon ($23 billion) and CVS/pharmacy (nearing $18 billion).

The annual Interbrand study ranks the top 50 North American and European retail brands by brand value, as well as the top store brands from across Latin America and the Asia-Pacific. The report is produced in collaboration with Interbrand Design Forum, the retail experience group within Interbrand.

In addition to being #1 in North America, Walmart is also the most valuable retail brand in the world. Looking beyond North America, the following brands are ranked as the top retailers in their respective regions:

• Europe: H&M (brand value USD $18.168 billion)
• Asia-Pacific: Woolworths ($4.948 billion)
• Latin America: Natura ($3.156 billion)

“The world’s best retail brands understand the complex and challenging relationships between analog and digital and have been quick to address changing shopper behaviors. By integrating the physical and virtual, making purchasing easier, enhancing service, and using storytelling, these leading brands are reimagining their offers, and creating unique experiences for consumers that convert browsers into buyers,” said Dirk Defenbaugh, managing director of Interbrand Design Forum.

While the top five North American brands remain unchanged from last year, four brands increased their brand value by more than 25%: Macy’s, Whole Foods Market, Amazon and Cabela’s.

In other highlights, for the first time, three Canadian brands made the Top 50 for North America: Shoppers Drug Mart (#28), Lululemon Athletica (No. 29), and Canadian Tire (No. 38). Also making its first appearance on the list is Chico’s, at No. 50. Five brands fell out of the Top 50 this year: Guess, Big Lots, Rent-A-Center, Radio Shack and Anthropologie.

Here are the top 10 U.S. retail brands:

1. Walmart (Brand value: $131.877 billion)
2. Target ($27.123 billion)
3. The Home Depot ($25.696 billion)
4. Amazon ($23.620 billion)
5. CVS/pharmacy ($17.779 billion)
6. Walgreens ($15.519 billion)
7. Sam’s Club ($13.543 billion)
8. eBay ($13.162 billion)
9. Coach ($11.588 billion)
10. Publix ($10.157 billion)

Visit BestRetailBrands.com to download the complete report and rankings.

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