It’s official: Liz Claiborne is now Fifth & Pacific
New York — Liz Claiborne Inc. said Tuesday that it has officially changed its name to Fifth & Pacific Cos., following an initial announcement in January that it would do so.
The company sold the Liz Claiborne and Monet brands to J.C. Penney Co. in November, freeing it up to concentrate more fully on its Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and Kate Spade labels.
“As we say a final goodbye to the iconic Liz Claiborne name, we know the time is right for a change, and we welcome our bright new future as Fifth & Pacific Companies,” CEO William McComb said in a statement.
BDO study: 20 biggest risk factors for retailers
New York — General economic conditions, U.S. and foreign supplier vendor concerns, and competition/consolidation are the top three risk factors cited by retailers, according to a new study by BDO USA, LLP, a leading accounting and consulting firm. Rounding out the top five: federal, state and local regulations, and terrorism, natural disasters and geo-political events.
The BDO RiskFactor Report for Retail Businesses, which examines the risk factors listed in the most recent SEC 10-K filings of the largest 100 public U.S. retailers, also found that IT infrastructure and security risks have increased, partially due to growth of the mobile platform. This year, concerns over the maintenance of IT systems and operations leapt from the twelfth most cited risk factor to the sixth. Security risks jumped 31% from the nineteenth most cited risk factor to the twelfth.
Of the 99% of retailers citing general economic conditions as a risk, 71% point to fuel prices as a primary reason, up from 58% last year. With tepid progress in job reports, 68% of retailers note lingering concerns over unemployment, but the risk is down from its peak in 2010 (70%).
“Despite a dip in April, consumer spending has been improving, and retail executives feel that their strategy adjustments are on point,” said Doug Hart, partner in the Retail and Consumer Products Practice at BDO USA, LLP.
“This year, there is an increasing concern over unknown external factors, such as IT security, supply chain disruptions and geo-political events that could derail the execution of their strategies. While retailers are also concerned about gas prices this summer, they are otherwise encouraged by consumer spending.”
These are the top 20 risk factors cited by the 100 largest U.S. retail companies according to the BDO report:
1. General Economic Conditions
2. U.S. and Foreign Supplier/Vendor Concerns
3. Competition & Consolidation in Retail Sector
4. Federal, State and/or Local Regulations
5. Terrorism, Natural Disasters & Geo-Political Events
6. Implementation & Maintenance of IT Systems
6. (Tie) Dependency on Consumer Trends
8. Credit Markets/Availability of Financing & Company Indebtedness
9. Consumer Confidence and Spending
10. Labor (health coverage, union concerns, staffing)
11. Legal Proceedings
12. Privacy Concerns Related to Security Breach
13. Failure to Properly Execute Business Strategy
13. (Tie) International Operations
15. Loss of Key Management/New Management
16. Consumer Credit and/or Debt Levels
17. Changes to Accounting Standards and Regulations
18. Mergers & Acquisitions, Joint Ventures
19. Seasonality and Cyclicality of Results; Holiday Sales
20. Insurance Costs & Uninsured Liabilities
20. (Tie) Impediments to Further U.S. Expansion
Walmart throws weight into home improvement with digital campaign
New York — The world’s largest retailer is taking steps to display its home-improvement prowess through a digital marketing campaign centered on a “Projects Made Simple” area at Walmart.com.
The area is organized by home improvement project. For instance: how to stain a deck, install a water filter system, caulk a window or install a towel bar. In the deck video, an unidentified handy man narrator explains, “All the tools are available at Walmart to get you going.”
The website also lets users download a project sheet with tips and instructions.
Walmart has long dealt in home improvement products, but the latest effort e-blasted to customers with the invitation to “Explore Walmart’s complete solution to make home do-it-yourself projects simple” marks an aggressive change for DIY. The e-blast listed the three key features of the online tool: checklists, instructions and how-to videos.
Home-improvement specialists of all sizes have long felt insulated from competition from the mass retail channel due to specialized training and product knowledge of employees on the sales floor — sophistication that they feel stores such as Walmart cannot match. But even if a more focused campaign from Walmart moves the perception needle even slightly, the results could be dramatic given Walmart’s sheer size.