OPERATIONS

Lord & Taylor parent restructures executive management

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Toronto — Hudson’s Bay Co. said Tuesday it has changed the structure of its senior management, giving two highly regarded veteran retailers greater responsibilities. The company is moving current president Bonnie Brooks to the vice chairman seat and putting in Liz Rodbell – recently minted executive VP and chief merchant – as president. Both Brooks and Rodbell are highly regarded retail

The company, which owns the Hudson’s Bay banner as well as Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters, said the transition will be completed by January 2014. Both Brooks and Rodbell will report to CEO Richard Baker, with Brooks serving in an advisory capacity to Baker and the board.

"This new structure will continue to drive our long-term growth strategy, as we build upon the company’s momentum toward revitalizing its banners and product offerings, and strengthening the customer experience," said Baker.

Rodbell, a 25+-year veteran of the company, was named to the executive VP/chief merchant position in February 2012, charged with integrating the Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay banners.

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Michaels celebrates big 4-0 with mobile craft tour

BY CSA STAFF

IRVING, Texas — To celebrate its 40th birthday, Michaels will launch the first-ever Michaels Craft Tour this month in a specially designed 18-wheeler that features a fully stocked, 1,000-sq.-ft. craft room on the inside.

The tour will travel throughout the U.S. from coast-to-coast, visiting store openings, outdoor festivals and other events along the way.

At each stop, kids and adults can climb aboard the truck to participate in free hands-on crafts. Visitors can also take pictures with Michaels’ interactive social media walls and share photos of their crafts through social media channels using hashtag #michaelscrafttour. Other features include TV screens showing Michaels DIY videos.

"We wanted to do something big to celebrate our 40th birthday with our customers, and the Michaels Craft Tour and truck is a one-of-a-kind craft party on wheels," said Michaels director of local marketing Chris Young. "We’ve been spreading creativity since the first Michaels store opened in Dallas in 1973, and we look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones as we travel the nation."

Michaels creative expert Jo Pearson, known for her how-to videos shown in stores and on the company’s e-commerce site, will join the tour in select stops. The tour will begin in Utah and continue through October.

The company currently owns and operates more than 1,113 Michaels stores in 49 states and Canada and 123 Aaron Brothers stores, and produces 11 exclusive private brands including Recollections, Studio Decor, Bead Landing, Creatology, Ashland, Celebrate It, Art Minds, Artist’s Loft, Craft Smart, Loops & Threads and Imagin8.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Majority of consumers have plans to give retail gift cards

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Oklahoma City — The vast majority (91.4%) of American consumers plan to give up to three retail gift cards as gifts over the next three months, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Retail Gift Card Association.

However, the survey also found that consumers will continue to keep their wallets tight – only 30.6% of respondents would purchase something they would not normally buy. The rest, 69.4%, said they would spend the gift card on something they needed, or put it toward a larger purchase.

Data from the survey also showed that 71.3% feel “very satisfied” when they receive a retail gift card as a gift, and 91.4% said they plan to give one to three retail gift cards as gifts in the next three months.

"This survey shows that gift card continue to evolve in terms of their utility for many gifting occasions and they continue to be coveted by recipients," said RGCA executive director Rebekka Rea.

Additional findings include:

  • According to the survey, 29.4% of respondents gave Dad a gift card to a home improvement store, and 10.4% opted for a restaurant card;
  • 28.6% plan to give newlyweds a gift card to a home improvement store this summer, which is a higher percentage than spa/leisure, restaurant, retailer or online gift cards;
  • 73.2% prefer to give a retail gift card when giving a gift from a group of people;
  • 88.5% redeem a retail gift card within 6 months of receiving;
  • 87.7% spend the same amount, or more than the amount of the retail gift card;
  • 50.9% like giving retail gift cards because they are convenient; and
  • 84.6% like receiving retail gift cards because they can purchase what they want.
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