Macy’s consolidates merchandising ops, cuts 100 jobs
Macy's is streamlining its merchandising operations, expanding its exclusive products and putting increased emphasis on customer insights and data analytics as new CEO Jeff Gennette begins to make his mark on the ailing department store giant.
In a move that will result in a loss of about 100 jobs, Macy's is consolidating three functions – merchandising, planning and private brands – into a single merchandising department organized around five ‘families-of-business’ (ready-to-wear, center core, beauty, men’s and kid’s, and home). It will be led by 35-year Macy's veteran Jeff Kantor, who currently serves as chief stores and human resources officer. Kantor will report to Hal Lawton, the newly announced president of Macy's and a former senior executive of eBay.
The new merchandising structure will be supplemented by strengthened customer insights and data analytics, which the company is expanding to include inventory replenishment and pricing capabilities.
"The changes we are making today maintain our core merchandising skills while massively simplifying our structure and processes for greater speed and flexibility," said Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette. "We are also further strengthening our consumer insights and data analytics capabilities so we can make better decisions faster, balancing the art and science of retail.”
Gennette added that Macy's plans to grow its exclusive merchandise offering to 40% of its business. He called exclusivity a "great customer loyalty tool."
"Having a single lens for each family-of-business will allow us to expedite our strategy of delivering this edited, elevated and exclusive assortment to our best customers," Gennette stated. "To achieve this, we will aggressively grow our private brands while also offering the best national brands."
Macy's estimates it will save approximately $30 million on an annual basis related to the restructuring, some of which may be used for reinvestment in the business. It anticipates one-time costs of approximately $20 million to $25 million associated with this restructuring, to be booked primarily in the third quarter of 2017.
Walmart expands online grocery delivery via Uber
The nation's largest retailer continues to beef up its defenses against Amazon.
Walmart is expanding its online grocery delivery pilot via Uber to Orlando and Dallas. The pilot is currently ongoing in Phoenix and Tampa, Fla. (The chain also runs its own grocery delivery service in Denver and San Jose, California.) Walmart announced the expansion just days prior to a scheduled vote by Whole Foods Market's shareholders on its pending acquisition by Amazon.
"We’ve been testing delivery in a number of ways for a while now in key markets across the country," said Mike Turner, VP, eCommerce operations, Walmart, in a blog on the company's website. "In some areas, we’re trying general merchandise deliveries led by associates. In others, we’re testing grocery delivery using Walmart trucks and drivers. We’re working hard to find a way to get you fresh, quality groceries all while keeping a little more time on your calendar.
Under the pilot with Uber, after the customer's order is prepared, an Uber driver comes to the appropriate Walmart store, picks up the order and takes it directly to the customer’s location.
In addition its grocery delivery pilots, Walmart offers customers the ability to pick up online grocery orders at some 900 of its stores.
Wal-Mart envisions ‘floating warehouse’
Amazon isn't the only retailer thinking about drones.
Wal-Mart Stores has applied for a patent for a blimp-styled "floating warehouse" that could make deliveries directly to shoppers’ homes via drones, Bloomberg reported.
The machine would fly at heights between 500 ft. and 1,000 ft. and be equipped with multiple launching bays. It would be operated autonomously or by a remote human pilot.
Amazon was granted a patent for a similar type of vessel in April 2016, Bloomberg said.
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