FINANCE

Nordstrom to acquire online menswear retailer Trunk Club

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Seattle – After weeks of speculation, Nordstrom Inc. has entered into an agreement to buy Trunk Club, a five-year-old e-commerce site offering personalized clothing services for men.

The move aligns two high-service, high-fashion banners and expands Nordstrom’s reach into the fast-growing men’s market.

Trunk Club, led by CEO Brian Spaly, has made its mark by delivering a stylist service combining online convenience with a personalized shopping experience. The free, no-obligation style service offers a full suite of solutions, from day to day ready-to-wear basics to high-end custom garments.

"What Trunk Club is doing in the personal styling space is a natural extension of our core business," Erik Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct, said in a statement. "This acquisition is reflective of how we want to move quickly to evolve with customers by finding more ways to deliver a great shopping experience. One of the pillars of our long-term growth strategy is to integrate the online and offline customer experience, and the personal styling space is a great example of how these two worlds are coming together.”

Trunk Club will continue to operate independently through its website, mobile experience and in-store with showrooms in Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C. and, soon, Los Angeles. It will be managed by its current leadership team and remain headquartered in Chicago. Spaly, also the co-founder of trending menswear brand Bonobos, told the New York Times that Trunk Club is “barely profitable,” and expects revenue to just pass $100 million this year.

The deal is expected to close in Nordstrom’s third quarter; terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: Target generates most positive grocery sentiment

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cambridge, Mass. – Target is the grocery brand with the highest positive consumer sentiment rating. In a survey of the grocery habits of 763 consumers exclusively released to Chain Store Age, analytics technology provider Luminoso Technologies found that 60% of consumers had positive sentiment about Target as a grocery retailer.

Other grocery retailers with positive sentiment of more than 50% included Publix, Harris-Teeter, Safeway and Kroger. Shoprite was the most associated with convenience, Target was the most correlated with discussion surrounding pricing.

Sentiment analysis of grocery-related keywords also shows that people feel very strongly that they should have good “produce,” “seafood,” and “organic” products, while the “pharmacy” could use improvement. People are far less emotional about staples such as “bread”, “snacks”, and “milk.” People select grocery stores for their “selection,” favorite “brands,” and “variety,” while looking for improvement in the “checkout,” “carts,” and “aisles.”

Importance of price increased with respondents’ residential population density, and convenience had a slight premium for urban residents. Location was significantly more important to rural (24%) and urban (31%) respondents, as compared to suburb-dwellers (15%).

Looking at gender differences, men were slightly more likely to discuss location as a store selection factor (28% for men, 19% for women). Men were almost three times as likely to discuss what their stores could improve (34% to 12%).

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News

Pacific Sunwear SVP of women’s merchandising and design resigns

BY CSA STAFF

Pacific Sunwear’s SVP of women’s merchandising and design Christine Lee has resigned. Filling the role on an interim basis will be Brieane Breuer, who joined PacSun in 2007 and is the company’s current VP of women’s design.

Breuer received her master’s degree in fashion design and styling from Istituto Marangoni and during the past 13 years has held various merchandising and design roles at high-end fashion brands such as Valentino, as well as at Abercrombie & Fitch.

The company stopped short of saying why Lee resigned, but it did comment on its second-quarter guidance following challenges in its women’s business. The company said that it expects its non-GAAP loss from continuing operations per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 to be generally in line with analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.03, which compares favorably to the company’s previously issued non-GAAP guidance of $0.08 to $0.02.

"Sales trends across the business have generally improved in both June and July with men’s again on track to achieve a positive comp for the second quarter," said Gary H. Schoenfeld, president and CEO of Pacific Sunwear. "Based on the strength of our brand assortment, along with our leadership position with the men’s jogger for back-to-school, we expect men’s to continue its positive momentum as we look ahead to the third quarter."

With respect to its women’s business, the company is focused on four key areas: increasing the penetration of brands, leveraging the vision of its design team even more by leading with new trends, strengthening its non-apparel business and driving growth online.

"I appreciate all of the efforts Christine has put forth over the past four years to help re-position the PacSun business," added Schoenfeld. "I am eager to work even more closely with Brie and the rest of our women’s team to successfully tackle our key initiatives. I am excited by several recent creative concepts coming from our design team and optimistic that the women’s business can soon get back to positive comps as well."

As of July 31, the company operates 618 stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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