As a prelude to the upcoming World Retail Congress in London (Sept. 19-21), five retail leaders who will be speaking at the event participated in the following Q&A:
What would you say is the biggest issue facing retailers today?
Steve Sadove, CEO and chairman of Saks Inc.: “To remain relevant and meet the needs of customers’ dramatically changing shopping habits, retailers today must quickly and effectively transform into omni-channel organizations. This requires an enormous amount of talent, planning, and commitment of an organization’s monetary and non-monetary resources.”
Ian Cheshire, Group CEO, Kingfisher plc: “Creating distinctive offers in a transparent, commoditized, connected world”.
Ian McCleod, managing director, Coles: “The biggest issue facing retailers is how to engage frugal consumers who are seeking better value on the internet, requiring retailers to expedite multi‐channel retailing”.
Sanjay Kapoor, managing director, Genesis Luxury: “One of the biggest challenges facing retailers today is the extremely high rental cost, especially in markets such as India. The cost of real estate in India today is more than Shanghai and New York. This is due to lack of sufficient supply despite increasing demand for the right retail infrastructure.”
Hugo Bethlem, executive VP, Grupo Pão de Açucar: “The Brazilian macro-economic indicators suggest that it should be delivering a strong consumer environment with good revenue distribution, the lowest ever unemployment rate, low inflation, access to credit and falling interest rates. But retail sales are not as great as they could be. The second half of 2012 is expected to be stronger than the first half and the opportunity for consolidation and market share gains are positive.”
What guarantees success in today’s retail climate?
Steve Sadove: “I don’t think success is ever ‘guaranteed.’ You can certainly improve your chances if you have clarity of vision throughout the organization and a talented, innovative, and experienced team that understands, embraces, and executes that vision. But the team must be agile and adaptable too to make strategic adjustments as the environment changes.”
Ian Cheshire: “Nothing, but the nearest thing is to have the best possible team.”
Ian McLeod: “An unrelenting focus on the customer and the key drivers of customer demand – quality, service and value.”
Hugo Bethlem: “The customer is becoming more and more demanding, wanting greater assortment, best prices, great service and the products they want to buy at any time and in any way. This reinforces that multichannel and omni-channel is the future of retail.”
Sanjay Kapoor: “The 3 Ps of successful retail in today’s challenging climate are Place, Price and Promotion. Place meaning the right location for your brand based on the consumer demographic it caters to, the right price, which should be more or less at par with pricing of the brand in other overseas markets too, since the consumer is well travelled and compares prices, and finally the right promotion around the brand, a well-defined A&P plan. These three factors are critical to the success of any brand.”
Former Walmart exec David Hoodis joins Natural Insight’s advisory board
STERLING, Va. — Former Walmart executive David Hoodis has joined the corporate advisory board of Natural Insight, a private retail technology company engaged in workforce management.
“We feel privileged to have access to David’s respected experience in workforce innovation. His success with numerous leading retailers brings us an added perspective that enables us to stay even further ahead of market need,” stated Stefan Midford, president and CEO of Natural Insight in making the announcement.
A former Walmart and Modell’s Sporting Goods executive, Hoodis is a recognized expert in retail innovation and workforce efficiency. The addition to Natural Insight’s advisory board comes at a time of rapid company expansion in retail markets.
While at Modell’s Sporting Goods, Hoodis served as EVP. He also draws upon eight years of experience with Walmart, where as a corporate officer he spanned many roles, to include U.S. store operations, where he had responsibility for all day-to-day initiatives, strategic planning and direction, field communication and customer service.
Nine West takes next step in social media
NEW YORK — Nine West has launched a new YouTube network called Channel 9 that will feature premium programming and user-generated content.
"What we are creating goes far beyond providing branded content," says Richard Dickson, president and CEO of The Jones Group. "Channel 9 is a new and innovative first-to-market portal for the footwear and fashion obsessed that will bring brand adjacent content and entertainment to viewers. We believe that a destination of this caliber is missing and will be welcomed by an audience that we know is actively consuming content across multiple digital channels."
Channel 9 is accessible via NineWest’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages.
Channel 9 will be produced by Hud:sun Media for Nine West. Hud:sun Media is a leading Hollywood production company producing the hit series "Pregnant in Heels" for Bravo and the new docuseries "I’m Having Their Baby" for Oxygen. Hud:sun Media is also a leader in innovative and highly successful digital content, having created the Hulu hit series "Genuine Ken: The Search for the Great American Boyfriend" with Mattel, "Rebecca’s Style Studio" with Rebecca Minkoff for Yahoo! and a new upcoming style series with Nina Garcia for AOL.
Michael Rourke, CEO of Hud:sun Media said, "It’s rare to be able to work with brands as forward thinking and innovative as Nine West and The Jones Group. What we will be able to produce on Channel 9 will rival the content of any portal or network with great stories, amazing personalities and practical information for every woman who loves shoes and fashion."
The channel will be promoted through substantial marketing initiatives including advertising in taxi cabs and digital panels near subway entrances in New York City, national media buys and partnerships with influential fashion websites, amplification over Nine West’s digital and social media channels, and an extensive public relations campaign. There will also be experiential activations in New York during Fashion’s Night Out that include "confessional" booths for customers to upload their own videos in select Nine West stores, and a partnership with Fiat to create a mobile "confessional" for New York Fashion Week.