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Role Reversal

BY Marianne Wilson

JustFab, the fast-growing fashion subscription e-commerce brand, has joined the growing ranks of pure online players venturing into brick-and-mortar. The company made its retail debut in Glendale Galleria, Glendale, Calif., opening a 3,000-sq.-ft. flagship that combines digital and traditional retailing.

“We’ve heard from our members that being able to see and try on products before they buy is still an important part of the shopping experience for them,” said co-CEO Adam Goldenberg. “With the JustFab flagship, we’re giving current VIP members and new customers a new way to connect with the brand and to experience the JustFab world in person.”

Founded in 2010 as a members-only footwear retailer, JustFab has expanded its reach and its offerings. It now counts more than 33 million members around the globe and has a portfolio of brands. In August, it acquired ShoeDazzle, which it is maintaining as a distinct brand.

Each month, JustFab sends members a new selection of shoes, handbags and other items tailored to their individual tastes, with all JustFab branded items priced at $39.95. Members can skip buying any month, as long as they notify the company by the fifth of the month. Non-members can shop the site, but pay a premium price for items. (The site also offers a range of products for less than $39.95.)

With its clean, sleek lines and white background, the JustFab store has a modern, fashion-oriented look. The space is designed to mirror the brand’s online shopping experience and features curated product displays with trend story videos. Sales assistants are trained to offer personalized fashion advice. Customers can sign up to become members, making them eligible for the exclusive pricing. And similar to the online model, shoppers who don’t want to become a member can purchase items at regular retail price.

The store’s sales assistants are equipped with iPad mini devices on which they can access a proprietary app, using it to check inventory or send product requests without having to leave the customer’s side. The retail app also makes it easy for stylists to create wish lists for customers, get real-time status updates of customer requests or access customer accounts.

As to future expansion, company spokesperson Alice Chung told CSA: “Our hope is that this flagship is going to be tremendously successful, and we are going to look at other footprints across the country.”

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‘Virtual’ Global Growth

BY Barbara Thau

Demand for American brands around the globe is getting bigger every day. There are currently more than 2 billion prospective global customers, and about 25% of the traffic from U.S. retail sites comes from international shoppers, according to industry experts, with Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Russia and Hong Kong currently the top international markets for U.S. retailers.

“Consumers around the world covet iconic American [retail] brands like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue that are just not available in the countries they live,” said Kris Green, chief strategy officer, Borderfree, an e-commerce technology and services company that works with U.S. companies to make sure their e-commerce sites don’t get lost in translation.

In addition to handling the logistics of U.S. retailers global e-commerce operations, Borderfree provides market intelligence on countries worldwide. It also localizes the sites for international consumers so that Crate & Barrel’s Brazilian Web shoppers, for example, are greeted in Portuguese and are shown prices in Euros.

Marketing and merchandising to local tastes and preferences is critical to wooing a global audience. Retailers also need to be aware of country-specific shopping patterns.

“For example, Canadians tend to shop in the evening after work,” Green said, “Australians tend to shop on their lunch hour, and in markets such as the U.K., a ‘free returns’ message will have a positive impact on sales.”

Lane Bryant, the 800-store U.S. women’s plus-sized fashion retailer, started its online global push in 2011 after noticing heavy international traffic at its tourist-frequented New York and Los Angeles stores. The retailer partnered with Borderfree, launching in Canada.

“They have the scale and expertise that we don’t have in shipping to more than 100 countries,” said George Hanson, VP e-commerce, Lane Bryant, a division of Ascena Retail Group, Suffern, N.Y.

The retailer currently sells in more than 100 countries with Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel and Mexico its biggest markets. Lane Bryant is working with Borderfree to grow its online global revenue by customizing its pricing in top international markets and tailoring its e-commerce marketing efforts, country by country.

“They (Borderfree) can help us understand local marketing practices, introduce us to local advertising agencies, online shopping engines and malls, holidays that matter, and influential bloggers who can help carry the brand message,” Hanson said.

On a category basis, Lane Bryant has already identified intimate apparel as a growth opportunity in global markets.

The plus-sized market is even more under-served overseas than it is in the United States, Hanson added.

Barbara Thau is a New York City-based business writer.

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Top 50 Global Retailers

BY Ray Gaul

Kantar Retail’s Market Insights team recently updated all forecasts on global retail — a highly collaborative process that gains particular momentum the first half of the year as retailers report full-year performance for the prior fiscal period. The updated reports rank retailers by Kantar’s 2013 sales estimates, and include growth projections for the next five years. Highlights from this cycle’s updated Top 50 Global ranking include some key landscape shifts, and point to several important predictions Kantar foresees over the next few years.

Leading the Pack

Competition in the global retail landscape grows fierce, and Kantar continues to see the impact of nontraditional channels making inroads into grocery and other key categories. Top global players are making critical investments and decisions to win.

Retailers headquartered in the United States made a few significant upward moves in 2013, jockeying for position in the Top 10. Wal-Mart Stores still retains the No. 1 spot by a long shot, yet it will be interesting to watch how this retailer’s future growth and sales mix take shape with current investments in global markets, smaller formats, in-store upgrades and its online business.

Costco notably inches upward to the No. 3 spot, ousting U.K.-based Tesco. Costco, a consistently strong performer, is focusing much of its ongoing expansion strategy in the international space. New European markets are on the horizon for this retailer; and while entry into France has been challenging, operations in Spain are set to take off at the end of the year.

Kroger makes the Top 5 this year, moving to the No. 5 spot. Kroger is the only retailer in the Top 10 without an international presence; however, this grocer certainly has the strategy and resources toward expanding its regional reach. Kroger recently announced its acquisition of regional grocer Harris Teeter in a $2.5 billion deal, giving Kroger a 200-plus store count boost in the southeastern region of the United States.

Carrefour holds on to its No. 2 position, and Tesco slips to No. 4. Both retailers pulled out of several international operations over the past year, but each is calibrating its portfolio through diversified formats and new markets. Schwarz Group moves up to the No. 6 spot, as European discounters continue to dominate and evolve.

Target debuts in the Top 10 at No. 10; and while Amazon sits at No. 11, the retailer makes a sizeable jump from its No. 15 spot last year.

Global Penetration

Nearly 80% of the Top 50 Global retailers have operations outside of their home market. Two retailers with headquarters in emerging markets are now full members of the Top 50 — Suning from China and X5 from Russia. Suning, an electronics specialist and appliance retailer, has grown sales through strong organic store growth, but is making key strategic decisions to watch. The retailer is making sizeable investments in its e-commerce business and globalization strategy. Kantar anticipates more Top 50 unseating of the primarily American, Japanese and European retailers over the next half decade.

Looking Forward

Other key predictions for the next few years include:

► 2013 will be the last year that Wal-Mart is under a “half trillion dollars” in annual retail revenue.

► 2013 will also be the last year that Amazon is ranked outside the “Global Top 10.”

► Kantar anticipates that in 2014 both Kroger and Schwarz Group will join the “$100 billion” club. Only five retailers in history have achieved this milestone — the Metro Group is the only retailer that joined the group and then left.

► Wal-Mart and Amazon will contribute to the highest percentage of sales added in the next five years.

Clients can access Kantar’s new ranking reports for the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Global at kriq.com.

Ray Gaul is VP research and analytics for Kantar Retail.

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C.Mathewson says:
Mar-16-2014 08:33 am

No wonder Wal-Mart is number
No wonder Wal-Mart is number one, aside from being the world's second largest public corporation it is also the biggest private employer in the world. Kudos to the Walton family who still owns over fifty percent of Walmart.

C.Mathewson says:
Mar-16-2014 08:33 am

No wonder Wal-Mart is number one, aside from being the world's second largest public corporation it is also the biggest private employer in the world. Kudos to the Walton family who still owns over fifty percent of Walmart.

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