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Sales events to make a comeback at J.C. Penney

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — J.C. Penney is changing course on its no-sales policy. It was just one year ago that the retailer, amid much fanfare, announced it was nearly eliminating sales events from its stores in favor of a three-tier pricing strategy and everyday low pricing. But on Monday the Associated Press reported that J.C. Penney is not only bringing back sales promotions to its stores, but will also add price tags or signs for approximately half of its merchandise that will show the "manufacturer’s suggested retail price" next to J.C. Penney’s "everyday" price.

For store branded items, J.C. Penney will show comparison prices for similar merchandise from competitors. Comparison prices, however, will not be shown for merchandise that is part of the exclusive partnerships J.C. Penney has entered into with brands such as Mango.

J.C. Penney’s decision to strictly limit promotional events, one part of CEO Ron Johnson’s ambitious reinvention plan for the company, has not gone over well with consumers. The company has struggled, reporting three consecutive quarters of drops in sales and profits. Industry analysts expect more of the same for the fourth quarter. J.C. Penney will announce its results in February.

J.C. Penney is not revealing how many sales events it will offer. But the company said the number will be well below the nearly 600 that it used to offer prior to Johnson’s new strategy, according to the report.

Johnson told the Associated Press that the decision to bring back sales was an "evolution" of his strategy.

"Our sales have gone backward a little more than we expected, but that doesn’t change the vision or the strategy," said Johnson in the report. "We made changes and we learned an incredible amount. That is what’s informing our tactics as we go forward."

To promote the price comparison strategy, J.C. Penney will air TV, print and digital ads, the report said.

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Macy’s realigns exec team on CAO’s retirement

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — Macy’s has assigned additional responsibilities to several of its executives following the retirement of Thomas Cole, chief administrative officer, who is leaving the company in May after 41 years of service.

Cole’s responsibilities have been re-assigned as follows:

• William S. Allen has joined Macy’s, effective today, as chief human resources officer. Allen, a seasoned corporate human resources executive who previously served as senior vice president of AP Moller-Maersk A/S, joins the Macy’s executive committee and reports to Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer. Allen will oversee Macy’s human resources, diversity strategies, and corporate communications and external affairs functions. In addition, Allen will have administrative responsibility for the law function that reports directly to Lundgren.

• Robert B. Harrison, previously Macy’s executive vice president for omnichannel strategy, is assuming the newly-created role of chief omnichannel officer, reporting to Lundgren. He also will join the company’s executive committee. In addition to his existing role managing the development of strategies to closely integrate the company’s stores, online and mobile activities, Harrison will assume responsibility for systems and technology, logistics and related operating functions.

• Karen M. Hoguet, Macy’s chief financial officer, will assume additional responsibility for credit and customer services, real estate, non-merchandise purchasing and sustainability. All of the company’s finance and accounting functions report to Hoguet. In addition, she will have administrative responsibility for the internal audit function that reports directly to Lundgren. Hoguet is a member of the Macy’s executive committee and reports to Lundgren.

• Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief stores officer, will assume additional responsibility for store planning, design and construction. The company’s nationwide portfolio of Macy’s stores, as well as the region, district and central stores organization and visual merchandising, continue to report to Sachse. He is a member of the Macy’s executive committee and reports to Lundgren.
"Our company remains on a path of continuous improvement and growth, and the foundation of our success is the strength of talent at every level of our organization," Lundgren said. "These adjustments to our senior leadership team provide continuity and strengthen our ability to innovate as we work to maximize results in the years ahead from our core business strategies, including My Macy’s localization, omnichannel alignment, and customer engagement.

"Our company and I owe a great debt of gratitude for the skill and leadership of Tom Cole in guiding the company’s operations and key corporate functions through periods of unprecedented change. Tom’s influence has been particularly profound over the past seven years as we integrated the acquisition of The May Department Stores Company, migrated to the nationwide Macy’s brand, developed new business and organization structures, aggressively pursued our omnichannel vision and improved our customer shopping experience. Tom played a key role in these subjects and many, many more. While we wish Tom continued health and happiness in the next chapter of his life, I am confident in knowing that ours is a better and stronger company today because of his exceptional work over the past four decades," Lundgren said.

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Taylor Swift forges new relationship with Diet Coke

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA — Songstress Taylor Swift has signed on as the new face of Diet Coke’s "Stay Extraordinary" campaign, which celebrates the self-assured and aspirational people who enjoy Diet Coke everyday.

Six-time Grammy winner Swift will serve as a program ambassador for several Diet Coke initiatives and will be integrated into all key marketing efforts for the brand – including advertising, retail activation, experiential and more. In an evolution of Diet Coke’s Stay Extraordinary campaign, Swift will be featured in television, print and digital advertising scheduled to launch this spring.

"Taylor’s unmatched business savvy, talent and drive to succeed are an inspiration to everyone. She’s an extraordinary individual and a wonderful symbol of achievement," said Katie Bayne, president North America Brands, The Coca-Cola Company. "Taylor tells us that every day Diet Coke plays a small part in helping her stay extraordinary. It’s one of the many reasons she’s the ideal partner to represent our brand."

The partnership will put fans at the forefront of everything Swift and Diet Coke do together. Diet Coke’s social media channels will serve as a Backstage Pass for fans. Ongoing videos, photos and updates from Swift will give fans a rare glimpse into her extraordinary life and career.

Diet Coke also will give fans extraordinary access to Swift — both online and in person – throughout her highly anticipated Red Tour, which kicks off March 13 in Omaha, Neb. This week, Swift celebrates her second consecutive week at #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart with “I Knew You Were Trouble.”, the second worldwide chart-topper from her 5+ million-selling current album RED. Taylor was just awarded Best International Act honors at last week’s Premios Principales Awards in Spain.

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