OPERATIONS

Study: H&M luring the most new customers to its stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Boulder, Col. — More consumers are trying new fashion retailers this year compared to last year – and most are buying when they do. H&M is the retailer that consumers reported visiting for the first time most often, followed by Kohl’s, Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch and Forever 21.

That’s according to a survey of 4,000 consumers by Market Force Information, a global customer intelligence solutions company, which found that 39% had tried a new retailer in the past three months, an increase from 32% in 2011 and 14% in 2010.

Out of the top-ranking retailers in the study, H&M did the best job of attracting new customers for the second time in a row. The Swedish fast-fashion retailer received the highest ranking when the survey votes were indexed to account for number of locations per chain. Kohl’s secured the No. 2 spot, up from its sixth-place finish in Market Force’s previous retail study in late 2011, and Macy’s moved from No. 11 up to third place. Coldwater Creek and White House|Black Market both fell significantly this year from their top-five ranking in 2011.

Market Force also found:

  • Sales/promotions were the leading impetus for those who tried a new retailer — newspaper, TV and magazine ads ranked among the lowest.
  • Consumers were most likely to try a new store when shopping for casual clothing versus business attire.
  • Highly satisfied consumers were six times more likely to recommend a retailer to others. The retailers that delivered a top-notch experience saw the payoff in the cash register. Of the shoppers who reported being highly satisfied by their initial visit, 90% said they made a purchase. The most-bought items were casual clothes, accessories, business apparel and evening wear. Those highly satisfied customers also planned to return – 90% said they would shop at this retailer again within the next 90 days.
  • Social media has lost some of its influence on retailer preferences.

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Founder Schulze returns to Best Buy as chairman emeritus

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Shortly after abandoning buyout possibilities of his former company, Best Buy co-founder and former chairman Richard Schulze announced Monday that he is returning to the retailer as chairman emeritus.

Schulze, who is Best Buy’s largest shareholder, is nominating two former Best Buy executives to join him on the board: former CEO Brad Anderson and former COO Al Lenzmeier.

"My dedication to the company that I founded and love is unwavering and, together with [current CEO Hubert Joly] and the board, I determined that the best way to support Best Buy would be to return in support of the initiatives underway,” said Shulze. "At the same time, it is a great privilege to nominate to the board two long-time colleagues, Brad Anderson and Al Lenzmeier, who helped build Best Buy into what it is today and will continue adding great value in their new role."

Schulze resigned as chairman last May and left the board in June after Best Buy’s internal investigation uncovered that he was aware of then-CEO Brian Dunn’s relationship with a female staffer.

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Limited Brands temporarily changes name to L Brands

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — A Monday report by Reuters said that Limited Brands has temporarily changed its name to L Brands Inc. The report cited a Friday regulatory filing.

The operator of Victoria’s Secret and Henri Bendel is implementing a pre-planned transition process that was required after the 2010 sale of Limited Stores, LLC.

The company is expected to announce a new permanent name in the coming months.

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