Study: Marketing’s influence in retail IT decisions growing sharply
Austin, Texas — The bond is growing stronger between retailers’ marketing and IT departments, and investments and activity in marketing-related IT projects are on the rise, according to a new study from EKN. More than 60% of the survey respondents indicated that the number of IT projects focused on marketing initiatives will increase in 2013 over last year.
The study, underwritten by premier sponsor CrossView and supporting sponsor Tata Consultancy Services, also revealed a greater role for marketers in the technology vendor selection process.
Other findings from the study, "Navigating the Intersection between Marketing and IT," include:
- Increasing customer loyalty and increasing customer engagement across channels are retail marketing teams’ top goals in 2013, and their number one expectation from technology solutions is to deliver them deeper customer insight.
- IT solutions for retail marketing need improvement. The survey found that 61% of retailers think their technology solutions for marketing require improvement, of which 33% state they require a complete refresh and limit their marketing teams from achieving their true potential.
- Talk of crippling disconnects between marketing and IT teams are exaggerated. Periodic review meetings between retailers’ marketing and IT functions are helping to improve communication. Respondents who report a "poor" alignment between these two teams state that lack of resources, communication and joint strategy are their biggest challenges.
Leadership, board changes at Delia’s
NEW YORK — Delia’s has appointed Tracy Gardner as the company’s new chief creative officer, and also as a member of the board of directors. Walter Killough, who back in January announced his intention to step down as CEO April 1, has agreed to remain in the role through August 2.
The company also named Michael Zimmerman chairman of the board, replacing Carter S. Evans, who will remain on the board.
In her new role, Gardner will be focused on the branding, merchandising and creative functional areas while Killough continues providing oversight on operations, finance and other areas of the business during the transition.
Gardner has more than 25 years of leadership experience in developing and growing omni-channel brands. She was with J.Crew from 2004 to 2010, most recently as president of retail and direct. Gardner was instrumental in revitalizing the brand, driving significant growth in sales and profitability. For the past year, she served as creative adviser to Gap Inc. Earlier in her career she held senior merchandising roles at the Gap brand, Banana Republic and Lands’ End.
“We are extremely pleased to have attracted such a highly talented executive to the Delia’s organization. Tracy is an exceptionally accomplished retailer with a proven track record that brings tremendous knowledge and experience in brand development and omni-channel retailing to our company. We look forward to leveraging her strategic vision and insight into our core customer. We would also like to thank Walter for agreeing to remain as our CEO through a transition period in order to allow Tracy to focus her initial efforts on branding, merchandising and creative for the important Back-to-School and Holiday seasons,” said Zimmerman.
“I am thrilled to join the Delia’s team. Delia’s is a great brand, and I look forward to working with the team to build even better product and a stronger connection with our customer,” added Gardner.
Delia’s, Inc. is a multi-channel retail company which operates under two lifestyle brands —Delia’s and Alloy — both of which carry apparel, accessories and footwear marketed to teenage girls and young women.
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Build-A-Bear-Workshop builds income, sales
St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop reported increased net income and sales the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same quarter a year earlier, despite closing some stores. The retailer’s adjusted net income rose to $2.3 million, compared to an adjusted net loss of $500,000 in the first quarter of last year.
Consolidated net retail sales were $102.9 million with 24 fewer stores compared to $95.2 million in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 8% excluding the impact of foreign exchange. Consolidated same-store sales increased 10.4%.
“We have had a strong start to the year with a double-digit increase in consolidated comparable store sales, growth in e-commerce and a return to profitability in the first quarter,” said CEO Maxine Clark. “Our positive trend has continued into the second quarter with year-to-date through April consolidated comps up 10.1%, which normalizes the change in the timing of East.”
Clark noted that the chain’s updated design has been met with a positive response.
“Our first six remodeled stores continue to have strong average sales increases of 25% and we expect to remodel approximately 25 additional stores in the new design in 2013,” she said.
The company expects to close an additional 30 to 45 stores in fiscal 2013 and 2014 to reach its optimal store count of 225 to 250 stores in North America. These closures are expected to transfer approximately 20% of sales to other stores in the same markets, consistent with the average transfer rate of the stores closed since 2011.
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