OPERATIONS

Study: Nordstrom is nation’s favorite fashion retailer; Dick’s tops for sports apparel

BY Marianne Wilson

Boulder, Col. — Nordstrom is the nation’s favorite fashion retail chain, according to an annual consumer study conducted by customer intelligence solutions provider Market Force Information. The upscale department store edged out Kohl’s, which had ranked first in the three previous studies. This year, Kohl’s moved to the No. 2 spot overall, followed by Macy’s, Dillard’s and J.C. Penney.

The study of more than 4,000 consumers was designed to uncover which fashion retail chains they like most, as well as why they prefer one to another. It also ranked the top retailers in five different fashion sub-categories, where Nordstrom emerged as the favorite for business wear and evening wear, Kohl’s for casual wear and children’s clothes, and Dick’s Sporting Goods for sports apparel.

“Nordstrom has cultivated a distinctive brand over the past century, and while it’s known for its selection of designer clothing, its real claim to fame is quality customer service,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. “We weren’t hugely surprised to see Nordstrom and Kohl’s rank one and two in this year’s study, since both brands share a customer-centric approach that breeds loyalty, recommendations and customer delight.”

Market Force also looked at how fashion retailers compared in various attributes to determine if they set apart the leaders from the rest. Nordstrom led in six of the eight attributes, from great service to merchandise selection. Banana Republic ranked second in the influential customer service category, followed by American Eagle Outfitters. Off-price retailers Ross, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls earned the highest marks for their value, while Kohl’s was lauded for its loyalty program.

“While all of these attributes combined provide a structure for an excellent customer experience, we discovered that a liberal return policy is the attribute that matters most to consumers,” said Eden-Harris.

While Nordstrom earned top honors as the favorite overall fashion retailer, other chains rose to the top when survey respondents were asked to rate their favorite brands in specific fashion categories.

Kohl’s landed in the top three in every category except evening wear, and was the overwhelming favorite in casual wear and children’s clothes. Nordstrom was the decisive leader in the business wear and evening wear categories, with Macy’s coming in a distant second in both. Dick’s was far and away the preferred retailer for sports clothing, followed by Sports Authority and Kohl’s. The children’s clothing category rankings were the closest, with Kohl’s edging out a lead over Carter’s, and Target taking the third-place spot.

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Former Michaels CEO named to interim chief post at Tuesday Morning

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — Tuesday Morning Corp. announced Monday that it has named Michael Rouleau as its interim CEO, effective immediately.

Rouleau, who served as president and CEO of Michaels Stores from 1996 to 2006, joined Tuesday Morning’s board last November. He will lead the clearance retailer until it hires a permanent CEO.

“Michael Rouleau is a highly-accomplished retail executive with an impeccable track record of meeting challenges similar to those we confront at Tuesday Morning," chairman of the board Steven R. Becker said in a statement.

Rouleau succeeds Brady Churches, who has resigned as Tuesday Morning’s CEO but will remain as a consultant, said the company.

Tuesday Morning has retained search firm Spencer Stuart to locate a permanent chief.

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Supervalu announces divisional leadership changes

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Minneapolis — Supervalu announced Monday that it will make sweeping changes among its executive ranks as part of a previously announced right-sizing program.

Newly minted president and CEO Sam Duncan has named former Kroger VP Mark Van Buskirk as EVP merchandising and marketing for Supervalu, charged with oversight of retail merchandising and marketing.

Former Albertsons executive Rob Woseth has been named EVP chief strategy officer, overseeing real estate and corporate development, as well as strategic growth opportunities.

Former Fred Meyer procurement executive Steve Fox has been named SVP food merchandising.

Among its other banners, Supervalu has named Ritchie Casteel as president and CEO of Save-A-Lot. Casteel spent 30 years in leadership positions with Albertsons Inc. Other appointments include: Eric Hymas has been named president of Shop ‘N Save, replacing Marlene Gebhard; Bill Parker has been named president, Farm Fresh, after serving for the past seven months in the role of interim president; Brian Audette will continue as president of CUB Foods; Matt Leiseth will continue as president of Hornbacher’s; and Bob Bly will continue as president of Shoppers.

Departing the company, according to Duncan, are Kevin Holt, president of Supervalu Retail; Tim Lowe, EVP merchandising; and Michael Moore, EVP and chief marketing officer.

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