VF Corp. CIO to retire
VF Corp. is getting a new technology leader.
Martin Schneider, the company’s VP and CIO will retire at the end of 2017. Sandra Harris, VP, global business technology, will succeed Schneider as VP and CIO, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Harris also has been appointed to VF’s senior leadership team.
Schneider has led VF’s global business technology organization for more than 11 years, “a period of tremendous business growth for VF and transformational change in retail through the rise of e-commerce and mobile shopping,” said Scott Roe, VP and CFO. “He and his teams successfully managed numerous large-scale projects that enabled VF and our brands to navigate rapid technological changes, while also ensuring that our associates have the tools and resources to work anywhere in the world.”
Harris is an eight-year veteran of VF, and previously served as VP and CFO, global supply chain, shared services, and direct-to-consumer for VF. She has deep and diverse finance and business experience, and has been a key member of VF’s global business technology leadership team, according to VF.
Harris will work closely with Schneider throughout the rest of 2017 to ensure the successful transition of responsibilities.
Target weighing options for Food + Future lab
Target’s food-based innovation lab, which was targeted to be shut down, may get a second lease on life.
Target’s Food + Future lab initiative ended up on the retailer’s chopping block — along with other innovative projects — as it refocuses efforts on its core business. However, on Tuesday, April 17, sources said an investor approached the chain with an offer, reported the Star Tribune.
In the report, Target said in a statement, “Our intent from the beginning was to incubate Food + Future within Target and then look at options for outside investment,” Target said in the report. “With that in mind, we have been working with the Food + Future team over the past few months to find interested outside investors. That exploratory work continues and we don't have further updates to offer at this time.”
Target launched Food + Future in January 2016, in conjunction with MIT Media Labs and the design firm Ideo. The lab focuses on areas including urban farming, food transparency and authenticity, supply chain and health.
Due to declining sales and a disappointing holiday season in 2016, Target reigned in a number of innovative projects, including the lab, in favor of more strategic, core initiatives, the report said.
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Struggling teen apparel chain invests in virtual stylist
Days after announcing it is closing hundreds of stores, Rue21 is taking steps to better connect with shoppers online.
Focusing on conversational commerce, the teen apparel retailer launched a personalized, interactive shopping experience via the chat-based Messenger app. Powered by mode.ai, the virtual stylist uses Messenger’s new Chat Extensions feature that allows users to interact with the shopping tool in group and one-on-one message threads with friends, the retailer said.
Rue21’s style bot features image-based visual styling suggestions; color and price search filters; size personalization, and styling inspiration, among other features. Messenger’s new Chat Extensions were launched this week at the Facebook F8 developer conference, making Rue21 “one of the first retailers to use this new feature,” said Brett Trent, the chain’s chief marketing officer. “This virtual stylist will allow our customer to have an engaging, personalized experience with just a few clicks.”
The online enhancement comes on the heels of the chain’s decision to close nearly 400 stores nationwide. While the chain struggles with increased competition from online and fast-fashion players, it will continue to operate 700 stores and its e-commerce site.