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Will Abercrombie’s desexualized strategy bring back sales?

BY CSA STAFF

Executives at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. think that taking the sex out of its ads will solve the retailer's traffic problems, according to new reports. But the retailer may have more work to do than just firing the beefcake models.

The Columbus Business Journal and the Washington Post report that Abercrombie announced Friday it will no longer use shirtless models inside its stores or in its ads. The move is part of a larger effort to reduce the company's sexualized imagery that at times has come under fire. The company, which includes both Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, said it will stop featuring "sexualized marketing" by July and give employees more freedom in what they wear to work.

But there's more to Abercrombie's troubles than just oversexed ads.

The data show that today's teens are more fickle, more picky and more individualistic than previous generations thanks to the Internet and specifically social media. Trends move a lot faster these days, and fast fashion retailers such as H&M and Forever 21 have moved quickly to keep up with these trends. Abercrombie has been slow to recognize trends.

Abercrombie has also lost its brand identity, suffered mismanagement problems, fired its founding CEO and weathered several rounds of bad press. These things are not easy to recover from.

In the meantime, Abercrombie also announced it will make stores more responsive to the needs of local shoppers by giving individual store managers control of product placement and also giving managers local sales goals and incentives. In-store scent, lighting and music will also be altered to provide a more pleasant sensory experience.

By July, store employees will be called “associates” instead of “models.” The store employees themselves have a less stringent dress code than the previous “look code,” although visible piercings other than earlobes and facial or neck tattoos are still prohibited.

“The brand is moving to a customer-centric store operating model and making it more convenient, friendlier and easier to shop,” the Post reported.

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HyVee chief picked to lead chain drug group

BY Ryan Chavis

New York — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced during its Annual Meeting, the election of new officers, four new executive committee members and five new board of directors member for the coming year.

Randy Edeker, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Hy-Vee will serve as the new NACDS chairman of the board of directors. Edeker succeeds John Standley, chairman and chief executive officer of Rite Aid.

In addition, Martin Otto, chief merchant and CFO of H-E-B, was elected vice chairman, and J.K. Symancyk, president of Meijer, was elected treasurer. Each officer will serve a one-year term.

“I congratulate Randy Edeker on his election as NACDS chairman of the Board of Directors,” said NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson, IOM, CAE. “During his service on the Executive Committee, Randy’s leadership helped drive NACDS’ activities on key industry issues and policies. His extraordinary leadership at Hy-Vee has driven continued success and further illustrates his commitment to the industry. We look forward to working with him in his new role with NACDS in the coming year.”

The NACDS Board also elected the following new executive committee members: Labeed Diab, president of health and wellness with Walmart; Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreens; Martin Otto, chief merchant and CFO of H-E-B; and J.K. Symancyk, president of Meijer.

The five new board of directors members, who were elected to serve three-year terms, include: Richard Ashworth, president, pharmacy and retail operations with Walgreens ; Helena Foulkes, president, CVS/pharmacy and EVP, CVS Caremark, with CVS Health; Jon Giacomin, CEO, pharmaceutical segment with Medicine Shoppe International; Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreen Co.; and David Neu, president, Good Neighbor Pharmacy.

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Retailing’s ‘Outstanding Mom’ to be honored in New York

BY Gina Acosta

New York — Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor president Liz Rodbell is among a group of high powered female executive due to be honored as Outstanding Mothers at a New York City event on May 7 emceed by HSN CEO and 2010 Outstanding Mother honoree Mindy Grossman.

Other honorees include Meredith Vieira, host and executive producer, “The Meredith Vieira Show”; Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief, Cosmopolitan and editorial director, Hearst Magazines; and Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, designer, creative director at Dee Ocleppo.

The National Mother’s Day Committee, an entity of the Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council, each year confers “Outstanding Mother” honors to recognize exceptional women for successfully building their careers, nurturing their families and helping improve the lives of others. The funds raised by The National Mother’s Day Committee’s annual “Outstanding Mother Awards” luncheons are donated to support meaningful family-related philanthropies.

The Father's Day / Mother's Day Council is a not-for-profit organization that strives to heighten the meaning and observance of the Father's Day and Mother's Day holidays, while raising funds for philanthropic purposes. Established in 1937, the council has donated over $20 million over the past 20 years to family-related charities nationwide.

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