Roulston Research August 9th Retail Roundtable with Former Target and Kohl’s Executives

August 14, 2012

Roulston Research hosted a Retail Roundtable last week with Dick Seesel, Former Senior Vice President at Kohl’s, and Gary White, Former CEO United Retail Group and Gymboree, Former COO at Wet Seal, and Former Vice President at Target. JC Penney posted its second straight quarter of severe sales declines since changing its pricing strategy last winter during the time of the roundtable. In addition, last week the company introduced the first of its boutiques within a store, the other prong of Penney’s transformation that will eventually see each store carved into a collection of 100 spaces for brands such as Levi’s, Jonathan Adler, and Betsey Johnson. One of Dick’s major concerns is if JC Penney will have the time to pull of the strategy. He feels the right thing for JC Penney to do is to appeal to the younger customers. While business continues to be softer than anticipated, he is confident the transformation of the company is on track. Weaning shoppers off discounts will take time, he said.

Best Buy has found success in its smaller format stores in malls and elsewhere, including Best Buy Mobile locations. However, most consider the consumer electronic retailer’s move to a smaller format as more of a necessity to adapt rather than an opportunity to capture new consumers thanks to increased competition from e-commerce retailers like Amazon.com. Target will get started by taking some leases for Zellers discount stores in Canada owned by closely held Hudson’s Bay Co and gradually convert them into the Target format. Canadian customers are less fashionable than their American counterparts and the Canadian retail industry has very strong labor unions with customers that are price sensitive. These are the key issues that Target might face in Canada as they continue to increase their international presence. These companies along with Macy’s, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx, Ross Stores, Wet Seal, Forever 21 and many others were discussed at length during the event along with their thoughts on trends facing industry. If you are interested in listening to the podcast from the event or engaging Dick or Gary in a 1 on 1 discussion please contact info@roulstonresearch.com.

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