Roulston Research Retail Roundtable with Former Urban Outfitters and J. Crew Executives

October 16, 2012

Roulston Research recently hosted their Retail roundtable on Oct 11, 2012 featuring former retail executives, Arnold Cohen and John Kyees, each with over 25 years of experience in the retail industry. Arnold Cohen is currently the CEO of Raspberry Red, a SEO and social media firm advising a number of retail related businesses on strategy including American Eagle Outfitters, The Camuto Group, DSW, and more. He has held senior executive positions in Gucci, J. Crew, Macy’s, American Eagle and others, domestically and abroad.  John Kyees, who recently retired in 2010, is the former CFO of Urban Outfitters, former CFO and Chief Administrative Officer of Bebe Stores, and former CFO of Express, a division of The Limited Brands. As retailers become the topic of discussion this holiday season, many retailers are feeling the pinch and are struggling to improve operations and market share, given the current economy, fierce competition and online trends. These economic factors have led to a series of changes in their operations that may prove successful or disastrous.

Some of the discussion includes Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) inability to define their customer base and their lack of an effective market segmentation strategy, resulting in poor store presentations and underperformance among its stores. While Abercrombie & Fitch struggle to define their target customer, Aeropostale struggles to establish a brand definition and improve their flawed pricing scheme and promotions strategy, which comes across as confusing to their customers and distort the value of their brand. On a brighter note, American Eagle has been riding high lately and continues to be one of the most successful teen brands in the apparel sector, showing their prominence in the jeans segment. Express Inc. has changed its previous strategy giving a darker appearance and attitude and has seemed to have abandoned their sexy appeal previously sought. Finally, Department stores, specifically T.J Maxx are getting more aggressive this season and those who understand their business environment will continue to thrive in the current market. Companies that are covered and not mentioned above include Gilly Hicks, Urban Outfitters, Kohl’s, Macy’s and more. If you are interested in listening to the podcast from the event or engaging Arnold or John in a 1 on 1 discussion please contact info@roulstonresearch.com.

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