Yes, the center store needs to be redone, but it is difficult although not insurmountable. Short angular aisles may be a start and a reshuffling of where things are might be helpful. This is just placement ... easy.As for big brands slipping, it is so difficult to make a penny! If private brands do more for the retailer, that's great and they are usually at lower cost, which is great for the customer too. I personally have found private labels to be very good. Kroger, Publix, Meier, Giant -- all have great private label offerings! Kudos to them!
Selfridges remembers and understands that the "show" is important. If you want people in your store then give them a reason to get up and out of their pajamas and into their car and into the parking lot and into the building -- and that requires a LOT more than a 25% extra off coupon.Look at what major department stores in ANY U.S. city would do 50 years ago. Look at what Selfridges does. There are a lot of various "things" going on in store.A lot of soap operas went off the air because they were expensive and "realty" TV was cheaper and more compelling. You must be compelling and there are a lo of ways to do that, but do it!No one who is failing understands that today...and it is so easy to sit on your couch and scroll!
Watching the back and forth fight and competition of these two behemoths (Walmart and Amazon), ongoing, seemingly independent and without thought or concern for other competitors (i.e. in relation to the complete and unfortunate lack of relevance of potential competitors), focused only on one another and both understanding need to get to where they each need or want to be.... I continue to be fascinated and mesmerized!This is not a surprise to me at all. Lack of similarity between WM and Bonobos is fine, actually even beneficial. WMT can learn from the Bonobos customer, but more importantly -- look at the blossoming empire being constructed!Jet.com Then, sports: MooseJaw Shoes: ShoeBuy Womens: ModCloth and now... Mens: BonobosWalmart already has grocery and continues to get better at Walmart online, the construction of an entire (department) e-commerce world that can fulfill whatever is neededIt is brilliant and not done yet, but starting to, or actually very much taking shape into the wonderful potential platform that Walmart may have online!I have no doubt that rooms of strategists at Amazon are daily digesting and evaluating the possibility that Walmart is building towards. If I were Walmart, I might try and get a spy into Amazon to try and discover benefits that Amazon may be afraid of that perhaps Walmart online division had not thought of....The ability to build and integrate these pieces will be a large task for Mr. Lore. But I think he is up for the challenge and while I respect and admire the incredible ability and smarts of Mr. Bezos, I am glad for if nothing else, good old fashioned capitalist competition, that there is one player with the ability and wherewithal to go full steam ahead and attack in its own right! The next decade is going to be incredible!(Personally, as a former Kroger guy I just hope Kroger can maneuver and survive -- and hopefully somehow prosper in the change, and possible craziness, to come!)Thank you all!
Great replies and I must agree with Mr. Livingston. It is not even fair to compare Save-A-Lot to Aldi (or Lidl) because the culture, offerings and customer base are completely different.I personally like Save-A-Lot and I hope they can survive. They serve a lot of distressed and depressed areas and some places would turn into food-deserts with out their presence! That may be their strong point. Hopefully Sav-A-Lot can be made into a profitable survivor in what has been a VERY difficult business. The grocery business is starting to look like the dry goods business -- those able to change and survive and those left behind -- very scary times. However, Sav-A-Lot as an industry leader ... well it is good to have goals, and that goal will make Sav-A-Lot a better competitor!
This whole thing seems ridiculous to me -- in my stupid naïve way of thinking. Please the customer and do what you can to make things right for them. The sales associate in a perfect world should have been able to go to the computer, find IF any of the customer's size was left anywhere in inventory, had it shipped to the store (free) or to his home (possibly with shipping? I say no, but I am not considering cost. However, a happy customer may be a good thing and worth assuming the shipping cost.) This should be possible today. There ARE retailers who can do this. Perhaps if the institution is so rigid and fixed in its way of operating, then those retailers need to go away so someone who can be more smooth in fulfillment CAN do the job. Perhaps that is what we are now witnessing day by day. Characteristics that make breaking down silos difficult are likely a result of a stale and un-evolving or rigid systems. If that cannot be changed then that retailer will be passed by for others who CAN do what the (likely young Millennial) customer wants.
First off, can I please say how incredibly out of touch the parking "plan" is? Come on! Telling people where to park without the ability to "patrol" that is herding cats -- Not on shopper is going to pay any attention to parking "reservations."Interesting that a wine and beer area is part of the "quick" trip side. They MUST have researched that. And what is "grab 'N go" food? Is this just a convenience store carved out of a Target location? If that is the case, then why not separate the entrances MORE, i.e. at side of the building, so the parking for the "in and out fast" crowd really has potential to be "in 'n out"?I agree that they should be complimented on an interesting idea. But I ALSO agree that assortment and in-stock merch should be first priority. Get all the ducks in a row and then look at new approaches for lay-out.I hope this works for them. I like Target, but there are other things that need to be attended to also....
Refresh -- YES! However, brand exclusivity and specialization should be job #1. Walmart WINS Price. Target cannot and should not play in that space -- Target can't win! Target needs to be better, and needs to be special. Then the customer will WANT to go. Special pairings and short time purchase opportunities should be pursued. This worked well in the past because it was different, not only from the other discount competitors like Walmart and unfortunately, soon to be gone Kmart, but will differentiate them from the off-pricers like TJX and Ross, and also from the mid department stores. Recall, the Missoni cooperation crashed the website in a few minutes and sold out just as fast. Assortment and aspirational merchandise will go far in helping out the situation.And the refresh initiative is terrific -- some locations ARE tired and worn. That will help too; a goodly amount!
Not certain if this will be the right medicine. Very scary I must admit. I feel badly for A&F. Their customer, as Mr. Arambula mentioned, has grown up and moved on and now has life needs far apart from being the cool kids in high school. I have asked a few younger "kids" at times about their preferences and A&F has been met with a "ho-hum" response. But I must admit, almost all of the stores like them cause a similar reaction -- I get NO excitement from them about much at all. Hollister, Aeropostale, American Eagle -- the younger kids I have talked to at times have given me no great reaction to any of them. I have at times received more positive reaction about Marshalls! (Perhaps I am simply talking to out-of-step kids?) The kids I have talked with do not seem inspired or energized, or excited by clothing of any sort!So I am GLAD A&F is trying something different. Maybe they will be able to excite the current teens and college kids to their brand again. (I MUST admit that I have had GREAT reaction to H&M, and to Zara -- for the ones familiar with Zara -- but ONLY those 2 retailers.)
Wow! Great responses so far, as usual. I agree with Ms. Holcomb that M&A greed has the potential to continue to destroy great institutions, and Macy's is no exception. I do not blame Mr. Lundgren for seeking the possibility of a sale. He and his team have worked really hard, only now to see it all potentially undone by people interested in a (possible) short-term gain. Like Mr. Kelly said, we are talking about thousands of employees and careers here.Macy's has the ability to be great again, so we are all singing her praises. But that takes time, talent and patience and that is definitely not compatible with unlocking value. Like Mr. Sundstrom reminded us, remember the disaster of Campeau! (COMPLETELY destroyed Allied.) And Mr. Lampert and poor poor Sears -- another mess. (Like Mr. Sward pointed out, Sears could have been the best hard goods seller in the country!) If the right buyer can be found, it may be the right thing. This is a TALL order though, given the size of the organization!
Target years ago was "chic" -- stylish and modern with offerings that people saw as different - and at a nice value. Shopping in their stores was -- dare I say -- "fun" because you didn't know WHAT cool thing they were going to have, whether in appliances or fast fashion. I seem to remember that they had some unique and fashionable offerings and they had GREAT collaboration with designers, even big names (Missoni). WHAT happened? Was it too much work to do that? Too much cost? That really set them apart. They were NOT viewed as a "discount" store -- or at least not a traditional discount store. That is when they were "Tar-zhay" and not Target.They can NOT be just another discount store -- we don't need that. Walmart is that and Walmart has beat Kmart. Target used to know that and they need to re-find that "specialness" -- they need to return to a compelling story and set themselves apart.
Pure gimmick, and -- what a windfall. We are ALL talking about this. Whoever thought this up should get a bonus because the company did not have to shell out for a commercial yet still got a lot of attention!
Amazon has changed everything! Much like the Google search engine -- you can Amazon it. No one says that but everyone thinks it. Everyone knows that on Amazon, you can buy anything and everything, whatever you want, at a great price and get it in 2 days! The Google site still has huge power in search and Facebook seems to have taken control of (a HUGE amount of) social networking. Amazon seems to be in control of online shopping and is THE answer a lot of the time, if not always for a lot of people. And MOST people are very happy -- just ask! And with their collaboration with individual vendors to be able to obtain obscure things, I do not know how you fight that if you are a traditional retailer.Amazon is SO good at so many aspects of the whole experience. Their goal really seems to be service and ease, and they get it so right! And on top of that, it's a great value proposition. They have "re-set" a very high bar, and they seem interested in trying to change and modify, and evolve to keep their place. We are in the process of a total change; things will be very different in 10 years and indeed were VERY different 10 years ago. It will be interesting to see who will be able to modify to and adapt -- to continue to compete. Yes. Amazon has changed shopping!
Well, I also lament the loss of the great regional nameplates and stores and the incredible local people who understood the market and ran those stores. It was a great time, without the likes of Walmart, Ross and TJMaxx Marshalls. Competition was each other, other regional department stores. It was fun and more genteel.But it is over. The landscape has moved beyond that ideology just as dinner theatre is no longer seen as a fun evening out. By the way, we now have at least one and possibly two generations who, for the most part, have NO IDEA of what that shopping experience was like. Find any 22 year old and say any of the names, e.g. Shillito's, Halle's, Kaufmann's, Hudson's, Rich's, Foley's, Robinson's, Burdine's etc., etc., etc. I guarantee that they will either NOT care or have NO idea of what you are speaking about.I believe Mr. Lundgren was correct, although he should have maintained Marshall Field's -- Field's was different But I do believe that he was right and as noted, we were applauding him and Macy's a few years ago when all was smooth. The problem is the format, but still, the in-store experience would do the MOST to change their fortunes. There MUST be a show and excitement -- Mr. Traub Knew that; Mr. Tansky knew that; Mr. Ullman knows that. (Mr. Ullman is the ONLY reason we still can choose J.C. Penney! And I think Mr. Ellison is doing a great job in a VERY difficult business.) But, in-store experience with a re-emphasis of trained smart knowledgeable sales associates would go far in changing fortunes. That is too expensive you say? Then the sector is failed and doomed.There must be a differentiating factor -- a reason to be -- that will drive the whole company forward. Nordstrom has that. I do NOT consider Nordstrom a "department store." I consider it more towards the specialty store format. But even with a department store there has to be more than coupons and a sale, there must be a compelling experience and this is lost, as said by Mr. Phibbs, all is "beiged." No differentiation, no excitement, no "reason." I do applaud Dillard's; they seem to be trying. But all, especially Macy's, can and should increase the customer experience where appropriate.Another question: Do the customers WANT that? Certainly in some places, yes, but perhaps not everywhere? Customers in many areas have been trained to hold price as king, so localization and modification as per market may be necessary. Again, KNOW your customer. What the old regional people knew 50 years ago may not be worthless; "one size" likely does not fit all! Different areas across the nation are very different in tastes, income and aspirations, and there needs to be catering to that. (The middle is a terrible situation, and becoming more and more so....)
I agree with Mr. Phibbs -- service and in-store experience will do more than anything else at improving the bottom line. People don't want to interact with store associates because generally, service is awful. I am sorry, but I usually know more about the merchandise than the person working on the floor and often, that person does not care! There is nothing you can do about that because we have devalued sales associates to simply be cashiers and we don't pay them anything near enough to make them give a darn, and we don't train them, because price is king and everyone is trying to maintain a profit to keep the store open!This environment is the result of the last 25 years. I do not know if you can fix that. I don't think so, not easily. That is why people would prefer to have no interaction, or interaction with technology instead of a salesperson. And if there is not going to be any service --which MAY be the answer for some retailers -- then it has to be easy.I think the problem is, we are getting to the point where we are going to have "price" and we are going to have "service." Some economists say we have a "disappearing middle class." If that is really true, then retail is going to suffer the same consequence and the "middle" will not be able to move forward because they will not have a customer base -- too expensive for the "price" group, too "downmarket" for the "service" group.