Retailing has swung to the extremes, especially since the onset of the Great Recession, as consumers gravitated to deep discounters on one end and luxury goods merchants on the other.
A clear example of the polarity in the marketplace was covered in a recent article on BuzzFeed, which showed The TJX Companies, owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods, has achieved annual sales greater than J.C. Penney, Sears, Nordstrom and Gap. TJX's annual sales, at $27.4 billion, are not far behind Macy's at $27.9 billion, even though the department store chain has roughly 40 percent more square footage.
"We believe our customer penetration levels in the U.S. remain below those of most department stores and the opportunity to expand our international reach is vast. We continue to target a very wide customer demographic," said TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz in the company's earnings call this week. "As we work to drive customer traffic, we plan to be even more aggressive with our marketing. In the second quarter, we have significant increase planned in our overall media impressions in the U.S. and U.K."
TJX is also putting increased emphasis on building customer loyalty while taking a slow but steady approach to e-commerce.
"Our TJX rewards loyalty program is another way we can attract more customers, increase shopping frequency and encourage shopping across our chain," said. Ms. Meyrowitz. "We are expanding our successful credit card loyalty program to including a non-credit card choice. We've seen from our test, it's a great way to invite even more customers to join our loyalty program and have plans to roll out this new option nationwide in the U.S. in the second quarter."
Ms. Meyrowitz said the company's e-commerce numbers were above plan in the most recent quarter. "We continue to add more categories and open more vendors. We are investing carefully as we learn more about our online including the differentiation from brick-and-mortar stores."
Where do you see the greatest opportunities for growth within retail?