Buyers need to take more chances
In the years since the Great Recession, we’ve run numerous stories on this site stressing the need for retailers to tightly edit their inventories. I think it’s fair to say that many retailers became more conservative in their approach to buying during that time. One such retailer, according to The Wall Street Journal, is Saks Fifth Avenue, but that appears to be changing now that Marigay McKee, the former chief merchant at Harrods, has taken over as the president of the chain.
Ms. McKee, who once told Women’s Wear Daily that her intent was to leave customers "breathless," has brought that same attitude to Saks.
According to the Journal, she has asked the company’s financial guardian to give buyers more leeway to buy based on "instinct." That means the fall 2014 collection, the first full lineup under Ms. Mckee, will include some new and upcoming designers and a variety of price points including coats up to $20,000. The retailer had concentrated on more lower priced luxury items in recent years.
"Our customers already have everything they really truly need," Ms. McKee told the Journal. "We really have to offer rarer, more unique things."
In a RetailWire poll taken in September of last year when Ms. McKee’s hiring was made public, 75 percent of respondents were somewhat (31 percent) or very (44 percent) optimistic that Saks’ performance would improve under her leadership.
- Saks Gets a Daring Makeover – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Saks turns to Harrods for new leadership – RetailWire
What is your view on Marigay McKee’s philosophical approach to buying? Should buyers at retail rely more on their gut when making purchasing decisions? Should the leeway be greater in luxury fashion businesses as opposed to other segments?