Will a former eBay and Home Depot exec help Macy’s get turned around?
Macy’s announced yesterday the hiring of Hal Lawton, eBay’s senior vice president, North America, as its new president.
As Macy’s president, Mr. Lawton will be responsible for merchandising, marketing, stores, operations, technology, consumer insights and analytics. He will report to Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette who previously held the title of president at the company. He joins Macy’s at a time when the company has seen sales decline for 10 straight quarters.
Mr. Lawton brings with him a strong background in digital operations and technology. At eBay, he was responsible for overseeing marketing, merchandising, operations, advertising, business and consumer selling as well as global shipping. Prior to joining eBay, Mr. Lawton spent 10 years at Home Depot in various roles, including SVP for merchandising. He was responsible for starting the home improvement chain’s e-commerce business, helping to grow the segment to nearly $2 billion while at the company.
Mr. Gennette said Mr. Lawton has “a track record of successfully driving a change agenda at scale.” He said Macy’s “has one of the strongest omnichannel businesses in the industry,” and the addition of Mr. Lawton would help “accelerate the integration of digital both online and in our stores to deliver the world-class experience our customers demand.”
Mr. Lawton’s hiring was not the only Macy’s news yesterday. The retailer announced the restructuring of its merchandising, planning and private brand groups into a single merchandising unit. Intending to speed decision-making at the company, Macy’s will eliminate about 100 positions with the move. Macy’s expects to save about $30 million annually as a result.
The merchandising group will report to Jeff Kantor, currently head of stores and human resources. It will be built around five areas including ready-to-wear, center core, beauty, men’s and kid’s, and home. Macy’s says the group will be supported by “strengthened customer insights and data analytics,” which will now include inventory and pricing.
Mr. Gennette, calling exclusivity “a great customer loyalty tool” has set a goal of growing private brand sales to 40 percent of Macy’s business. Private brands now represent about 29 percent of Macy’s total.
- Hal Lawton Named President of Macy’s – Macy’s, Inc.
- Macy’s Hires eBay Executive Amid Management Shakeup – The Wall Street Journal
- Will dropping prices on cosmetics drive traffic to department stores? – RetailWire
- Will Backstage shops draw customers to Macy’s mall stores? – RetailWire
- Is a self-service model Macy’s ticket to success? – RetailWire
- Does Macy’s incoming CEO have a plan to turn the business around? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What might Hal Lawton’s hiring as president of Macy’s mean for the retailer? Do you expect the company will benefit from the restructuring of its merchandising? Do you see 40 percent of total sales coming from private brands as a realistic goal for Macy’s?