May Puts Its Own in Charge of Field’s
By George Anderson
Has May Department Stores decided not to let Marshall Field’s be Marshall Field’s after all?
When May purchased the upscale department store from Target earlier in the year, it said it planned to let Field’s president, Linda Ahlers, and her team continue running the business as usual.
Yesterday, May announced Ms. Ahlers was resigning and that it had named two of its own to the positions of chairman and president/chief executive officer for the Field’s division.
Robert Soroka will become the new chairman of Marshall Field’s moving from his current position as chairman of May’s Robinsons-May business.
Field’s new chief executive and president will be Frank Guzzetta. Mr. Guzzetta currently runs May’s Hecht’s/Strawbridge’s business.
George Whalin, president of Retail Management Consultants, told the Chicago Sun-Times he has concerns about where May is taking Marshall Field’s business.
“Hecht’s is a long way from being upscale,” he said. “It’s a down-and-dirty discounter that’s not very well merchandised, with not very good service.”
Moderator’s Comment: Where do you think May Department Stores is headed with the Marshall Field’s business? What will it take for Marshall Field’s to
reach its full business potential?
Yesterday’s move follows an apparent lack of communication between Field’s and May over a decision to suspend the e-commerce function on the department
store’s Web site, www.fields.com.
In a story reported in the Sun-Times and discussed on RetailWire last week (see RW
9/23/04, May and Field’s On Different Online Page), a spokesperson for Marshall Field’s said it was a priority to get the site up and ready for orders as soon as possible.
A spokesperson for May said the site would be ready to go live next spring.
For its part, May maintains it isn’t looking to make wholesale changes to the Field’s operation. The Sun-Times points out, for example, that May
has decided to expand the upscale boutique concept of the State Street flagship store to other units outside of Chicago. –
George Anderson – Moderator