Department Stores

Nordstrom family members are closing in on an agreement with a private equity firm to assist in a buyout of the luxury retail giant. It was reported in June that the Nordstrom family, which collectively owns 31 percent of the Seattle-based luxury retailer’s shares, had formed a group to explore a potential “going-private transaction” that would involve the acquisition of 100 percent of Nordstrom’s outstanding shares.

The company has struggled with poor traffic trends, due in large part to eCommerce competitors like Amazon. In 1999, the department store had total sales of $230 billion. Last year, that was down to $155.5 billion.

Nordstrom To Go Private


In-Store Experience

Target is in a massive store remodel and they’re focusing on the in-store experience. After testing in small urban stores, Target plans to play background music in all of their newly remodeled locations to help keep shoppers in the aisle a little longer.

Marketing researchers have long explored the effects of background music in retail settings. In the 1980s, a Loyola University marketing professor found that supermarket shoppers spent more time and money in stores when the background music was at a slow tempo.

Target Is Playing Music


Internet


Brick-and-Mortar

Toys “R” Us filed Chapter 11 documents late Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia.

The company said its approximately 1,600 Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores around the world – the “vast majority of which are profitable” – and its web portals continue to operate as usual.

The chain also said it had secured US$3-billion in financing to stay open while it restructures its outstanding debt and establishes a sustainable capital structure to invest in long-term growth.

What will restructuring look like? “The restructuring is intended to facilitate the continued success of our iconic brands; building a stronger company for our customers, business partners and team members,” Melanie Teed-Murch, president of Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us Canada said in a statement.

Toys “R” Us

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Brick-and-Mortar

Add Kohl’s to the list of brick-and-mortar retailers signing deals with Amazon.

The department store chain unveiled plans to roll out a “smart home experience” in 10 stores, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Beginning in October, shoppers at the designated locations in Los Angeles and Chicago will be able to purchase Amazon devices, accessories and smart home products directly from the e-commerce giant.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/06/kohls-partners-with-amazon-to-sell-echo-devices-and-smart-home-items.html


Ecommerce

BJ’s Wholesale Club is launching two e-commerce websites for its Berkley Jensen and Wellsley Farms brands, the first time it has created dedicated sites for its private labels.

The sites two sites will showcase a broad assortment of both brands, showcase the stories behind the products and create a shoppable, dedicated experience for both brands. Members will also be able to access BJ’s Pick Up & Pay click-and-collect service to reserve select nonperishable products online and retrieve them in-club in as little as two hours.

https://progressivegrocer.com/bjs-develops-dedicated-sites-pl-ecomm


Acquisitions

In its fourth attempt, Walgreens Boots Alliance clinched regulatory approval for a deal to buy Rite Aid Corp. stores after a last-minute reduction of the number of stores and price.

The Deerfield-based drugstore chain said Tuesday it secured clearance for a revised deal under which it will buy 1,932 Rite Aid stores for $4.38 billion. That’s about 250 fewer stores than under a previous proposal, which totaled $5.18 billion.

Walgreens Buys 1,932 Rite Aid Stores


Retail Technology

With a growing number of automated machines performing jobs and tasks that could eliminate jobs, one San Francisco official is pushing a statewide “tax” in California on robots that put people out of work. Is the time to think about how people will earn a living as more U.S. jobs are lost to automation?

Jane Kim is launching a statewide campaign to bring revenue-raising ideas to the state legislature or directly to voters. She is also considering using revenue from the robot tax to supplement the low wages of people whose jobs can’t be automated, like home healthcare aides.

http://www.pymnts.com/innovation/2017/san-francisco-jane-kim-knightscope-robot-tax/

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Social Media Habits

Like most adults, marketers do their best to understand teens, but it’s not easy to follow their changing digital habits and preferences. Twenty-year-old Tiffany Zhong recently left the University of California, Berkeley, and founded Zebra Intelligence to do just that—help marketers keep up with this cohort.

What’s going on with Facebook? Are teens still using it?

Facebook has become a place where everyone posts everything. There’s no filter to it anymore. When teens go on Instagram or Snapchat, they know what to expect. Facebook has become a mixture of low-quality, random things. Often it’s content that’s just irrelevant to their lives.

Marketers Need To Understand Social Media Habits


Natural Disaster

Retailers are struggling to meet the need. Harvey is slated to cause $1 billion in lost sales for retailers, according to an estimate by the Planalytics weather analytics firm.

Many people spent the day in a fruitless search in parts of the city, as stores remained closed due to flooding or power outages, but some bigger stores, like WalMart, were starting to get back to business.

WalMart Stores Inc. is reopening many stores in the Houston area, some on a limited basis, and trucks are coming from across the country to quickly restock shelves, says Todd Manley a regional vice president for WalMart in Texas who lives in the area.

WalMart Lends A Helping Hand


Digital Age

Traditional grocers must address a key aspect of their business in order to keep up with the digital transformation. The results of transforming to a digital business include the ability to deliver distinctive experiences that delight and engage the shopper, driving advocacy and loyalty, and delivering revenue and profit.

Digital shoppers and the information they generate have opened doors to an amazing transformation that can bring things into light that past grocers only dreamed about. Access to orders, customer profiles and buying habits, accurate predictive analysis, real time inventory visibility (even at the consumers’ pantry), and much more are now available in a digital world.

Read 7 Key Areas for Digital Transformation 


Ecommerce

China’s Alibaba Group Holding has invested at least $8 billion since 2015 in a push to expand from e-commerce into retail via physical stores. China became the world’s biggest retail market in 2016 with sales of $4.9 trillion, and 80% of those sales happened at brick-and-mortar locations, according to eMarketer.

Alibaba wants to change that. It is developing algorithms to analyze customer data such as brand membership information, purchasing history and store visit time to better understand shopper preferences and predict changes in consumption habits. The results can then be used to adjust product offerings, design fresh marketing campaigns as well as build faster supply chains that are free of layers of distributors.

Alibaba Is Betting On Brick-And-Mortar


 

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

The Industry

As home improvement spending surges, Home Depot hit their highest quarterly sales yet. Revenue for the period increased to $28.11 billion topping the $27.84 billion analyst forecasted.

In June, Americans signed more contracts to buy homes, snapping a three-month decline in pending sales. That same month, U.S. sales of new homes rose slightly, a sign that more would-be buyers are seeking newly built properties. In May U.S. home prices reached a new high for the sixth straight month.

Home Depot Is Booming


Brick- and-Mortar

The migration to the skies represents the latest volley in a clash between Walmart and Amazon to grab shoppers’ attention, loyalty and dollars.

The world’s largest retailer has applied for a U.S. patent for a floating warehouse that could make deliveries via drones, which would bring products from the aircraft down to shoppers’ homes.

The blimp-style machine would fly at heights between 500 feet and 1,000 feet (as much as 305 meters), contain multiple launching bays, and be operated autonomously or by a remote human pilot. Amazon was granted a patent for a similar vessel in April 2016.

Walmart Looks For Patent On Floating Warehouse


International Business

Estée Lauder is tackling the market from all angles by embracing the opportunities in China. After opening its own e-commerce sites for its top three brands (Clinique, Estée Lauder and Mac), the company turned to Alibaba’s consumer marketplace.

They launched brand storefronts where shoppers can browse brand content and purchase items directly through the site.

Dennis McEniry, president of the brand’s online business, said “China is a unique market. Product preferences and descriptions used in marketing are different. Social media and influencers are important, but the way to navigate that space is nuanced.”

Estee Lauder Grows E-Commerce Business in China


Fast Fashion

Can fast fashion companies keep up with the growing e-commerce competition? Analysts argue, they aren’t moving fast enough.

H&M and Zara-owner Inditex disrupted the fashion industry with lightning-fast production, trend-led products and a vast retail footprint. But today a new wave of digital disruption is coming from e-commerce players like Asos, Boohoo, Zalando and Amazon, and the fast-fashion behemoths are being uncharacteristically slow to catch up.

Is Fast Fashion Fast Enough?


I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Macy’s Fireworks!

It’s the week of the 4th of July! One of the coolest part about working for Macy’s in New York City is the fact that they have such impact on the city. From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, they aid in two major holidays celebrations. Unfortunately, I was unable to get tickets for the Macy’s Fireworks, but I was able to watch them from a roof top on the East side of town. I could not have gotten a better view to watch all the fire works with my friends.

A Few of My U of A friends getting ready to watch the fireworks!

There are 129 interns in the program this Summer, meaning there are a lot of new faces and people to meet. Although I have met a lot of people who I’ve hung out with frequently, there is something about the students here in New York this Summer from the University of Arizona. There are six of us in the internship and we have all bonded. I feel like I’ve gotten to know them so well and we’ve shared an experience together that we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives.

Volunteering

Aside from Macy’s running New York City, they have also made a huge impact on local and communities around the United States. Last Friday, we had a Macy’s Give Back Day where we went to The Hudson Guild, a community-based social service organization in the Chelsea Neighborhood of Manhattan New York. All the interns went to work all day in various areas, from working with little kids, the elderly, to gardening and building lunch tables.

Macy’s Give Back Day!

I happened to volunteer with the little kids and elderly. It was such a heart-warming experience and the other Volunteers with Hudson Guild community were so grateful and appreciative.  We all partnered with a little kid and made a painting during our time in the day care. Let me tell you, we were all thankful for washable paint that day. It was a unique experience to work with little kids because I have older siblings and have not spent a lot of time around little kids. I had so much fun being silly and seeing these little kids look up to us. They wore me out, who knew kids had so much energy!

Office Time

Volunteering was an amazing experience, but I’ve also really enjoyed my time in the office. This week I had the opportunity to shadow two other rolls in the kid’s department. I shadowed the financial planner and learned how they to plan them financial budget for all of the buyers. I also shadowed someone from the digital team. Out of all the areas of business the digital team sparked my interest the most. My minor in e-commerce has driven me to pursue a career on the digital side of retail. I sat down with Chris Walsh and he walked me thru the digital’s daily routines and duties, and I even got to sit in on a marketing meeting. The marketing meeting was really cool because we were selecting the holiday advertisement outfits that will run on the website this holiday season. I think the digital side has a lot more creativity to it and it balances out all of the numbers and analytics.

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

View walking to my subway stop

It’s that time of the internship! We’re now half way through our program. This week we had a midpoint review with our supervisor. Mine was very insightful and I am happy I got to sit down and talk more with my supervisor.

This midpoint review made me realize how important it is to express your challenges, and things you want to accomplish over the course of the internship. This was a great opportunity to express the things I thought I’ve done well and things I need to work on.

After sitting with my supervisor I realized an internship is where you act as sponge and absorb as much information as possible. Working with excel or finishing a bunch of projects is just as important as reaching out and shadowing as many people as possible. After all if you want to learn what it’s like to work for the company, you need to hear other employees perspectives and other areas of business.

View from top of the Empire State Building. You can see the red Macy’s Bag on the building in the top right corner.

On my floor, there are multiple sectors of the business. We have inventory planners, merchandise planners, financial planners, omni buyers, and digital merchants. Each area has a specific role that connect the whole process that goes into planning, selecting, and merchandising a product. I currently have a meeting with the my teams financial planner, David Jung, and our digital merchant, Chris Walsh.

Group Project

Throughout the internship we have been assigned a group project based on Macy’s new strategies. My group is under the, Every Experience Matters portion where we are focusing on what Macy’s can do to win our customers in and out of the store.

Our group had a very unique way of brainstorming. We started with interviewing each other about what we like and dislike about the shopping experience. After we complied all of our answers, we tried to think of a way to resolve these issues. Almost all of us had a similar answer when asked about customer/sales associate interaction, sometimes we want help, and other times we want to be left alone. This brought us back to Macy’s, a problem we had all noticed was Macy’s customer service. A lot of the time, it is hard to find a sales associate to help you in the store and it would be great if there was an easier way for Macy’s to provide better customer service.

Inspired by technologies like ​Ü​ber, “My Star Assistance” hopes to increase the efficiency, convenience, and quality of the in-store shopping experience. By implementing an on demand, geo-targeted customer service feature into the Macy’s app, our sales associates can better connect with our customers and give them the personalized assistance they need. With the “My Star Assistance” feature, the Millennial or Gen-Z “fashionable spender” can:

  • Request fashion advice or assistance virtually with an item both on the floor and in the dressing room
  • Receive an alert when a sales associate has accepted their request for assistance and a time estimate on the associate’s arrival
  • Review the sales associate that assisted them at the end of their service experience

With the rapid growth of e-commerce, Millennials and Gen-Z shop in stores solely for the experience. These age groups are more likely to spend money on experiences than commodities. Therefore, it is crucial that Macy’s captures the market share of young shoppers by ensuring we are the leader in store customer-service experiences. “My Star Assistance” is the solution.

I have absolutely loved working with my group, I could not have asked for a more smart, driven and motivated group of people to work with. We’ve met a couple times a week to solidify the characteristics we want to include in our app feature and have come up with a very detailed outline of our project.

We have also been very proactive about reaching out to people in other areas of the company. Since we are creating an feature for the Macy’s app that will help both customers and sales associates we wanted to sit down with a Store manager. We have scheduled a meeting with one of the Herald Square managers and we’re excited to hear her input from a sales associates perspective and hopefully get us going in the right direction.

 

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.

Week three of my internship was very eventful. I spent most of my time in the office learning more about the business and the daily tasks of a buyer.

Brooklyn Street Art

I started my first project which consisted of pulling the best sellers in every one of the girls departments. There are five departments, big girls, girls active, little girls tops, bottoms and licensed goods. Pulling the top best sellers from each department was a great way for the buyers to see what items are selling the best each week. I pulled statistics like the sell thru, which is how fast they’re selling, the stock, the total sales and the average retail price.

I would organize my excel files accordingly and pull a bunch of information into a picture selling format. This was a lot of information to take in at first because I had to create a template and organize my work so other people could understand it.

The first time I did this project, it took me forever. I was so focused on not making a mistake that I overlooked the excel knowledge I’d acquired. When I got to the 3rd department realized I could have been using a shortcut. Simple mistake on my part, but you have to make mistakes to learn how to get something done more efficiently. I’ve already learned a lot during my internship and it has been exciting to see myself grow each week.

Lesson Learned

Besides spending time in the office, I’ve especially enjoyed attending the spotlight series that Macy’s provides to all the interns. This week, I took a Presentation Skills workshop where I learned what a good presentation consists of.

During the workshop, we discussed three platform skills necessary for presenting. I learned that your presentation success is determined by three things, it is 31% vocal tonality, 55% non-verbal, and 14% of the words you actually say. Watch this video of Will Smith and notice his tone of voice, his movement, and the words he actually speaks. This video was shown during the workshop and it really put everything into perspective for me.

The biggest issues people have with public speaking is the fear and anxiety that comes with it, but why is it so scary? It’s scary because we’re nervous about what people will think about us, and this idea of making a good impression. I used think it was all about the content you say and making sure you sound smart, but in reality, people are more easily distracted by your body language and the tone of voice.

One thing Will Smith does well in his speech on Sky diving, is his tone of voice and his hand motions. He draws you in and grabs your attention with his body language as he explains the fear building up to jumping out of a plane. Moral of the story, the most fear is accumulated in the process leading up to the fearful event. Once the fearful event occurs, you can encounter the most blissful feeling of your life.

For myself, coming to New York City I was really worried about making friends and my overall experience. I can honestly say now, in only the three weeks of being in the city, I have had multiple fearless moments that have allowed me to reach a high level of achievement. I’ve networked when I’ve felt shy, I’ve made new friends, explored the city, and I have loved every minute of it.

I am the Social Media Manager for the Terry J. Lundgren Center For Retailing at the University of Arizona, I also am a Junior in the Retail and Consumer Sciences major at the University. I am what you call a Retail Enthusiast, I am intrigued by the way the retail industry is evolving and what it has to offer the world. I enjoy the outdoors, yoga, and some good music.