Hudson’s Bay Company Announces 2,000 Job Cuts, Including Senior Management

I thought you’d find this information  interesting;


The Canadian-American department store conglomerate is flattening its hierarchy across businesses, generating more than $350 million in annual savings when fully implemented.



NEW YORK, United States — In February 2017, department store conglomerate Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) announced that it would “reduce expenses by rationalizing its corporate functions and overhead across North America.”

On Thursday, those layoffs — which will eliminate 2,000 positions when completed — began. Senior-level staff at Saks Fifth Avenue — including senior vice president of digital retail Joe Milano — Gilt Groupe and Lord & Taylor were asked to leave in an effort to flatten the organizations hierarchy. Several members of the buying team were also let go, and some staff were given demotions. According on one source, there were “hundreds” of layoffs at Gilt alone.

Dismissed employees were asked to stay at the office on Thursday while HBC readied a public announcement, which was released at 4.05pm ET.

In the release, HBC laid out its "Transformation Plan," which is a result of a six-month operational review that identified inefficiencies with the aim of streamlining and improving back-of-store productivity in North America. The company says that it will realise more than $350 million in annual savings when the plan is fully implemented by the end of the 2018 fiscal year, with approximately $170 million saved in the 2017 fiscal year.  "These savings are required to help offset revenue, margin and cost pressures the company is facing as a result of the current environment," HBC said in a statement. Along with the $30 million in severance charges incurred during layoffs in February, the company will incur another $95 million in charges related to the "Transformation Plan" over the next 12 months.

The plan calls for major changes in senior-level management, including the creation of two leadership teams, one focused on Hudson's Bay in Canada, and another to accelerate growth at Lord & Taylor. Alison Coville has been named president of Hudson's Bay reporting to Jerry Storch, chief executive officer of HBC. She has held leadership positions at the department store since 2005. Liz Rodbell, who previously managed both Hudson's Bay and Lord & Taylor, will focus completely on the latter, where she will remain president.

“Alison is a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of experience in Canadian retail, nearly two decades of which has been spent at HBC," Storch said in a statement. "She has proven herself to be a dedicated leader with great intuition and knowledge of the market and sector. I believe her track record, keen insight, and bold vision make her the ideal leader to drive our strategy forward and accelerate our growth plans for Hudson’s Bay."

 Other initiatives include integrating digital functions across the company — from marketing to operations and technology — and doing away with redundancies in departments including IT, digital, store operations and visual merchandising, buying and planning, and marketing.

In addition to Coville's appointment, several executives were promoted or hired to lead the newly streamlined groups. Janis Leigh has been promoted to chief human resources officer, responsible for all HR functions. Chief technology officer Janet Schalk will lead the newly created HBC Technology group.

Ian Putnam, previously head of corporate development, will take on the additional role of chief operating officer for HBC's joint ventures — which include HBS Global Properties and the RioCan-HBC Joint Venture — and he will also lead the HBC Real Estate team. Erik Caldwell has been named svp of supply chain and digital operations.

Kerry Mader, evp of store planning and operations, is now also responsible for visual merchandising, while Andrew Blecher has been named chief communications officer, assuming additional responsibility for the HBC foundations in the US and Canada.



A look at HBC's new operating model | Source: HBC

"We are reallocating resources to accelerate the opportunity we see online, as we run our brick and mortar operations more efficiently," HBC executive chairman Richard Baker said in a statement. "Our team is taking the right steps to optimise our North American business and create efficiencies by leveraging the scale of our company. At this critical moment of change in the retail industry, I believe in the future of our all-channel model and we are adapting to meet the evolving needs of our customers."

The restructuring is just the latest development in what has been a rollercoaster year for the company, which was reportedly in serious talks to acquire Neiman Marcus Group just a few weeks ago. In the past decade, HBC has been the driving force in many changes in the upscale department store landscape, forging a series of retail acquisitions — including Lord & Taylor in 2006, Hudson’s Bay in 2008 and Saks Fifth Avenue in 2013 — and financing the deals with mostly new equity and debt, but the real estate value seemed to be the biggest driver.

After the acquisition of Saks Fifth Avenue, HBC laid off 265 people in corporate positions in an effort to do away with redundancies.

Under HBC's ownership, Saks Fifth Avenue has implemented a multi-pronged plan to refresh the department store’s identity and bring back luxury consumers. The chain saw positive comparable sales in the most recent quarter ending January 28 for the first time since 2015. However, the parent company posted a net loss of $152 million CAD in the quarter, including a $116 million impairment charge related to its off-price business, which include Saks Off Fifth and Gilt, acquired in 2016 for $250 million. In fiscal 2016, HBC retail sales hit $14.5 billion CAD, but consolidated comparable sales decreased overall by 1.7 percent.

In the three months ending April 29, 2017, Hudson’s Bay saw sales decrease 3 percent to $3.2 billion CAD, largely due a decrease in comparable sales of approximately $94 million.

“This was a tough quarter for HBC,” Baker said  in a statement.

Sales at stores opened at least one year declined by 4.8 percent at Saks Fifth Avenue (on a constant-currency basis), 2.4 percent at the combined division of Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay and Canadian home goods store Home Outfitters. and 6.8 percent in the off price division, which includes Gilt Groupe and Saks Off Fifth.

Related Articles:

Report: Hudson's Bay Taps Debt Adviser To Review Neiman Marcus Bid

Inside the Reinvention of Saks Fifth Avenue

With Gilt, Hudson’s Bay Company Bets Big on Off-Price

Prevent Shoplifting

smart ideas Barb pic

Thinking that someone doesn't "look" like a shoplifter might lull you into a false sense of security.  Prevent shoplifting by removing as many opportunities to shoplift as possible.

Merchandise: Arrange aisles and displays so that employees have a clear view of a much of the store as possible. Utilize convex mirrors for areas that are blind spots.2 Put less expensive items closer to the door, more expensive items further away. This prevents a shoplifter from being able to grab expensive items and be out the door in a matter of seconds. Put security tags on merchandise that can only be removed at the cash register.

Learn Shoplifting Techniques: Limit the number of items that can be taken into the fitting room. Lock all fitting room doors so that customers must have an employee them. Require your employees to note how many items the person is taking into the fitting room. Shoplifters will sometimes use a fitting room to put on stolen merchandise under their own clothes. Note anyone who seems to be wandering in the store, or who seems to be watching employees and other customers closely. They may be looking for an opportunity to shoplift when no one is watching. Take note of a person wearing a baggy coat, especially if the weather doesn't call for it. They may be hiding stolen merchandise underneath.

Involve Employees: Have your employees greet each customer as they enter the store. A shoplifter is less likely to go through with his crime if they think someone might be able to identify them. Offer bonuses to employees who catch shoplifters and alert security. Let your employees know that shoplifters often work in teams, with one person distracting the employee while the other one shoplifts. Tell your employees avoid distractions and to watch other customers at all times. If you have more than one employee, train them so that only one deals with a dominant customer while the other watches the store floor.

  Good-luck! -Barbara


smart ideas Barb picUniqlo: Japanese fast-fashion retailer is working with a broker to open Canadian stores


unnamed  201255-uniqlo-toronto

Uniqlo's choice of American locations can be considered an indication of what it wants in Canada: prime retail space on busy streets and in prominent malls. Expect large Canadian Uniqlo flagships, as well as some smaller mall-based stores. However, its cautious American expansion foreshadows what's in store for Canada, at least in the short term, as only a handful of American cities see multiple Uniqlo locations. This will change, eventually, as Uniqlo's goal is to become the world's top-selling fashion retailer. We'll explain why Uniqlo stores will open in many Canadian markets over the next several years, and we'll then discuss some of its most likely Canadian locations.

uniqloSources inform us that Uniqlo is talking to Canada's largest mall landlords as its searches for Canadian retail space. In March, the Financial Post reported that Uniqlo was in talks to open a 35,000 square foot space at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Toronto and Vancouver are ideal cities for the Japanese retailer: both see exceptionally high retail sales, large Asian populations, and considerable Uniqlo brand awareness. Other desirable markets include Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, and possibly Ottawa and Winnipeg, as the company continues expanding.

You've got to read this! ...

Click on image to link to article...0311_レギンス_N15d_朝日_版o_cs3              imageBestBarbara 

Building Professional Window Displays

How to Build Professional Window Displays...A Few Great Tips

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas

Focus Attention

 Have you ever tried to persuade someone who wasn’t really listening? It doesn’t work.People only have so much attention to give. Show a customer one product and you’re dealing with 100% of their attention. Show them two products and you’ve got only half as much attention on each. That’s called splitting attention. And the more products you add, the worse the math. Some store owners violate this principle hoping that something in the window will catch the eye. In practice, however, the normal result is to catch nothing at all. So little attention is available for any given item, the average passer by sees nothing at all.On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with grouping related products together and selling them as a package. 

Mask Distractive Background

 What else can the customer see through your window? If they can see into the store, you must ask yourself if this is going to enhance the overall effect or detract. Depending on the setting, this could go either way.If viewing above and around the display is distractive, if it looks cluttered, use a backdrop of some sort to wall off distractions. Cover the background panel in fabric or display vinyl. This could be a large panel, or even fire-resistant seamless photography paper. 

Keep It Clean

 A dirty or dusty window display lowers not only perceived value of the product, but also the integrity and control of store management. Five minutes with a feather duster can make a huge difference. Window glass is best cleaned before the display is done, using a solution of clear ammonia and water. Wipe edges with clean paper towels or newspapers. 

Present The Correct Quantity

 Now that you’ve selected an item and limited distractions, you need to decide how many products to put on display. This decision may pivot on price. Generally speaking the less involved the customer is in the purchase of the item, the more you may want to display a volume of the items on display. For example, a potato does not require a lot of thought on the part of a buyer, whereas an expensive watch does. So display only one of the watch, but offer potatoes in a huge pile. 


 Get your items off the ground. To put something on a pedestal or platform is to glorify it. Remember the old idiom about putting someone on a pedestal. You can cover a box in velvet or display felt, buy a plastic column from a display supply, or use a table. Never place items on the floor in a display. Make it special. Elevate.  

Use Signage

 The use of signage in a window display gives the chance to reinforce the purpose if tasteful and clever. You want your display to be as powerful as possible but since the ultimate goal is to sell there are times when the whole composition will benefit from a word or two. Or perhaps a brand name or logo positioned somewhere. In fact, there are times when the omission of the brand name would be sheer idiocy. Take, for instance, a series of window displays interpreting a new fragrance. Such a display would make no marketing sense without the name of the brand somewhere visible.But in most cases, unless you have a really good idea for a sign, leave it out. As a comparative, advertisements sometimes include a tag line or slogan. Today the rule is, unless the tag line is spectacular leave it out! Like a bad haircut or botched plastic surgery, a mediocre tag line will do more harm than good. Many advertisers don’t understand this. “What’s our slogan for this campaign?”,  they think they have to have a slogan -not true.  ... The moral of the story, use signage, ( Link to Shoppetalk to Buy! ). 

Add Trim

 Foliage, flowers, ribbon, a velvet pillow, rusty steel, a wicker basket... in the display profession, props such as these are called “trim.” Older dictionaries give a definition of trim as a, “decorative addition.”In fact, it might interest you to know that for decades, a display artist in the apparel industry was called a “trimmer.” In the main, trimmers worked with wires instead of mannequins, making clothes appear to hang, float or fly in mid air as if by magic. They habitually added in decorative additions such as dried foliage, flowers, ribbon, and all manner of things to tell a story.

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas ..… Robyn hand made all the butterflies . Nice Trim!

Send me pictures of your window displays. Best Barbara

Day #57 - Prevent Shoplifting And Shrinkage In Your Store

The best advice I can give you is that with in the safety and security procedures for your store you should include your policies on "Shoplifting"shoplifting and employee theft. Your policies should be in writing and shared with your staff.Let us look at some things you can do from your store design to training your staff that will help deter shoplifters and shrinkage.

Here are some great tips:

  1. Your cash register should be placed closer to the front so that customers must pass it when exiting the store. Middle side left is my recommendation.
  2. Fixtures and displays should be kept low in the center of the store for better site lines.
  3. A well-lit store with no dark corners is what you want to achieve.
  4. Use mirrors to cover blind spots.
  5. Also, consider putting clearance items in your blind spot areas. If something goes missing, it is not too big a deal.
  6. In addition, a tidy well-organized shop makes it very easy for you to see if products are missing."Shoplifting"
  7. One of the best ways to reduce shoplifting is a well-trained staff.  A staff that is engaged with customers when they are in the store. Train your staff to say hello, look at the person and smile  - it is the best greeting for all customers but for those who are shoplifters it says…  I have been noticed; it may be too risky to steal something from this store.
  8. Signage helps . Post your policy on shoplifting in clear view.
  9. Put small expensive items in locked fixtures and cabinets. Place these fixtures as close to the cash counter as possible.
  10. One of the most effective ways for retailers to prevent shoplifting is to install an electronic security system.  As this is one of the most costly ways to go, I would like you to consider the pros and cons before going this route.
  11. A well-designed store layout will not eliminate all shoplifting but will help reduce it.  Wider aisles with shorter fixture lengths in the middle of the store are what you want. This strategy makes it less likely for shoplifters to feel secure and hidden from view.
  12. Heighten awareness from staff is a must. Please teach your staff to combat shoplifting by being proactive and aware of what’s going on in your store at all times.
  13. Your staff needs to be up to date on regular price points and what is on sale.  Teach them, if the price does not make sense, always check.  Customer price-switching is preventable.
  14. Your shoplifting procedures should be in writing and laid out for your staff so they know what to do if they suspect someone.  You do not want any staff member to be in a position of confrontation and in any danger.  Theft prevention should be your goal.

Let's have a quick look at internal theft:

  1. Retailers  do not like to think that your staff is stealing from you, but the sad reality is that a percentage of your staff will steal when the circumstances and the opportunity is there."Shoplifting"
  2. Theft by employees is a very big problem in Retail today and many companies are reluctant to address it.  You have the right to protect what you own, and you should not make any apologies for taking whatever lawful and appropriate action you can to do so.
  3. Establishing clear policies, procedures and staff training will go a long way to helping your business eliminate shoplifting and shrinkage.

Do not ignore these issues, get started today.Barbara