Markdown poster child: I’d do it again

June 2, 2010

With the luxury of hindsight, Saks Chief Executive Stephen Sadove said he wouldn’t hesitate to repeat the big markdowns of the 2008 holiday season if faced with the same tough environment that made the retailer the poster child of recessionary sales.

“It was the right thing to do to generate the cash,” Sadove said at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in New York.

The sale slashed prices on high-fashion, designer merchandise by as much as 70 percent, prompting a flood of media coverage and a slew of shoppers.

“It took some months to clear out the inventory. All the  questions of vendor relationships — every one understood very quickly it was the right thing for the business. I would have done it again,” Sadove said.

“It was a function of supply and demand when you have an excess of supply over demand you have to clear out the product. It allowed us more quickly to get back to a normalized state — healthy margins,” he said.

Sadove declined to take credit for the decision, saying it was made by a large management at Saks.

“My career has been about building teams and teamwork  — that was an example where all the right players had a seat at the table,” he said.

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