Melissa Payner, the chief executive of online clothing retailer Bluefly, visited the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit on Wednesday to talk some shop. I was more interested in talking about her predilection for wearing, despite the azure tint of her company’s name, nothing but black clothes. Here’s what she said about that.
I have no children and I left the public school system in 1991, so perhaps it’s not news to some of you that parents of public school children are paying for things that we never would have dreamed we’d pay for when I was in school. To OfficeMax Chief Operating Officer Sam Martin, who visited our Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit on Wednesday, this stuff is no surprise at all because he’s the one selling it to the parents.
Memo to the men of the United States of America, including myself: it pays to invest in a suit, and it pays even more to invest in a few. When I was growing up, my father and other older guys told me that if I spent more money on a small number of suits, they would last a long time.
The aura of the land of Britney Spears, Madonna and everyone’s favorite cartoon beagle — Snoopy — helps move products in growing markets like China, according to Iconix CEO Neil Cole.
Modern day national influence, some smart people like to argue, spreads through the “soft power” of brand appeal and attraction rather than the “hard power” of coercion. In China, one avatar of U.S. soft power tends to be trim and busty, and come with blue eyes and a long mane of blonde hair. Her name is Barbie, she is made of plastic, she was born in Malibu and Chinese girls want to be like her.
Sometimes it’s refreshing to meet people like Hilco Real Estate’s Nina Kampler. They work up to their eyeballs in finance, debt, bankruptcy and the business of making and salvaging profits, yet think that there is more to life than money and private enterprise.
The recession wasn’t kind to Ethan Allen’s manufacturing plant workers, but now that the economy is recovering, so are the employment rolls. Last year, the Danbury, Connecticut-based furniture maker and retailer slashed its manufacturing workforce by about 30 percent, Farooq Kathwari, the company’s chairman and chief executive, told the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit in New York on Monday. That included closing a plant or cutting jobs in Chino, California; Andover, Maine; Orleans, Vermont and elsewhere.
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.
from Shop Talk:
Check out the cautious notes being sounded in the global luxury market.
Industry executives voiced concerns about everything from unemployment to Europe's brewing economic crisis, but are nonetheless banking on growth from China and a recovering U.S. market.