2013 Wish List From Eight Retail CEOsVW Staff
It’s the middle of January already, but it’s not too late to make a 2013 wish list.
Eight retail CEOs at this week’s National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City shared their 2013 Wish Lists during the event. It included a wide variety of wishes, but overall many included expansion, better shopping experiences and new markets. The eight retailers were Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM), Saks Inc (NYSE:SKS), Rue La La, Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (NYSE:ETH), The Container Store, Inc., Brooks Brothers Inc. and Spencer’s.
From Forbes, here’s a look at the highlights:
- Veterans: Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s U.S. stores, said his company plans to heavily reinvest in American manufacturing and employ thousands of veterans–as well as other workers–to lower the current high unemployment rate. He added regarding vets, by Memorial Day, Wal-Mart “will offer a job [sic] to honorably discharged veterans within the first 12 months off active duty. We project hiring over 100,000 vets over the next five years.”
- U.S.-made products: Buying $50 billion more U.S. made products over the next 10 years. Simon added, “growing U.S. manufacturing on two fronts: by increasing what we already buy here,” such as basic apparel, sporting goods, games and paper products, as well as by helping suppliers promote “on-shore U.S. production in high-potential areas.” This includes home textiles, furniture and pet supplies.
- Join up, retail peers! Simon wants other retailers to commit saying, “As an industry, we can drive $500 billion in new American manufacturing purchases over the next 10 years. Folks, that’s what an American renewal looks like.”
- More stores: Walter Robb, Whole Foods co-CEO said the company is opening more stores than ever this year.
- Health and wellness: The store’s growth will reflect the growing interest in health and wellness. Robb said, “We have more confidence in the big idea that fresh, healthy food matters.” Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) is appealing to an expanding customer base that was “built by boomers,” but has been picking up steam with Gen Xers and Millennials.
- Socially-driven initiatives: The company will expand to new areas including Detroit. Robb noted, “an unlikely place for a Whole Foods,” and it will open stores in areas called, “food deserts” or poorer neighborhoods without access to healthy, fresh foods; these areas also have lower life expectancy rates. Robb added, “There are thousands of communities that haven’t had a supermarket in 10 years.”
Saks Fifth Avenue
- Online shopping: Steve Sadove, CEO of Saks Inc (NYSE:SKS) said the company is looking at a delivering online and brick-and-mortar shopping to devoted customers. He noted that in 2012, the company invested $100 million for “foundational systems to be an omnichannel retailer.” In other words, shoppers can place an online order and then pick it up at a nearby store.
Rue La La
- Mobile Shopping: This comes after seeing 2012 shopping via mobile device grab 40 percent of its business with 50 percent taking place on tablets (notably Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad), according to CEO Ben Fischman. In 2013, he said shoppers will see “a lot of new features and functions” to continue attracting mobile shopping.
- Bullish outlook: Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (NYSE:ETH) CEO, Farooq Kathwari, is bullish about this year. He said, “People are now back to buying homes, prices are rising after the Great Recession, and we are ready.”
- Increase advertising: After remaking its product mix, the chain is ready to spread the word through advertising.
The Container Store
- Smaller markets: After hitting the larger markets, the company has its eyes on smaller markets such as Charlotte and Indiana where costs are about half. Its CEO, Kip Tindell, said of these areas, “These people like us as much as they do in New York or Los Angeles, and people will come from all over the state” to shop at their stores.
- Overseas online expansion: Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and chief executive officer of Brooks Brothers Group, said that while they do sell to global markets online, the websites “are not customer friendly” and the goal is “to customize different sites for different types of [markets] throughout the world.”
- The company’s first target is England. In 2013, It will launch a U.K. site.
- e-commerce changes: Steven Silverstein, CEO, said the company has been late to the e-commerce party, but this will change in 2013. It operates an online site for its Halloween Spirit chain but overall the company is relatively unknown. This year Silverstein said consumers will see “significant improvements” to the company’s sites.