Macy’s, Nordstrom, ANN INC., Coach: Retailers to Watch this Holiday, Part 1

By Melissa Campanelli

Special to the eTail Blog

Christmas ’11: The Retail Forecast, a half-day conference presented by the Retail Marketing Society on Nov. 1, in New York City, showcased Morgan Stanley analysts naming eight cross-channel retailers they’re betting on for success this holiday season. They include the following:

Macy’s. According to Michelle Clark, Senior Retailing Analyst, Department Stores, Morgan Stanley, initiatives that have helped Macy’s gain market share this year and should continue to drive momentum this holiday season include:

* a reorganization that’s removed Macy’s divisional structure and integrated its functions into one organization;

* its My Macy’s localization concept, where the company’s buyers and planners track what consumers are looking for in their local stores in an effort to bring a better sense of branding, sizing and marketing to each Macy’s store nationwide;

* an omni-channel integration strategy that blurs the lines between Macy’s stores, its website and mobile technology so that it can respond to consumers’ needs no matter how they shop; and

* its MAGIC Selling in-store growth strategy, which trains Macy’s sales associates so they can better understand the needs of its shoppers in order to provide options and advice.

“Macy’s gifting strategies should also drive incremental top-line growth this holiday season,” said Clark. “Our pricing studies suggest that Macy’s has the greatest pricing power across the mid-tier space, a positive in a cost-inflationary environment.”

Nordstrom. “We expect Nordstrom to benefit from several factors this holiday season, including best-in-class inventory control, strength in its target customer, strong fashion trends and high prices,” said Clark.

“While we expect Nordstrom’s store sales to remain very strong, we also expect to see a pickup in online sales growth, helped by its move to free shipping, regardless of order size.”

ANN INC. “We expect recent sales momentum — particularly at LOFT — to build into the holiday season and drive strong same-store sales results,” said Kimberly Greenberger, managing director and specialty apparel retailing/softlines analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“ANN INC. locked in sourcing costs and bought inventory with a competitive promotional strategy in mind,” Greenberger added.

Coach. “We see Coach’s momentum continuing into the holiday season, fueled by frequent delivery of new product, its on-trend product offering and its increased internal marketing efforts, especially in China,” Greenberger said.

Coach will also update its store assortment throughout the holiday season with a focus on giftable items, Greenberger added.

“We think its on-trend product offering beyond its core handbags, including smaller, more impulse items such as wristlets, will drive incremental sales,” Greenberger said. “These products tend to have a slightly higher selling price than typical accessories.”

Melissa Campanelli is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Online Integration, a monthly print magazine, website and e-letter (The ROI Report) about the integration of sales channels, including print/catalog, transactional websites and retail stores, as well as email, mobile, social media and more. Melissa is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Target Marketing Group’s eM+C brand, a series of e-letters, webinars and virtual trade shows focusing on the world of e-marketing and e-commerce.