Ralph Lauren Charts a New Course

It’s been tough road for Ralph Lauren as the company approaches it’s 50th year.
Revenue has fallen, the company is closing it’s iconic Fifth Avenue flagship store, and it’s legacy strategy and products are struggling to find a new path in the changing retail landscape.
However, a revitalized management team, led by new CEO Patrice Louvet, appears to be navigating a course toward success.
Last week, Ralph Lauren reported results that beat analysts’ expectations. On a global basis, margins improved, promotions and inventory decreased. (Although North American sales for Q4 were down, Asia and EU were up).
The stock popped +14%.
Mr. Louvet has a refreshing focus on consumer insights and path-to-purchase, a “listen more and speak less” approach. I’m a fan of Mr. Louvet, the refreshed RL management team, the brand(s) and the company, and… of discovering and delivering on the consumer’s “job to be done.”
Fingers crossed…

Private Label represents as much as 50% of some markets. Can it get that big in the U.S.?

In Europe, PRIVATE LABEL is bigger than in the U.S., with about one in three purchases made on private label brands.

For some European countries like Switzerland, nearly half of purchases made are on private label. Will it ever get that big in the U.S.?

Given the high penetration of private label sales in retail industries like home and apparel and of both ecommerce and private labels, there is much growth ahead for private-label brands in the U.S. that can promote innovation online. 

The NPD Group research reveals there is a lucrative segment of shoppers who are actively engaged with direct-to-consumer private-label brands online. Industries like apparel and home are further along than tech or accessories in the online pervasiveness of Private Label. But given the private label growth in these industries online, NPD believes things are just starting to heat up.

Moreover, as national brands lose share, the writing is on the wall: private label is far from finished growing.

Thank you Marshal Cohen and NPD for this graphic.


Amazon’s New Marketplace Appstore Connects Sellers to Productivity Tools

Sellers on Amazon have a new tool, “Marketplace Appstore,” to help them navigate the world of online retail using third-party apps.

The new software platform will be available to sellers based in North America and accessible through Amazon’s seller portal, Seller Central. It will assist sellers with pricing, inventory, marketing and other business needs.

More than 1 million retailers use Amazon to sell their goods through Amazon Marketplace.

CNN reports, here.

What if Amazon is Retail’s Only Hope?


What if Amazon is Retail’s Only Hope?

“Retail Apocalypse.” The term has its own Wikipedia entry. This transformation, of “biblical” proportions, is often blamed on Amazon.

What if Amazon is not the brick-and-mortar store killer? What if Amazon is retail’s champion?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of retail’s death have been greatly exaggerated. The retail industry is not in dire shape, it’s in a different shape. Change is essential: it’s not easy, nor painless.

And, there is an important difference between correlation and causation. Amazon’s success and the disruption of the legacy retail market are certainly related, this does not mean one caused the other. Amazon did not overturn the traditional retail model: Macroeconomics drove this disruption.

Amazon is strategically and significantly investing in mortar-and-brick retail. Further, the company provides valuable tools to third-party retailers to help them succeed. And, critical to its own success, Amazon needs other retailers to thrive.

6 Reasons the Current Retail Transformation Was Inevitable

Continue reading “What if Amazon is Retail’s Only Hope?”