Hello-Hello, happy start of a new week to everyone!
(Reuters) – Women’s clothing retailer Talbots Inc expects a challenging holiday season as big discounts, which have so far failed to boost sales, are expected to continue to hurt its margins.
Talbots’ ran discounts of 70 percent — bigger than most peers — as it tries to clear out its uninspiring clothes. But even with the low prices, the retailer has not been able to entice shoppers.
Having unsubscribed from the company’s email list (way too much email) and not stopping in any stores lately meant I had no idea discounts were so deep, or worse yet, they didn’t seem to help move merchandise. Additionally, I hadn’t visited Talbots’ Facebook page for some time, so the following Boston Herald story was very much a surprise:
Over the past week, customers flocked to Talbots’ Facebook page to complain and commiserate with tales of suddenly “out-of-stock” items and that “dreaded unavailable email.”
Talbots repeatedly posted responses — “Ladies we are very sorry for your frustration” — and promised to make things right.
Today I popped in to read some of the FB posts. It was brutal. Scrolling through a week’s worth of posts was troubling; not only do they reference the inventory management problems outlined above in the Herald story, there are also multiple posts about poor customer service. Everyone is going to encounter an unhappy sales associate or telephone customer service rep having a bad day, no doubt about it. But what I was reading appears to transcend that “it’s to be expected” level.
A “Sale on Sale” items continues online and in store, with an additional 40% discount on already marked-down merchandise.
One need only look at the merchandise mix to see the company has lost its way. Somehow the vision of a store selling tailored separates like these… (we show the Boiled Wool Jacket and the Jackie Fit Swing Jacket below)…
More from Reuters on the plan for Talbots moving forward:
On Thursday, the Hingham, Massachusetts-based retailer outlined plans to make its operations leaner — including pulling out its national advertising and television campaigns and cutting jobs by 9 percent — which are expected to save the company about $50 million annually.
The company ended the quarter with 39 outlets and expects to open four more in the fourth quarter. “Over the long term, we believe this business has the potential to grow to approximately 80 to 100 stores,” the ceo told analysts.
Ailing specialty chain The Talbots Inc. has begun to look a successor for president and chief executive officer Trudy Sullivan.
To ensure a smooth transition, Sullivan, 60, plans to retire once a replacement has been found.
It’s unfortunate, but the reality is also unfortunate, there have been problems at the retailer for years. More from WWD:
“It has been a tough run, and there has been speculation for the last few months that Sullivan might exit or be forced out.”
Memo to new CEO: Umm, those ruffles? You know, the ones affixed to almost every item of clothing in the store? (Exhibit A is below, we show all five short sleeved items in the clearance category. Each and every top in this group has some sort of ruffle.) Anyway, when someone brings up “the R word,” just say no.
As always, we hope the brand can find a way to consolidate its losses, repair the damage and return to a robust performance.
On a more upbeat note, we share a peek at some of those amazing decorated department store windows around the world. We begin with one of Bergdorf‘s windows, Vanity Fair has a fab feature on the topic.
Here is a closer look, I love the detail, right down to the opera length gloves.
At Barney’s the windows have a Lady Gaga theme, the store is amid an enormous collaborative effort with the entertainer.
On the far side of the pond in London Harrod’s windows are done with Swarovski crystals.
The windows at Printemps in Paris were done in collaboration with Chanel and Mr. Lagerfeld.
The detail work on all of the windows around the world is simply amazing, here is a better look at Mr. Lagerfeld.
We leave you with at Tiffany’s decor from the outside (L) and one of the windows with its sleigh of boxes in the company’s signature robin’s egg blue (R).
On that note, g’bye until next time!