Hudson’s Bay Company prides itself in being a global, multi-channel retailer. It features diverse brands like Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor. Jerry Storch, CEO, says that it is not the company’s responsibility to decide how customers shop. Instead, his goal is to be available for them wherever and whenever they need. Storch believes HBC has a better selection of stores than other retailers in this multi-channel environment. HBC is constantly innovating to tie the offline and online experience.
This Q&A with Total Retail features Storch discussing HBC’s multi-channel strategy to create seamless shopping experiences for customers in this holiday season.
Total retail: Hudson’s Bay Company creates seamless shopping experiences across all channels and brands.
Jerry Storch Customers aren’t choosing one channel or another; they choose which brands they wish to do business with like Saks and Lord & Taylor. They choose which channels they prefer, regardless of what it may be. We have an obligation to satisfy their needs in any way that excites them.
We are working on a variety of things, including online shopping and pickup in-store.
Jerry Storch CEO Hudson’s Bay Company
We also offer some other unique options. You can shop with a personal stylist at the Saks Fifth Avenue store closest to you by visiting Saks Fifth Avenue’s website. This is not a person in a call centre; it’s someone who will shop with you in your local Saks store. You can call them or visit the store to talk to them if you wish. This is a unique way to get you connected with someone in-store who can provide a service.
A great way to do this is if you have a relationship with a sales associate. They can send you a selection of products from the website that you could purchase. They send you lookbooks with exciting products that are specially selected for you. You can either buy the product online or in the store.
TR Why is seamless shopping a key initiative in the holiday season?
JS This is an important holiday issue. This is not a new idea; we have been working on this issue for many years. This is the key to all retailers’ future. Online retailers are becoming more efficient at selling in stores. This is not the issue of this year; it’s the path towards the future.
TR : Which problems do you hope this will solve for consumers?
JS Customers can shop whenever they like. We make it easy for customers to shop online from their smartphones. We make it simple for them to check out the inventory at their store. We make it easy for customers.
TR : Hudson’s Bay Company makes gift-giving more easy this holiday season.
JS You can order something from Saks.com to send as a gift, but you don’t need to know the recipient’s size. If there are multiple colors available, we will contact the recipient to find out their size.
TR What holiday results do you hope to see?
JS Today’s retail growth is in large part due to the internet. Although internet sales represent only 10% of total retail sales, and 85-90% of those sales being done in-store (industrywide), the internet is growing faster than stores. This trend is expected to continue in the future, both for our customers and for the entire market.
Judge Blocks Overtime Rule; Retailers Cheer Decision
On Tuesday , a federal judge blocked the Obama administration’s rule to increase overtime pay to more 4 million salaried workers. This would have been detrimental to one of President Obama’s most important achievements in wage growth. U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant in Sherman, Texas agreed with 21 states as well as a coalition of business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They granted their motion to a nationwide injunction. The Labor Department issued the rule Dec. 1. It would have doubled the maximum salary that a worker could earn while still being eligible for overtime pay. This would have been the most significant change in 40 years.
Total Retail Take: The law would have had a dramatic impact on the retail sector, especially for retailers that have a large number of brick-and mortar stores. Many of these retailers employ store managers whose salary is below the $47,000. Take Wal-Mart. In preparation for the new overtime law, increased salaries for entry-level manager from $47.476 to $48,500 per year. Wal-Mart and other retailers were trying to avoid unexpected additional costs for salaried workers. The National Retail Federation (NRF), and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), aggressively lobbied against passage of the new law and were naturally happy with Judge Mazzant’s decision.
“The Labor Department’s overreach of executive authority is reckless and aggressive, and retailers are happy with the judge’s ruling,” NRF Senior Vice President and Government Relations David French stated in a company release. The rules are simply bad public policy. We’re happy that the judge allows time for the case before they can be implemented. We are hopeful that the judge will find in our favor. In the meantime, Congress has the opportunity to reexamine the impact of these rules.
This was a good decision. While the law was created with good intentions — workers making less than $47,500 a year that felt they were being exploited by their employers with longer-than-normally-scheduled workdays would be compensated for their extra work — it very likely was going to come at the expense of middle-manager jobs. Many retailers stated that they wouldn’t be able to afford the $47,000. This would limit the amount of hiring for these positions. Hourly workers were less likely to be promoted into a managerial position.
The law is not dead, but the Labor Department is evaluating their options and could appeal the decision. President-Elect Donald Trump has already spoken out against the law. The law could be repealed by Congress, or the Labor Department could withdraw the appeal.