We explained yesterday in Part 1 that certain companies’ and analysts’ claims that (a) U.S. apparel sales were down across the board, and (b) the faux decline was caused by some sort of wallet shift to other spending categories were, in a word, bullsh*t.
Today, we share snippets from the earnings call transcripts of apparel “winners” like Guess, T.J. Maxx, and Ann. Then we’ll come full circle to the ones who started it all, Macy’s.
By the way, for budding marketing strategists, earnings call transcripts are veritable gold mines of information, an excellent way to learn how business and marketing are related.
The retail environment [was] very promotional, and we responded to remain competitive
…the customer is clearly responding…we are making a strong statement with our windows ad campaign and visual
…why business got better in the quarter…we told a much clearer story within our stores…we developed some targeted promotions that really paid off for us and brought people into our stores
…we have been doing a very close tight relationship between advertising, marketing and e-comm much better than ever. And this seems to have worked very well because we received so much positive comments around the country…
Net takeaway for Guess: The company was actively advertising the items customers wanted, and is taking its marketing to the next level by integrating its efforts across all customer touch points
From a marketing perspective, Ann Taylor is achieving positive results as we continue to focus on increasing loyalty with our core clients while attracting new clients to the brand. Our campaign featuring Kate Hudson has been very successful…
From a marketing perspective, LOFT strategy continues to be effective in driving brand awareness and new client growth. In fact, LOFT (active client file) has increased significantly and we are attracting new customers to the brand.
[We spent] $10 million in incremental marketing investment mainly for our e-commerce channels to support continued multichannel growth
Ann Taylor and LOFT marketing strategy is definitely being positively affected by our CRM ability…
Net takeaway for Ann: The company was actively advertising both to new prospects (note “awareness” above) as well as existing customers; as with Guess, significant reference to robust integration with multichannel efforts
…our comparable store sales increase of 4% was achieved over last year's 7%…primarily due to increased investments in marketing…
We're absolutely bringing in younger customers. That's where our increase is coming from…
…we still look at our own execution as the crux of the matter, whether it's good or bad, it's pretty much up to us.
Net takeaway for T.J. Maxx: We are growing and growing and growing by investing in marketing and targeting new segments; and P.S., we don’t look to blame others
Now, contrast that to Macy’s.
We were disappointed with our sales performance in the second quarter [down 0.8% from last year on a comp basis]… the trend did end up worse than what we had expected
We also believe, however, that we could have produced a better sales performance and we are discussing what we could have done differently…our fall plans now reflect increased marketing…we are accelerating the spend
What was more concerning though was the drop in the number of transactions, which is a proxy for traffic. This is in part why we decided to add to our marketing for the back half of the year.
…we may have moved away too far from some of the opening price points in women's apparel.
And by the way, if apparel is dead, why did Macy’s CFO state this?…What was most encouraging in the second quarter however, was the strengthening in feminine apparel. Sales of career and modern wear-to-work merchandise were strong…
Net takeaway for Macy’s: We have been coasting a little these past 18 months, as defecting JC Penney customers fell into our laps. Since that trend is over, we need to get back to some good marketing, and give our existing customers reasons to come back