Helen of Troy, Ted Baker CEOs exit, Snap hires ex-Meta execs
On the Move has the latest hiring updates from Anthropologie and Vera Bradley.
On the Move has the latest hiring updates from Anthropologie and Vera Bradley.
Welcome to On the Move. Every week, The Current is rounding up the comings and goings of leaders at brands and retailers across the ecommerce, retail and CPG landscape.
This week, Helen of Troy and Ted Baker are seeing changes in the top leadership ranks, while Snap is bringing on former Meta executives in a bid to boost advertising, Plus, Vera Bradley is set to undergo a reorganization that is bringing a change at CFO.
Here's a look at the latest moves:
Julien Mininberg is set to retire from the role of CEO at Helen of Troy, effective March 1, 2024. Mininberg spent the last decade as CEO of the OXO and Hydro Flask parent, and has served in the consumer products industry for the last 34 years.
Minniberg will be succeeded by Noel Geoffroy, who is currently chief operating officer. Geoffroy joined the company last year, bringing 25 years of experience in CPG at Sanofi Consumer Health, Kellogg’s, Heinz, and Procter & Gamble. Geoffroy was the key architect of the company’s transformation plan, called Project Pegasus.
Helen of Troy is also seeing a change at CFO. Matt Osberg will leave the company after seven years to pursue an opportunity closer to family in Minnesota. The company is bringing back Brian Grass to serve as interim CFO. He previously had a 15-year tenure with the company,
In its most recent quarter, the company reported that core net sales declined 16.2% and core adjusted diluted EPS declined 19.9% year-over-year.
Rachel Osborne and other executives are set to depart apparel retailer Ted Baker as it settles into new ownership under Authentic Brands Group.
The news comes as ABG said it signed operating agreements in the UK and Europe for the brand with PDS Group and AARC, respectively.
Along with Osborne, departing executives include Chief Financial Officer Marc Dench, Chief People Officer Peter Collyer and Group Commercial and Business Development Director Helen Costello. The changes are “part of a broader transformation process as Ted Baker shifts towards Authentic’s licensing model, which partners with leading operators to optimize brand value in the marketplace,” according to a news release.
Snapchat parent Snap Inc. hired a pair of executives from Meta Platforms as it seeks to expand in advertising. The hires are as follows:
Patrick Harris will serve as SVP of partnerships. This new role is designed to expand personalized use of augmented reality, which was on display in a recent partnership with concert promoter Live Nation Inc.
David Sommer will be head of verticals, tasked with working more closely with CPGs to use Snap’s advertising tools. Along with 11 years at Meta, Sommer most recently served as chief commercial officer at rewards platform Fetch.
Handbag and luggage retailer Vera Bradley is bringing in a new CFO as part of a wider reorganization.
Michael Schwindle will join the company as CFO, succeeding John Enwright in early June.
The company also made several changes in marketing, ecommerce, product design, and product development areas that will result in the elimination of approximately 25 corporate positions.
Lifestyle brand Anthropologie Group announced a series of leadership changes. These included:
Anu Narayanan was promoted to president of women's: apparel, accessories, weddings and beauty. Narayanan joined in 2018, and has led the women's apparel and accessory business.
Holly Thrasher was promoted to chief merchandising officer of apparel and weddings. Thrasher came to the brand in 2021 from Nordstrom, where she spent 18 years.
Aaron Mutscheller is joining Anthropologie as president of home and terrain, overseeing home and garden. He previously held leadership positions at Williams Sonoma, Serena & Lily and Nickey Kehoe.
The retailer's marketplace is expanding quickly.
When it comes to ecommerce growth, was the pandemic a blip or a new trendsetter?
As we move further from the height of COVID-related closures, it’s a question that will start to be answered through the lens of history.
So far, the narrative of ecommerce growth in the U.S. from 2019-2022 has gone like this: Ecommerce’s share of overall retail saw a huge spike at the height of the pandemic in 2020-21, when goods in general were in demand and online shopping was necessary to preserve health and safety. Experts looked out and saw a permanent exponential change in the penetration of ecommerce as a share of retail that would last beyond the pandemic. Then, in 2022, everyone went back to stores and the trendline came back to 2019 levels. Growth was no longer exponential. There was still growth, but it was not happening as fast as during the pandemic period.
With this in mind, it’s worth pointing out that 2023 is the first year that there likely won’t be a pandemic-influenced swing to influence ecommerce growth. It is also a year where demand has suffered challenges amid inflation and interest rate hikes.
So as we seek to determine the importance of ecommerce to overall retail, it’s worth it to continue taking a close look at what growth trends retailers are seeing now, whether ecommerce is remaining resilient amid consumer pullback and how retailers are preparing for the future.
The latest example arrived this week from Macy’s. It’s a fitting one for the times. Overall, Macy’s is seeing a slowdown as consumers pull back on discretionary purchases, with sales declining 7% in the first quarter versus the same quarter of 2022. Digital sales were down 8%.
Macy’s is particularly susceptible to the macroeconomic headwinds that many brands and retailers are facing, as spending among the middle-income consumers it counts as a primary customer base is particularly softening, said GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders.
But while ecommerce is slowing overall, the importance it gained to Macy’s business during the pandemic is remaining in place.
In 2019, ecommerce made up 25% of Macy’s revenue, CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts on the company’s earnings call. That jumped to a high of 44% in 2020. By 2022, digital reached 33% of sales after the pandemic boom. In the first quarter of 2023, it remained at 33%. So, while the trend line dipped after shoppers returned to stores, ecommerce share still settled in at a higher post-lockdown point than it was before the pandemic.
This came in a quarter in which traffic was “relatively good” across both online and in-store, Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said. It was “flattish” online, and slightly up in stores.
“We do expect that this is the reset year with the penetration between them,” Gennette said. “But we do expect more aggressive growth in digital in the future versus stores as we think about '24 and beyond. And that's going to be foisted by a lot of ideas and strategies.
Over the last year, the retailer has made investments in boosting ecommerce, even as shoppers returned to stores. In a bid to boost the assortment of goods available online, Macy’s launched a marketplace in September 2022 that welcomes goods from third-party sellers.
The marketplace had an “outstanding” first quarter, said Macy’s President Tony Spring, who is poised to succeed Gennette as CEO next year. Gross merchandise value increased over 50% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, while the average order value and units per order for marketplace customers was 50% above those not shopping at the marketplace.
Macy’s is continuing to build the marketplace even as it racks up sales. The retailer added 450 brands, ending the quarter with 950 brands.
This is helping to draw in new customers, as well as younger existing customers who are buying more items, resulting in increased basket size.
“We're very excited as to how marketplace is really attracting the Gen Z customer, particularly in categories where it was not economically feasible for us to carry in the past,” Gennette said.
In the end, Gennette said a strong digital and social presence is key to attracting younger consumers. That's a different type of shopper than other age groups.
“We know the younger customer starts first online,” Gennette said. That behavior will still be in place as the generation gets older, and gains more buying power in the process.
Going forward, Macy’s is seeking to expand the model to other retail banners in its portfolio. Bloomingdale’s will open a marketplace in the early fall.
The Macy’s ecommerce trajectory isn’t that different from the wider U.S. ecommerce narrative detailed above. With one quarter of 2023 data, there is evidence that ecommerce share settled out at a higher point after the pandemic than where it started before COVID arrived. There is flattening now, but the retailer is taking it not as a sign of a slowdown, or a signal to change course. Rather, it sees changing consumer behavior as a reason to build for the future.