Nordstrom names tech chief, new CFOs at Hasbro, Rent the Runway
On the Move has hiring updates from Walmart, The Home Depot and Groupon.
On the Move has hiring updates from Walmart, The Home Depot and Groupon.
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, Walmart’s top US merchant is stepping down, while Nordstrom is adding tech leadership and The Home Depot elevates a head of retail media. Meanwhile, the CFO seat will have new occupants at Hasbro, Rent the Runway and Groupon.
Here’s the latest moves:
Charles Redfield will depart Walmart after 32 years from the role of chief merchandising officer for the US, according to an internal memo reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Redfield’s career at Walmart began as a Sam’s Club cashier before he rose through the ranks of Asda, Sam’s Club and eventually Walmart’s US arm.
A successor to Redfield will be named in the near future, according to the memo.
Jason Morris will join Nordstrom as chief technology and information officer, overseeing engineering, data and analytics.
Morris joins the retailer from Walmart, where he led global enterprise technology and served as VP of customer-facing technology.
"I have long admired Nordstrom as a retail leader in redefining the importance of digital," said Morris, in a statement. "I am excited to join this talented technology team to continue enhancing Nordstrom's digital capabilities and support the company's ongoing focus on using technology to serve customers in new and better ways."
In a separate move, Nordstrom named former Nike COO Eric Sprunk to its board of directors. This addition expands the board to 11 members.
With Eric's decades of operational experience in the consumer retail industry and track record of driving ecommerce growth and large-scale transformations within a complex global business, we're confident he will be a valuable addition to the board and look forward to benefiting from his expertise,” said Brad Tilden, chairman of the Nordstrom Board, in a statement.
Toy company Hasbro announced a pair of executive hires:
Gina Goetter is the company’s new chief financial officer. Goetter previously served as CFO of Harley-Davidson. She previously served as SVP of finance in Tyson Foods’ prepared foods division, and spent more than two decades at General Mills.
Tim Kilpin is joining the company as president of toy, licensing and entertainment. Kilpin brings experience as CEO of PlayMonster Group, head of Activision Blizzard’s Consumer Products business, Chief Commercial Officer for Mattel and as EVP of franchise management at The Walt Disney Company.
The Home Depot promoted Melanie Babcock to the role of VP of Retail Media+ and monetization, Retail TouchPoints reported.
Babcock played a key role as the home improvement retailer launched its retail media network in 2019. She bolstered personalization, launched a media measurement practice, and refocused the marketing team’s key metrics.
“The Home Depot is dedicated to continuing to grow our Retail Media Network and Melanie’s leadership along with our unique data and program offerings will set us up for continued success,” said Molly Battin, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, in a statement.
David Sisk. (Courtesy photo)
David Sisk was promoted to EVP and chief customer officer of grocer SpartanNash. Sisk joined the company in 2020, and this move comes after he was promoted to the role of chief customer officer last year. Sisk previously served as COO of OSC-WEBco, and rose to the executive ranks at Procter & Gamble.
Sid Thacker will become the new chief financial officer of Rent the Runway, effective May 25. Thacker currently serves as senior vice president of FP&A, and previously served as a public investor.
Thacker succeeds Scarlett O’Sullivan, who served for more than seven years and helped the fashion rental service go public.
In an initial public appearance, Thacker fielded questions from analysts on the company’s first quarter earnings call last week.
Dollar General made a pair of leadership appointments, according to Chain Store Age. They include:
Peggie Fort is joining the retailer as VP of inventory and demand management. She brings more than 30 years of experience, most recently as head of planning and allocation for specialty retail at Wayfair. Fort will oversee forecasting, ordering and inventory levels in collaboration with other departments.
Kelly Collier was promoted to senior VP and assistant general counsel. She will oversee the business law team, and advise on operations and strategic initiatives.
Jiri Ponrt. (Courtesy photo)
Jiri Ponrt is the new CFO of Groupon, succeeding Damien Schmitz.
Ponrt brings experience from Pale Fire Capital, which is Groupon’s largest shareholder. He als served as CFO of European ecommerce platform Alza.cz.
The move comes after Groupon laid off 1,000 employees amid restructuring that took place through two rounds in August 2022 and January 2023. It is among a host of tech companies seeking to rein in costs in a tougher economic environment.
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.